What they're facing
A look at the lane conditions for the national championship
CANTON, Mich. -- This will not be easy.
Coaches -- and thereby competitors, were given a look Wednesday at the lane graph for the national championship tournament, which will get under way Thursday morning at Super Bowl Lanes.
Think of the lane graph like a course book in golf. It gives the competitors a look at the hazards they'll face. Unlike golf however, those hazards aren't visible to the naked eye.
The lanes are dressed with oil -- sometimes called lane conditioner. When the ball hits the oil, it acts like a car tire trying to gain traction on ice. The more oil the ball comes in contact with, the more the ball will skid, or go straight. When the ball hits a dry area, it creates friction and the ball will hook -- or curve -- in the same direction as the rotation of the ball (usually left to right for lefties and from right to left for righties).
Ideally, competitors are looking for heavier oil in the front part of the lane and less in the back so the ball will save its energy to the end of the shot, therefore hitting the pins harder when it reaches them.
The oil pattern this week is 42 feet long -- that's a few feet longer than your normal "house shot" pattern -- with heavy oil across the lane in the first 10 feet and oil across the lane with the exception of just the first board on each side of the lane. There is more oil in the center of the lane, which give the players a bit of forgivness, but it's nowhere near the ratio of a common house condition.
In short, the players will have to be accurate and will have to be able to repeat shots -- under pressure -- in order to be successful.