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Rick Benoit's Expert Bowling Tips

Playing on Guardian

      Wow!!! This was a very exciting Friday night, and I wish you all could have been here to see and feel the energy. There is something about this part of the country that fires up the competitors. The fans in the Northeast are great. I think making noise is natural to them (haha).

      As far as the lanes go, we were bowling on full-length Guardian again and we all know what that means: friction in the front. This week was not like the last couple weeks though.

      There was plenty of oil on the inside; if we had been on a synthetic surface, the scores could have been as high as Erie's. There was a great shot to the pocket right from the start. Out here on Tour we don't see much help to the inside very often, but this week it was there. The mornings would start out with enough backends to open up the lane, but what was unique about this week is that the mistakes inside the bowler's target line, still struck. Normally we have had to make sure we control our mistakes to the outside of our target line, but not this week. Because of this type of reaction, it was not necessary to use as much projection through the front part of the lane.

      When I use the word "projection," I am referring to the angle the ball goes through the front part of the lane relative to the lane itself. So a ball that is going straight down the boards has very little projection and a ball that is going coast to coast has a lot of projection. The eyes tend to get used to what ever you are bowling on, and it was different to watch this type of reaction, some of the bowlers were a little slow in recognizing it.

      Seeing this, it was obvious that a combination of Guardian lanes and straighter projection through the heads was going to lead to a wet/dry reaction side to side. Most players started in around 15 to 20 and kept there break point around 10. There was a shot outside, but it was a little sensitive to mistakes. What they had inside was much more forgiving, so the morning blocks had the bowlers beginning further in. The conditions were very conducive to high scores from the very beginning. Bowlers knew the first 4 games of the morning blocks were going to be high scoring so they wanted to make sure they didn't miss out on that opportunity.

      After those four games the lanes would go through a bit of transition that not all would see. The mistakes to the outside would hang and that would have many of the bowlers thinking the lane was getting tighter, so they would make the normal move right only to find the ball hook at their toes and waste a couple of frames in score. The reaction they were seeing was created because of carry down. There were two options depending on your game:

      If you are a slow-speed, high-rev player you go left and continue to project the ball to the right just move your break point in as well.

      If you are a high-speed player, you would keep your feet right and project the ball straighter through the heads.

      I felt the better of the two reactions was to use the oil side and move the breakpoint in because it kept the bowler further away from the dangerous parts of the lane. There was hook in the front and there was hang to the right for the bowlers who did not follow it left. The amount of projection would decrease as the day progressed and by the end of the night, there appeared to be a huge shim to the left. Most of the field was between 25 and 30 at the arrows but their breakpoint was around 14.

      To aide the condition we would use balls that would arc off the breakpoint, this would allow a bowler to make a mistake right and not overbounce causing nasty, through-the-face designs. Carry became the big factor and it was not uncommon to see the weak 10, and yes there were a couple lilies/sour apples (5-7-10).

      Mark Mosayebi matched up very well as the day went along. His game is slow with a lot of axis inclination. Imagine a piece of tape on your axis point, and if you see this tape facing up towards the ceiling this would be a lot of inclination. If the tape was not up, you would have less inclination. Inclination is different from tilt. Anyway, this saves energy through the front and releases it on the back. This gave Mark the perfect combination of reaction and carry. The left side was dominated by John Mazza for the same reason just a mirror image of Mark. The left could not get as deep as the right but it was a similar look.

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