Scott Pohl

Go-To Bowling Balls for Long, Medium, and Short Oil Patterns

Scott Pohl
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Do you have a bowling ball in your bag for the conditions you are bowling on? Your benchmark bowling ball will get it done for league night more often than not, but what bowling ball are you going to go to when you bowl in sport shot leagues or tournaments?

Scott Pohl, owner of On Track Pro Shop, explains how matching the coverstock surface of the bowling ball to your style of play and the lane condition are key components to getting lined up and striking.

Long Oil Patterns (42 Feet and Over)

The typical go-to bowling ball coverstock for long oil patterns is dull. Duller surfaced bowling balls are known as strong or aggressive bowling balls.


Strength is defined as when the bowling ball digs into the oil on the lane. Strong bowling balls read the lane early and provide a smooth predictable ball reaction.

Medium Oil Patterns (38 – 41 Feet)

A hybrid coverstock is in between dull and shiny in appearance and is a good bowling ball to start off with on medium oil patterns.


A benchmark bowling ball is the bowling ball you are most comfortable with and you can easily predict its reaction on the lane.

Short Oil Patterns (37 Feet and Under)

Shiny coverstock bowling balls and urethane bowling balls are used when bowling on shorter oil patterns.


With almost half of the lane having no oil on it at all, you’ll need a bowling ball that will skid through the high volume of oil in the heads and not grab immediately onto the lane when it hits friction around half way down the lane.

Getting the right ball in your hand for these challenging conditions is just the first step. Watch the videos below to learn how to:

  • – Set up in the stance
  • – Choose where to target
  • – Decide which ball speed you need
  • – Alter the bowling ball’s coverstock to help control the breakpoint
  • – Adjust your release

These all play a major role in the concert of decisions made to be successful before putting one foot on the approach.

Suggested Videos

How To Match Up In Bowling
Breaking Down Ball Motion
Rule of 31
Surface Adjustments
Strong vs Weak Bowling Balls
Shoulder Positioning
Release Adjustments

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