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 Post subject: Benchmark Ball
 Posted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 5:55 pm Post Number: #1 Post
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When using a so called benchmark ball, during the first game of league play on the THS, how do you know to ball up or down?

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 Post subject: Re: Benchmark Ball
 Posted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:18 pm Post Number: #2 Post
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When it’s too weak or strong for where you are playing. If it slides light, move right and if it’s still light ball up.

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 Post subject: Re: Benchmark Ball
 Posted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:31 am Post Number: #3 Post
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Paying attention to where your ball is exiting the pin deck. If is deflecting exiting towards the 9 pin for right hander, 8 pin for lefties, ball up.
If your ball has too much continuation through the pocket finishing through or left of the 8 pin for righties or through or right of the 9 pin for lefties ball down.

These are some minor subtleties. The obvious ones if you can't get it to the head pin ball up. If you are crossing over brooklyn ball down.

As 44boyd mentioned try adjusting your feet and line first and if you end up moving outside your comfort zone, too far outside ball up. If you adjust too far inside ball down.

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 Post subject: Re: Benchmark Ball
 Posted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:47 am Post Number: #4 Post
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Easy answer for this is this. Stand where you normally stand and throw the ball. If the ball misses right a lot or if you throw the ball and the ball goes way left then you know it is time for another ball (without having to make some kind of drastic change).

For example I had a timeless threw the shot and it never hooked and slid right into the 6 pin. it never grabbed the lane. That means there is way too much oil out there for that and it is time to ball up for sure. Next. lets say I throw the ball and the ball ends up at the 2 pin completely bypassing the head pin. That ball is either hooking too soon or there is way too much backend (you have to watch it and then you can judge which one it is) it is time to ball down to something that will get more length and/or something that doesn't have quite so much back end.

Given that we are talking just balling up and balling down not moving or doing anything else. Also I am talking about a fresh set and not a set that has been used. If a shot is used then it gets difficult at some points, you could have carry down or what Rob calls a "Dead zone" Doesn't matter if you ball up or down nothing will work there.


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 Post subject: Re: Benchmark Ball
 Posted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:53 pm Post Number: #5 Post
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krava wrote:
Stand where you normally stand and throw the ball.


This sentence is the stuff that nightmares are made of for the coach in me!


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 Post subject: Re: Benchmark Ball
 Posted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:38 pm Post Number: #6 Post
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RobMautner wrote:

This sentence is the stuff that nightmares are made of for the coach in me!


I think you're both right. For me, I bowl one league a week in the same house, and most nights, the lanes start out pretty much the same every week. I normally slide on 20, aiming at 10. Most weeks, that's a good place to start. Some weeks, it's not. As long as I get enough full racks during warm-up, I know by the end of warm-up whether this line works, or if I have to move left or right. The important thing is I have no expectations.

Thankfully, for quite a number of weeks now, I've been able to use one ball all night. Moving left has proven sufficient enough to combat breakdown, and I haven't had to ball down.


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 Post subject: Re: Benchmark Ball
 Posted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:46 pm Post Number: #7 Post
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Stand on 20 and hit 10. Do you play Blackjack? LOL


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 Post subject: Re: Benchmark Ball
 Posted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:33 pm Post Number: #8 Post
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RobMautner wrote:
Stand on 20 and hit 10. Do you play Blackjack? LOL


In fairness, he pretty clearly said that it’s a line that typically works on the house shot that changes little week to week, but he’s willing to move. He uses it as his starting point. Having a starting point isn’t out of the ordinary. In fact, having a few distinct lines to test is pretty much the basis behind any practice shot system (Susie Minshew’s, etc). Starting at 20 to 10 is as good as any...

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 Post subject: Re: Benchmark Ball
 Posted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:14 am Post Number: #9 Post
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Bahshay wrote:

In fairness, he pretty clearly said that it’s a line that typically works on the house shot that changes little week to week, but he’s willing to move. He uses it as his starting point. Having a starting point isn’t out of the ordinary. In fact, having a few distinct lines to test is pretty much the basis behind any practice shot system (Susie Minshew’s, etc). Starting at 20 to 10 is as good as any...


Remember that Rob lives in Vegas. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Benchmark Ball
 Posted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:35 am Post Number: #10 Post
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One of the biggest changes in modern bowling is the effect of topography on the synthetic lane surfaces. Standing on 20 and hitting ten each week when the wooden lanes were flat, and the oil pattern was the only consideration worked pretty well. Today, on synthetic lanes, the differences in topography from lane to lane and pair to pair pretty much nullifies the whole concept of blackjack bowling.


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 Post subject: Re: Benchmark Ball
 Posted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:14 am Post Number: #11 Post
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I have to modify the topic a bit. I didn't state where to stand. Normal people should stand 7 boards from where they want to throw. Most people don't have 58+ in shoulder span. I usually stand on 27/28 and throw across 10 and out a bit. If I want to play straighter, I stand on 19/20 and throw at 10 (I have a 2 board drift to the right usually) . Like the other people said, stand where you usually start and take it from there.

Now Rob has a good point though. That doesn't take in consideration "topography". Personally I think that topography is a hard concept to judge in real life. What I mean is that suppose you are at a bowling center and you have no prior knowledge of the center, how much each lane is used or anything like that. How are you suppose to know that. (Now someone that has questions about a benchmark ball might not need to have topography thrown in there as well, at least not at this time but that is my general opinion).

For the first time ever, I believe I have ran into that topography issue on Wednesday. The right lane had more "backend" on it then the left lane around the 8 board at the range finders. I fought the lane condition for a little more then a game and a half trying to move a board or two left on the right lane then the left. I got inconsistant reaction there. The first game I struck 5 in a row on left lane and I don't think any on the right. In practice, I threw a ball up 7 on the right lane and the ball jumped brooklyn bad. (that was a ball Storm match drilled low flare) On the left lane I was standing at 27.5 throwing accross 10 to 8 or so and back in with the timeless. On the right lane I switched to the bad intentions hybrid throwing the ball across 12/13 out to 9/10 and back in (standing on 30). I ended up getting 245/246 or something throwing 2 different balls on 2 different lanes with 2 different lines on the last game and I couldn't quite break 200 the first 2 games. I was going to post about this sooner but forgot. I believe that was a "topography issue" because the lanes were oiled the same.

I don't currently really have a overall "benchmark" ball. I have a "benchmark" ball for whatever area I want to play. If I want to play outside of 10. I have the Storm match drilled low flare. If the ball doesn't read the lane very well, I can switch to a Rotogrip Hustle and play outside of 10. For playing the "track area", I have the RS2 balls (Hy-Road, Rocketship, Timeless). They are very simular with just slight differences. My new "benchmark" ball for playing inside of 10 is the Ebonite Game Breaker 3. If the ball is too strong, I can use the Bad Intentions Hybrid. If it is too weak I can use the Hammer Riped most likely.

When I go out now, I throw 1-2 balls (my benchmark ball for that area) outside 10 then 1-2 on the track, then a ball or two inside of 10. Depending on the reaction and if and how close I hit the pocket, I either throw another or abandon the line completely and try another. Thursday I didn't like the outside, I didn't like the track and really liked the inside part. Shot 550 or so when I could have shot higher in the track area. Everytime I actually hit the mark and correct launch angle to go from 12 to 8/9 around the range finder, the ball struck and had massive pin action. We lost the first 2 games over 100 pins each so it didn't matter and was a learning experience. It would have been something to see what would have happend hitting the mark and angle consistanly there though.


Now back to the topic. I am assuming the poster of the question usually plays in 1 general area though. What i stated should work in 1 general area or in multiple areas. Personally I have never seen anyone in person play in a different area then they usually play (when they have a choice) . I know the person and where they generally bowl and they are always there. The only exception is when someone was forced to do something they didn't like and that was when the lanes were triple oiled and that 1 person shot -158 under their average that day. They didn't have any other choice. I had atleast 2 people come up to me and ask me what was going on and that I usually played the track area and not the semi big looking hook ball. So that is why I assumed the poster of the question usually just plays in 1 area. Sorry if too much info but that is the explanation.

Editing this a bit at the end. I believe now I understand topography a bit and can judge it even if I never bowled on the lanes. If you take 2 lanes, throw the same shot and one lane acts different at the breakpoint etc then there is different topography issues on the lanes. If you get a inconsistant reaction there, you got to get away from there and try something else. A lightbulb just went off so I post. I was scratching my head saying to myself "wow that ball acts weird at 8 on the range finders on that lane".


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 Post subject: Re: Benchmark Ball
 Posted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:10 am Post Number: #12 Post
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krava wrote:
Normal people should stand 7 boards from where they want to throw. Most people don't have 58+ in shoulder span.


Yes in general the laydown point for most people is about 7 boards from the inside edge of their slide foot.

And yes nobody has a four foot ten inch or bigger shoulder span (58+ inch) they'd be wider than the lane.

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 Post subject: Re: Benchmark Ball
 Posted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:16 pm Post Number: #13 Post
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krava wrote:
Now Rob has a good point though. That doesn't take in consideration "topography". Personally I think that topography is a hard concept to judge in real life. What I mean is that suppose you are at a bowling center and you have no prior knowledge of the center, how much each lane is used or anything like that. How are you suppose to know that. (Now someone that has questions about a benchmark ball might not need to have topography thrown in there as well, at least not at this time but that is my general opinion).


I'm just finishing up an article for BTM entitled, "Of Black Holes and Other Unseen Obstacles." Let me give you a little preview. Lane topography, like Black Holes, cannot be seen, and you don't need knowledge about how much each lane is used, etc. The idea is to watch your ball reaction to define the unseen topography of the lane, much like scientists watch the rotation of the stars in proximity to a black hole to determine where the hole is.


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 Post subject: Re: Benchmark Ball
 Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:12 am Post Number: #14 Post
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RobMautner wrote:
One of the biggest changes in modern bowling is the effect of topography on the synthetic lane surfaces. Standing on 20 and hitting ten each week when the wooden lanes were flat, and the oil pattern was the only consideration worked pretty well. Today, on synthetic lanes, the differences in topography from lane to lane and pair to pair pretty much nullifies the whole concept of blackjack bowling.


I get what you're saying Rob, but you have to start somewhere. When you bowl league, do you flip a coin as to where you're going to stand and where you're going to target? I suspect you also have a certain place where you start in warm-ups. Please don't think I'm one of these bowlers who "stands on 20 and hits 10" all three games. It's only a starting place. When this shot doesn't work, I move! But, most weeks on the fresh, it does work, until they start breaking down. Last Thursday this line actually lasted all of game one. The farthest left I ended up in game three was standing on 24 and aiming at 12. Sometimes I have to move more, sometimes less. I agree with lane topography, but I think the biggest factor is who you're bowling with. This last Thursday, two from the other team were blinded out, so the breakdown was much less. Their anchor is a lefty, so that helped too.

Concerning lane topography, I think we all need to make sure we don't go too far and expect that both lanes in a pair will play differently. Most pairs in my house do play pretty much the same, at least where I play. The biggest topography issue in my house is from about 5 or 6 out to the gutter, so I just stay away from that part of the lane.


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 Post subject: Re: Benchmark Ball
 Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:57 am Post Number: #15 Post
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As I'm now limited by degenerative bone disease to only throwing a plastic spare ball, in practice I throw one ball out to six, one to eight, and one to ten. These targets are at the end of the pattern, not at the arrows (I target the reflections of the pins on the lane). Once I see where I'm throwing to, I stand on 23, on 27, and 30 to see what gives me the best angle. Keep in mind that this is with a plastic spare ball. The idea that someone who is using a reactive resin ball always starts at the same place is totally foreign to me.

As to the lanes playing differently, if you assume that they will be different, you will be right 90% of the time. If you assume that they will be the same, well... you do the math!


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 Post subject: Re: Benchmark Ball
 Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:04 pm Post Number: #16 Post
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RobMautner wrote:
As I'm now limited by degenerative bone disease to only throwing a plastic spare ball, in practice I throw one ball out to six, one to eight, and one to ten. These targets are at the end of the pattern, not at the arrows (I target the reflections of the pins on the lane). Once I see where I'm throwing to, I stand on 23, on 27, and 30 to see what gives me the best angle. Keep in mind that this is with a plastic spare ball. The idea that someone who is using a reactive resin ball always starts at the same place is totally foreign to me.

As to the lanes playing differently, if you assume that they will be different, you will be right 90% of the time. If you assume that they will be the same, well... you do the math!


Rob, I really think we're more on the same page than we realize. When I'm testing the shot I usually start with, it's in warm-ups, not the game. If this line doesn't work, I will move and hopefully find a line that does work before competition begins. It just so happens that most weeks, it does work, so why move?

As far as lane play, I assume nothing. It just so happens that more often than not, on the fresh there usually isn't more than a board difference between lanes on a pair. Since the vast majority of the guys on my league also play both lanes pretty much the same, breakdown is usually about the same on both lanes.


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 Post subject: Re: Benchmark Ball
 Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 4:53 pm Post Number: #17 Post
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pjape wrote:
It just so happens that more often than not, on the fresh there usually isn't more than a board difference between lanes on a pair. Since the vast majority of the guys on my league also play both lanes pretty much the same, breakdown is usually about the same on both lanes.


That's fine for the oil, but what about the topography? On fresh oil, the ball is skidding, powered by the momentum from the bowler's approach. Once the oil starts to go away (absorbed by numerous reactive balls), the ball finds friction sooner. I firmly believe that, as the more friction is exposed, the topography takes on a much more significant role... actually a larger role than the oil.

A few weeks ago, there was a thread here about score differences between three games for ten bowlers. I believe that, in the last game, virtually every bowler scored lower than they did in the other two. Could this have been caused by newly exposed topography? I think so!


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 Post subject: Re: Benchmark Ball
 Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:44 pm Post Number: #18 Post
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RobMautner wrote:
Could this have been caused by newly exposed topography? I think so!


I think you are using the word topography to describe lane or track area wear, when in fact topography implies that somewhat but mostly the warping and tilt of a lane surface. Thats my understanding at least. In that case, I think topography and side to side tilt shows more when there is more oil when the ball accelerates more on oil when the lane is pitched away from the pocket and decelerates when the lane is pitched toward the pocket giving the appearance of a reverse block when there is a hump on 10.

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 Post subject: Re: Benchmark Ball
 Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:20 pm Post Number: #19 Post
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RobMautner wrote:
Could this have been caused by newly exposed topography? I think so!


Actually, for the vast majority of the bowlers, it's because they simply won't move; either enough or at all.


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 Post subject: Re: Benchmark Ball
 Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:23 pm Post Number: #20 Post
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MegaMav wrote:
I think you are using the word topography to describe lane or track area wear, when in fact topography implies that somewhat but mostly the warping and tilt of a lane surface. Thats my understanding at least. In that case, I think topography and side to side tilt shows more when there is more oil when the ball accelerates more on oil when the lane is pitched away from the pocket and decelerates when the lane is pitched toward the pocket giving the appearance of a reverse block when there is a hump on 10.


Actually, I'm using topography just as you describe it: the warping and tilt of a lane surface. While the ball is going faster while sliding on the oil as a result of the momentum applied by the bowler, I believe that as the ball slows as it encounters friction and begins to hook and then roll, it is more susceptible to inconsistencies in the lane surface. I base this belief in what can be seen in the reaction of the ball: it is always down near the breakpoint.


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