Lane Transition – Part 2 by Ed Cotter
In Part 1, I discussed the effect of different ball types had on lane transition. There are a couple of other factors that may be overlooked, lane surface and environment. The environment will be discussed in Part 3. In Joe Slowinski’s article, “The Myth of Carrydown – How the Lanes Really Transition”, there is not any mention of the lane type or environment. The article is geared more towards controlled lane surfaces and environments. For those of us that bowl leagues and some tournaments, we cannot control the lane surfaces or environment. These factors, along with ball types, can drastically affect lane transition.
Different lane surfaces impact lane transition in their own ways. The study in the article was, and I am assuming, accomplished on synthetic lanes. That is not to say synthetic lanes are better or worse. It is that synthetic lanes affect lane transition differently than wood lanes. Synthetic lanes are made of denser material and can take ball impact better than wood.
A factor that needs to be considered with wood lanes is absorption. Synthetic lanes, due to their design, absorb very little oil. Wood on the other hand, will absorb oil regardless of how well they are maintained. The coating process tries to prevent absorption as much as possible, but will not stop it. Wood is softer than synthetic and the lane coating will wear down and crack through normal wear and tear due to the wood.
That is all well and good for most houses, but there are some that use composite lane surfaces. The lane heads are synthetic and the remaining lane portion is wood. These lanes introduce a unique blend of lane transition. The lane heads will hold true to the synthetic lane transition discussed previously, as well as introduce the wood lane transition with it. For bowlers that bowl primarily on wood lanes, the lane heads could introduce more ball skid than they are used to. For bowlers that primarily bowl on synthetic lanes, the wood part of the lane could introduce stronger back ends than they are used to.
Knowing these lane transition factors can help you understand the ball reaction you see when it hits the pins. What pins are left standing and where the ball leaves the lane into the pit will also tell you how the lanes are transitioning. This will be a topic for a future blog, How to Read Lane Transition, that will follow Part 3 of this blog. Please feel free to leave a comment below.