Breakpoint: How to Get Lined Up in Bowling

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Making the jump from intermediate to advanced in bowling requires understanding how to get lined up quickly during practice time and making good decisions when the lanes transition. You must be able to observe where and when the bowling ball is supposed to hook down the lane in order to be in the pocket consistently.

In this premium video, Scott Pohl, owner of On Track Pro Shop, explains what breakpoint in bowling is and how it influences every strike shot.

Breakpoint 1

Rule of 31

If you subtract 31 from any oil pattern distance it will total the breakpoint on any oil pattern. For example, let’s say the oil pattern’s distance is 41ft. You’ll subtract 31 from 41 to get 10.

This equation tells us that the breakpoint is located on the 10 board 41ft. down lane. This is where and when the bowling ball needs to hook to get you in the pocket.

Breakpoint 2

As the oil pattern breaks down from play, you’ll need to make adjustments to keep your bowling ball hitting (around) the breakpoint.

Adjustments include:

Abstract or diagonal move
Axis Rotation
Ball Choice

Matching up to the lane condition you are bowling on is how to strike consistently.

What if you aren’t provided the oil pattern distance?

Start with three shots that move you from the right side of the approach to the left with your feet, varying hand positions and ball speed adjustments to get the best look at being able to string strikes together.

Breakpoint 3

Check out “Getting Lined Up on a Mystery Pattern” for more coaching on the subject.

Lane Surface

If you take the same bowling ball and throw it on the same oil pattern with the lane surface being the only variable (wooden or synthetic), the results would be uniquely different.

Wooden lanes have a softer finish than synthetic lanes. This results in bowling balls hooking sooner providing more forward roll at the end of the pattern. Weaker bowling balls are a must if you are bowling on wooden lanes.

Synthetic lanes have a harder finish than wooden lanes. This results in bowling balls skidding farther down the lane and providing more backend reaction comparatively to wooden lanes.

Check out our Lane Play library for more expert instruction designed to improve your game.