How to Read a Lane Pattern Graph

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you have arrived at your next tournament, paid your entry fee, and notice there is a lane pattern graph? The only problem is, you are not completely sure what you are looking at or how to read that abundant useful information. This article will explain each piece of the lane graph’s importance and how it will impact your lane play.

Pattern Distance:

First, we want to review the pattern graph from top to bottom, starting with the oil pattern distance. For this example, we used the 2020 Storm Utah Open Pattern. We can see that the overall pattern distance is 41ft. This distance falls into the medium pattern category. Now armed with this information, we know there could be multiple attack angles to get to the pocket. Typically, on shorter patterns that fall between 32 feet and 36 feet, bowlers are forced to play the outside part of the lane. In contrast to the longer patterns, 43 feet and longer bowlers are forced to play the deeper inside part of the lane. Therefore, the pattern distance between 37 feet and 42 feet allows the bowler to play multiple angles depending on your ball choice and style.

Pattern Volume:

The next part of the lane graph we will discuss is the Volume Oil Total, better known as the thickness of the oil, applied on the lane. This will be the overall combined volume of oil between the forward oil and reverse oil. As we see in the photo provided, the forward oil total is 20.295 mL, and the reverse oil total is 10.26 for a round total volume of 30.555 mL of oil. Based on today’s standards, this would be considered a higher volume pattern. In comparison, most house patterns have between 22-24 mL of oil. This information will dictate the amount of surface grit to use on your bowling ball, and a good indication of how fast or slow the pattern will break down.

Pattern Ratio:

Moving down the lane graph sheet, we are going to discuss the load structure. This will be a key component of the overall difficulty of the pattern. When using a Kegel lane machine, you have an oil head that moves back and forth at a constant rate and applies that oil to the lane from left to right. As we review the graph for the 2020 Utah Open, we see this pattern has 8 loads of 2 to 2’s. Now, what does this mean? The oil head will apply conditioner on the lane from the 2 board on the left to the 2 board on the right. The more oil applied toward the gutter means the ball will overall hook less as the bowler misses to the outside boards. Therefore, most house patterns will very little 2 to 2’s, if any at all. A typical house pattern’s ratio is around 8 to 1, while this Utah Open pattern ratio is around 1.5 to 1. This means the lower the ratio, the more difficult the pattern will play.

Oil Overlay:

In the last part, we are going to cover the oil overlay of the pattern. The image on the right of the sheet showing an overhead view of the pattern as it would look if the oil had color instead of being invisible.  This effectively shows how the lane machine is applying the oil throughout both passes of the oiling process. The darkest blue is showing the highest concentration of oil in that part of the lane. This is the part of that lane that will create the most amount skid. The teal color box labeled “forward” represents the oil applied during the forward pass heading towards the pins, while the blue box labeled reverse” is the oil applied on the pass coming back to the foul line. The final color is the light blue box labeled “buff.” The buff is once the lane machine stops spraying oil on the lane, the machine rolls out the rest of the oil to correct 41ft distance.


Preparation is key when wanting to better your game and getting bowlers ready for the next event. Having a better understanding of how to read a lane graph will help prepare bowling equipment, surface preparation, and where to start during that valuable practice time.


How to Prepare Your Tournament Arsenal

For this article, we will be discussing and outlining the steps it takes to decide the most versatile and completive 6-ball arsenal. When choosing the correct 6 balls you must keep in mind a few keys factors to ensure you are selecting the best arsenal for the event.  You want to make sure you have a good mix of RG’s, differentials, coverstocks, and surfaces. Being sure to avoid having too many of the same type of bowling ball. Each ball serves a purpose in creating the correct shape or ball motion that the lane is calling for. Think of it as a toolbox. Saws are used for cutting, a hammer is used for nails, etc. Therefore, looking at your bowling equipment in the same way will make that decision making easier.


Fresh/Benchmark Ball

The first ball we are going to discuss the “Fresh Ball”, which is better known as your benchmark ball. Usually, this ball is the first ball out of your bag when are preparing for practice. The purpose of this ball will be the blend out the wet/dry, creating a predictable motion, and provide an overall feel for the pattern. For example, if the fresh ball over-reacts, we now know we throw a weaker option and vice-versa. If the fresh ball doesn’t hook quite enough on that pattern, we now know we can throw one of our ball-up options.

Ball Up

The second and third ball in our 6-ball arsenal is going to be the ‘Ball-Up’ option. This ball is used once the lane first starts to break down and move into more oil. Typically, this ball is going to be a touch stronger overall and is going to create more shape on the lane, increasing your margin for error and producing higher scores. For the majority of players, one or both balls will feature an asymmetrical weight block.

Late Hook

The next ball up for discussion will be the “Late Hook.” This ball will be best used when the lane gets into a later transition. It  allows you to start shutting down your angles through the fronts but, will still respond when the ball gets to the dry. When the lane breaks down enough and requires you to play straighter, but you still need the ball to recover off the friction, then a ball change is needed and the ‘Burn-Ball’ which we will discuss next will be the right choice for this reaction.

Burn Ball

Now we have discussed the first 4 balls of our arsenal and next is the “Burn-Ball.” It will be the weakest and smoothest reactive ball on your bag. Its purpose is to create very little shape, allowing you to shut down your angles and play closer to the pocket. This ball will perform best when needing to play fallback, or “shim” the lane.

Plastic/Urethane

The sixth and final ball with be either urethane or plastic. This can be a very useful weapon when competing in tournament conditions. This will, of course, be used for spare shooting, but urethane is a great option too for fresh oil conditions, flatter patterns, and blending the wet/dry early in the event.

Keep in mind there are many variations of this arsenal that can be made. The house player can apply this to create a 3-ball arsenal, while the recreational or competitive player can use this same information to create a 4, 5 or 6 ball arsenal.


Below you will find the detailed process from our Technical Service Representative Chayton Petersen on how he decided 6-ball arsenal:

Since I’m rev dominant, my selection of balls will differ slightly than Kendle’s who is speed dominant. I have to rely upon the weight block clearing the fronts while still getting into a roll before it meets the pins. I favor high RG balls with weaker layouts so the weight block doesn’t transition as fast. I will walk you through my list of six balls I would take to a tournament based on my style.

Fresh/Benchmark

The Phaze II is my go-to benchmark for a few key reasons. First, any good benchmark ball gives you predictability, and that’s exactly what Phaze 2 does. Its combination of low RG, high differential, and a strong cover give me a motion I can rely on with any pattern. Although rev dominant players lean towards higher RG’s, low RG’s deliver this predictable motion that I need to give me an accurate representation of how the lane is playing. Combine that with a solid, aggressive cover that blends the lane out, I know exactly where the lane hooks, where it doesn’t, and where I should be playing.

Ball Up Option 1

The Axiom is my strong ball because of NeX, Storm’s strongest cover. The Axiom digs in the best on high volume and longer length patterns. A medium-strength layout provides me just enough length to match my ball speed. Sometimes, an asymmetric ball can hook too much or too early. Since the Orbital Core is symmetric, it stays in constant motion because it doesn’t have a high undrilled PSA torqueing the ball in one direction versus another.

Ball Up Option 2

The Parallax is a great additional ball-up option for me with its unique weight block and cover combination. The higher RG, differential, and strong undrilled PSA proved me the boosted torque I need down lane when I need to move left and hook the ball. Utilizing a weaker layout on the Parallax, I’m able to keep the ball in my hand longer. As the lanes break down and I need to step left, TractionX7 gets me through the front part of the lane while offering midlane read to help me control the pocket, especially on tougher patterns. Thankfully, versatility comes in spades because the cover easily accepts surface manipulations. When I need slightly more dig, I can put some surface on the ball and get it to read the lane sooner and blend the lane out more.

Late Hook

When I need a strong motion down lane and a clean look through the fronts, the Hy-Road Pearl is my go-to ball. R2S Pearl is the best choice when the front part of the lane starts to go away. As a rev dominant player, my ball wants to read early, and that is why getting a cover as clean and responsive as R2S is will help me get the ball to the correct part of the lane. Inverted Fe2 has the highest RG of all high-performance Storm balls and thanks to its higher differential it has no shortage of movement at the end of the pattern and at the pins.

Burn Ball

The most challenging conditions I face are when the lanes get burned. I find myelf running out of room to the left, but I still need the ball to get to the pins without using energy up too soon. The Electrify Pearl fits the bill in this situation. Reactor Pearl gives me the most amount of length I can afford when the lanes get bad. Because the differential isn’t too high or too low, the Circuit Core gives me a predictable motion that isn’t too much off of the spot. I am able to square up and shim the ball off of the friction in order to not have to cross too many boards.

Plastic/Urethane

Storm has several urethane options for various styles. For how I like to play, I prefer to use the Fast Pitch because of its slightly cleaner look compared to the Pitch Black. It still features a higher RG than most Storm cores so that allows rev dominant players like me to keep my angles shut down. I can still shape the Fast Pitch when I need to, though. An added benefit to carrying a urethane with you at all times is doubling it up as a spare ball. This frees up a slot in my bag and adds to my overall layout versatility.


electrify hybrid vs electrify pearl

Electrify Hybrid vs Electrify Pearl

ELECTRIFY HYBRID VS ELECTRIFY PEARL

Storm is always looking to create top tier performance through the entire product line, from top to bottom. Performance should have no limitations, and with the new Electrify Pearl and Electrify Hybrid my expectations have been exceeded. In recent years, we are seeing bowlers with more rev rate and power than ever before. This equates to oil patterns breaking down and starting to transition much quicker. Staying ahead of lane transition carries more weight now; something bowlers haven’t experienced much in the past. Therefore, having the right ball to keep up with ever-changing lane conditions is a necessity.

Launch Speed: 18.5 mph

RPM: 490

Tilt: 11

Rotation: 55°

PAP: 4 ¾ x ½ Up

Layout Used for Test: 4 x 3 x 1 ½ 

Surface Used on Both Balls: 1500-Grit Polish

Oil Patterns: Beaten Path, 41’, 1:4.04, 24.25 mL; Boardwalk, 35′, 1:2.16, 28.25 mL

The Test:

For the comparison test, I decided to use two patterns to demonstrate the differences between these balls. Patterns used are Kegel’s 41’ Beaten Path and 35’ Boardwalk. For the parameters of the test I threw a total of 25 shots on SPECTO with each ball on the both patterns. With the data collected from SPECTO, I was able to average the results and create motion paths for each ball. Both balls were finished at 1500-grit polish which is the out of the box finish.


41ft Pattern test results:

When comparing these balls, the first aspect that stands out is how much overall hook these balls created while maintaining a high percentage of pin carry. The Electrify Pearl immediately gave me a look and feel that was comfortable and suited my eye quite well. I found myself unable to put this ball down, while quickly fell in love the overall performance on this 41’ Beaten Path pattern. Even with the laydown being about an arrow deeper and creating 1.2 more degree of launch angle, the Electrify Hybrid was able to maintain a consistence motion while achieving great carry through the pins.


35ft Pattern Results:

The 35’ Boardwalk pattern really allowed the Electrify Hybrid to shine. This ball reached the epitome of versatility. This is a testament to the new low RG Circuit Core. On this demanding 35’ pattern, I was able to create 4-6 boards of area down lane. The Reactor hybrid coverstock was a key component in providing the smooth, predictable, rounded motion I needed to find a repeatable line. I am looking forward to adding weapon to my bag as for the shorter and flatter patterns.


Conclusion:

Every bowler has their favorite go-to ball, knowing that no matter what the circumstances are they have the confidence to find the pocket. I can say with assurance, I have found mine. The best part is that it comes in a pearl and hybrid. These two balls are going to be the 1-2 punch that I have been looking for to round out my arsenal. Throughout the comparison test I kept asking myself, “Are you sure these balls are in the HOT line?” The performance of these balls are unreal for the price point. As lanes start to breakdown and I start to move my feet left and balling down, I have no doubt in my mind the Electrify Pearl and Electrify Hybrid will provide the ideal reaction and the carry I need to continue striking longer.


Highlights from the test:


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