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Category: Lane Conditions
Type: Tip


One of the things I have learned in my 40+ years of bowling is that some times you just need to move out of a certain area.

Let's say you are going along fine and you have bowled decent the first game and all of a sudden the reaction you are getting is inconsistent. Could be carry down could be the air conditioner on top of the lane, who knows. If the lanes start to slow down and you move in and the ball does not finish, you have a couple of different options.

1. You can stay in and look shorter on the lane (look about a foot closer on the lane).

2. You can go back out to where you were before and look longer (farther down the lane, closer to the pins) to delay the ball reaction.

3. you can change equipment to something that hooks more or less (depends if you moved in, stayed in the same area, or moved out).

4. You can change your hand position so your ball will hook more or less.

5. OR you can completely get out of that area.

I have gone through all the things listed above and when none of them work, or the reaction of the ball is in-consistent, I just move completely out of that area.

Now do you move right or left??? The answer is YES!!!

There is no rule of thumb here. If one way does not work, try the other. I have learned that when the logical does not work, you are only left with the illogical.

If for some reason the lanes are now inconsistent where you were playing and the normal moves you try just don't work, move 5 or more boards to the left (or right), and make sure to move your mark with you. I have found that some times when I move left (I'm right handed) and look in a different area the ball actually reacts better and I get a consistent reaction. It is not unusual for carry down to occur and have to move left to get the ball to react. I know that this goes against everything you may have read, but it has worked many times for me. Just because you experience carry down does not mean you must move right. I will agree that in most cases it is the correct move, but if it doesn't work don't stay there and fight.

I am a big believer in making aggressive moves when you bowl. If you are aggressive you can find out in one move (if what you did was correct).

Say you throw a shot and it jumps and comes in too high. You can debate with yourself all night if it was you or the lane, or you can just move! Don't be afraid to ask a team mate if you let up on the shot (threw it slower than normal). If I am aggressive I will normally move 4/2 or 3/1 left (3/1 or 4/2 means 3 or 4 boards left with my feet and 2 or 1 boards left with my eyes). When I do this, if the ball does not come in, I know in one shot I need to tweak my move back right. I also, in most cases, have left something I can pick up (an easy spare, if there is such a thing). If the ball still hooks and I come in high, guess what, my move was not as aggressive as I thought it was and I need to move more. Again this happens in one move. I am blown away how many people make tiny moves and do not get a read. They spend all night making these small moves and by the time they find it the game is over!

BE AGGRESSIVE! You will start to see a pattern if you bowl in the same house and will get to know what that first move needs to be and guess right the first time. Even if your house is inconsistent, how they oil the lanes, being aggressive is the best way to stay ahead of the changing lane conditions.

Remember that a 4 pin is a warning. With today's conditions and super aggressive equipment if you leave a 4 pin, and threw a good shot, MOVE because your next shot WILL be a split.

Never move if you did not throw a good shot. Wait to hit within a board or two of what you are looking at before you make a move.

Submitted by: Coach Mike

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