2019 USBC Open Championships - Strategy and Equipment

The 2019 USBC Open Championships are in full swing! Every year presents a new challenge and our team at Storm want to provide bowlers with as much information as possible to tackle the gritty and sometimes perplexing lane conditions that the Open Championships offers to its competitors. I’d like to take a quick second to clarify all of my remarks are strictly my opinions based on my observations while onsite at the tournament. I have no insider information or access to anything that is not public.

With that said, let us dive into what I believe are the keys to success at this year’s tournament.

TEAM EVENT:

The team event hosted on the surface of the South Point Bowling Plaza seems similar to the short pattern that we have experienced the last two years. The pattern visually offers no hold with extremely dry back-ends. As with previous years, consorted shot making does stretch the pattern and make it more playable, if, done correctly. I watched many teams employ different strategies all with varying levels of success. Here is my belief on how to best play them based on my observations.

During practice, the right handers should use sanded resin and play up 2-3-4 ensuring angles are extremely straight through the fronts. I would employ this strategy on the left but have the left handers go up 8-9-10, keeping angles very straight through the fronts. Once practice ends, bowlers can expect to be around 12-15 at the arrows throwing to 5-7 down lane, this would be in play for most of game 1. Depending on how quick transition occurs, I can foresee players getting into 16-19 at the arrows, getting the ball no further right of 10 down lane at the range finders. On the left, I feel that bowlers should be between 14-17 at the arrows after practice, getting the ball no further left of 10 down lane at the range finders. When it comes to moving in on both sides, I would exercise caution in not allowing your angles to get too far open, I believe balling down into weaker covers and/or less core is the way to go as the event progresses. Once again, I will clarify all the above remarks that they are only a guide based on my observations, pair to pair topography may dictate changes to this strategy.

Equipment for Team Event:

In my mind, there are really two ways to go. The first being to use a very big/strong ball (Crux Prime, Halo) with a 2-inch pin and a smooth surface (2000/3000). Deploying this tactic will slow the response of the ball at the end of the oil pattern. There appears visually to be very little taper at the end of the pattern with it being back loaded with large volumes of oil, bowlers need to ensure that their equipment makes a very slow and smooth transition to elongate their break point window making their reaction less susceptible to this oil down lane and lack of taper in the pattern. A ball like this in my eyes depending on traffic, rev rate and topography would be suitable for most of game 1. Bowlers could then begin to shell and core down as the lanes transitioned while trying to stay in the same relative zone of the lane.

The other strategy would be to deploy a medium rg with low differential ball (Hustle Ink, Hustle HYB, !Q Tour Solid or an Idol) and use a longer pin (5.5 inches-6 inches) with a smooth cover (2000). A good tip is to place the CG at 90 degrees from the pin. This will give the bowler length while not sacrificing losing the lane and/or make it tougher to blow through the break point while providing a very smooth and controllable back end reaction. A bowler could definitely elect to use a 2-inch pin on one of these types of balls as well. I feel the transitional moves are for the most part in balling down and not making large moves in on the lane.

Once again, these are simply my observations, I have certainly been incorrect in the past, but have also been very right many times. I’d add one final clarification about equipment, depending on the bowler, many of balls in the Storm and Roto Grip lineup could be a better fit than the previously mentioned, this is just simply a guide.

See your local Storm VIP Pro Shop or talk with our professionals at the Storm booth onsite at the tournament to get the equipment that will best fit your game, as no bowler is exactly alike.

MINORS (Doubles/Singles)

I really feel surface can hurt you here. I know it may seem counter-intuitive to many bowlers, but I really believe that bowlers need to use smooth surfaces and avoid burning up the fronts in minors. Due to the ball motion I witnessed, I would imagine that the pattern is back loaded with little taper front to back (seems to be a recurring theme). Blowing a hole in the fronts really accentuates the large amount of oil that appears to be down lane and can trap everyone on the pair. In minors, depending on topography, I feel you need to start between 13-16, getting the ball no further right than 10 down lane at the range finders. The left I feel can follow suit here. Once again angles through the front are very important, they need to be slightly open, so as the set progresses, be mindful of making too big of moves towards the middle of the lane and use your arsenal to ball down and stay within the same zone. Depending on the topography of the pair, bowlers may be able to start further outside of the above-mentioned area. Once again, let your eyes be your ultimate guide. This is in no way set in stone.

 EQUIPMENT FOR MINORS:
I’m of the opinion that hybrids and pearls are the way to go here, but I think that bigger cores are needed to help with the length and volume of the pattern. The big key is to use slower ball speed, rotation, axis tilt and softer hands to get the ball to read the right way and continue through the pins properly. I really cannot stress that enough, due to the construction of the pattern, you need a good amount of axis tilt to help keep the ball on line, axis tilt will allow you to play straighter angles which I feel are imperative to being successful. Balls that I feel are great candidates for minors: (in no particular order but in the current Storm and Roto Grip arsenal): Halo Pearl, Hyper Cell Fused, Hy-Road, Idol Pearl, Phase 2, !Q Tour Solid, Intense Fire. Bowlers will need a ball, possibly two at the most (in most cases) to ball down to. It is important to make sure they have smooth covers (2000, 3000, 4000 or 2000 with a small amount of polish). I’d recommend bowlers use pin placements that will offer them length without creating a violent reaction down lane, due to the limited amount of boards that will need to be covered.

Again, if you have questions about your arsenal visit your nearest Storm VIP Pro Shop or talk to the professionals at the Storm Booth to help determine what will work best for your game!

PHYSICAL CUES TO FOCUS ON:

  • Slower ball speed
  • Increased axis tilt
  • Increased rotation
  • Soft and smooth hand at release point

MENTAL CUES TO FOCUS ON:

  • Be prepared to be challenged and make excellent shots
  • Take one shot at a time and focus on your process, not your outcome
  • Enjoy the trip with your teammates and have fun while competing with your friends
  • Be optimistic, open minded, and let your eyes be your guide


To conclude, I want to thank Storm for allowing me to represent them on and off the lanes and give me the opportunity to help our bowlers succeed. If you need help locating a pro shop, try our Pro Shop Locator. If you want a few more tips, check out the video our Tech Team provided for the event HERE.

And always remember to BOWL UP A STORM!