Do certain styles have an advantage? House versus Sport Bowling patterns


    USBC Sport Bowling

    Originally printed in Bowling This Month magazine

    USBCSportBowlingLogo.jpg "He has the whole lane. I am splitting boards out there. The crankers have the advantage."

    Virtually every bowler can easily identify the above phrases as something they may have said or something that was directed to them while they were bowling. Recent USBC research compared a Sport Bowling oil pattern to a standard house pattern for these styles of bowlers (stroker, tweener, cranker.)




    - The house (8:1 ratio) and Sport Bowling patterns (2:1 ratio) were equal length at a distance of 40 feet.
    - Three styles of bowlers according to statistical approximations from Computer Aided Tracking System:

    • Stroker – 220 r.p.m., axis angle of 80 degrees, 19 m.p.h.
    • Tweener – 325 r.p.m., axis angle of 70 degrees, 18 m.p.h.
    • Cranker – 520 r.p.m., Axis angle of 60 degrees, 19 m.p.h.
    • Each bowler was tested separately on a fresh house and Sport condition. Bowlers were allowed to practice on a similar condition on an adjacent lane, but all testing was done on the same surface. The idea was to allow the bowlers to gain a clue of where they had the best line to the pocket. After an acceptable amount of shots, C.A.T.S. data was evaluated for each style.








    In the above charts, each bowler had four categories of data. Pocket percentage is the percentage of balls hitting the pocket (not necessarily a strike.) Standard deviation (Pocket) includes only those shots that hit the pocket and was used to determine how much variation there was in those shots. Standard deviation (All) is the variation of every shot thrown. These standard deviation numbers were calculated at the sensor closest to the end of the oil patterns (37 feet). Total Area is the area the bowler had at the end of the pattern and was still able to hit the pocket. Furthermore, the Sport Bowling condition that was bowled on allowed bowlers to stay near their comfort zones when performing the test.

    As we review the statistics from the house and Sport Bowling shots, there are many interesting things occurring. The above data is convincing evidence to prove what our eyes have been telling us all along. It is not surprising that all bowlers had an average of three more boards of total area when changing from Sport to house Conditions. However, what is more interesting (but logical) is when we look at the standard deviation numbers. The standard deviation (Pocket), for all styles, basically doubled when they went to the house shot. This boost led to an average 30 percent pocket percentage increase.


    Style equity was a topic of interest before performing this test. After looking over the results, there are not too many surprises. Strokers led the way in Total Area on the Sport shot and Crankers led the way in Total Area on the house shot. Tweeners lagged behind in area on both conditions, but the pocket percentage was just as good as the other styles; Tweeners shot repeatability is also a factor in the Total Area results.

    Despite the differences, no one style had a tremendous advantage over the other on either lane condition. Whether you are splitting boards or have a wide margin for error, Sport Bowling will provide a challenge and bring your game to the next level.