What is the track area on a bowling lane? | has it or will it move ?

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32 Comments on “What is the track area on a bowling lane? | has it or will it move ?”

  1. Wait…wut? “Old” at 35? I’m 52 and I still feel like I’m in my 20’s most of the time! You’re just a youngster, JR! Wait…what was I saying? 😛

    1. @Richard Cassvan You’re awesome, & 71 yrs young, me too, used to be a down & in player, but recently learned the way the pros throw in today’s game, now I don’t leave the (stinking) 10 pin as much.
      We’re still learning & growing.

  2. Great explanation. I’m 68… you are not old! Can you do a video on how to keep the ball close to the ankle on release? Unless you have done one? Especially if you have to move more inside. Does the rule of 7 still apply?

    1. I had a big issue with this throwing a full roller style. In order to keep the ball closer to the ankle, #1 if right handed, 4 step approach, the right foot has to go over the left on the first step and the swing has to replace that right leg. #2 you have to be on the inside of the ball to get it close, if your on the outside you will be further away. I used to be 10 boards or so from my ankle, then I got it down to around 4-5 and now I am not sure but getting inside the ball puts the ball closer to the ankle to begin with.

    2. ..arc your arm straight and push the ball forward..i thought the same thing as you until i took a video of myself

    3. @D Smart This is all good info. Another trick I’ve found is to do a no-step foul line drill using a figure 8 armswing to get used to the idea of getting the swing to come in closer to the ankle. Start in your finishing position at the foul line. Push the ball away to the left, then on the downswing it needs to come out to the right and away from your body. Once you get to the top of the backswing and it starts to fall back down, it should feel natural for it to want to tuck back in closer to your body. Let your arm come back in close, and then when you release the ball try to make sure you are projecting the ball out to the right. In order to do that, you have to get your ball close to your ankle. Repeat this a few times and it’ll help you get used to what it feels like to be in the right position at the release point.

  3. Makes sense to me. What about a video on the advantages of trying to play the track area on tougher PBA or sport patterns? Usually after they have broken down a bit, sometimes you are able to generate a little extra area depending on the house and the pattern, if the track area is shining through the pattern a bit. It’s not always there, but sometimes if you take a couple fill balls and look for it, or see other players migrating there and scoring, being aware of this can play to your advantage in some cases.

  4. Me being a dinosaur, I thoroughly agree with you, the track is deeper.  Too bad the synthetic lanes cannot be resurfaced like the old wooden ones used to be.

    1. Early gen synthetic lanes can be replaced. They definitely got worn over the years. I dont know if newer generation synthetic will be that bad.

    2. There is a bowlingalley in Sweden that has done som work with synthetic lanes. They removed severe worn areas at the track area and the lanes hooked like crazy downlane the first week. I really think that todays lanes favors the left side (less worn) or righthand bowlers with 450 revrate. The big loosers are 70% of the bowlers that have to play the track with 350 rpm or less. Even worse, if you are a hightrack/low tilt with 300 rpm or less….then you have a window of 1-1,5 games out of 6 games until trackarea has burned up and everyone is left of you. When you move left you do not have revs to create angle, most bowlers then slow down and loose shim. To sum up, todays game is a lot about the left side or righthanders with 450 in combination with higher tilt. Do you agree?

  5. I’m 60, and when I was learning the game it was explained to me that the track area was the area in which the bowlers on the lane were using so if they were over 10 to the pocket then that was the track, if they were over 13 to 9 then that was the track. so when the ball came out of the track sooner you would be able to move 1 board to the left and keep oil on the ball and catch the back end of the track to the pocket, so would that be the same today?

  6. In the ‘fun’ leagues the majority of bowlers launch the ball right down the middle, or play all the way outside. But those of us with a rev rate above 300 wind up around this area you describe. Once the rev rate gets even higher and newer ball technology hits our hands, we have to start further left than the track.

    The idea of a ‘track’ may be antiquated itself. Synthetic lanes do develop one but I can’t see it being as pronounced as the worn wood surfaces once were. Nowadays I’m more inclined to believe that it’s the bowlers themselves and how they play the lanes, as well as what the oil pattern dictates, that determines the ‘track’ for that particular game, session of league, or tournament.

  7. Even 20 years ago when I was oiling lanes I moved the “wall” from 10-10 to 13-13 because I noticed this trend.

  8. I’ll call you pokadots. But i agree with you. I grew up bowling with urathane to resin to today’s stuff. Used to be stand big dot throw 2nd arrow. Now it’s stand 25+left and throw 13 or so. So i think that’s the track anymore

  9. In my mind the “track” was always the area of the lane where most of the right handed bowlers played. Back in the mid 70s to the 90s, the first part of my bowling life, this would become a literal groove in each lane, and required resurfacing of the lane on a regular basis. With synthetic lanes the track is defined more as a change in surface texture than a measurable groove. The track now becomes an area of the lane that is unplayable soon after the first game and the better players migrate out of it.

  10. The late great Billy Welu called a match that Billy Hardwick was in.
    Hardwick was a Full Roller who rolled the ball pretty slow and straight.
    Hardwick had mastered the ability to let the track guide his ball to the pocket.
    Welu had this to say about Hardwick playing the track:
    “His shot is coming more and more into prominence because he uses almost a straight shot, he plays the track week to week, he does not arc it…so when Billy Hardwick gets into the track area it is pretty hard for his ball to get out of it, it’s just not hooking too much.”
    So my question is: For us low rev players that go very straight, is there still an advantage to getting our ball going up the track so it will guide the ball to the pocket more consistently?

  11. I agree 100%. Having had another dozen and-a-half birthdays than you… and 22 years of being a lane man and drilling balls, I find an interesting parallel how one created the other. The short oil era only really changed where power players played. The great migration left didn’t really start until the early 90s with the release of the XCalibur in 91 and the TurboX in 92 (and the rest is reactive history of course…). As a rather new center and only synthetic center in town at the time, we immediately noticed that, initially, older wood houses were scoring higher than us. I also bowled league at one of the older houses. It didn’t take long to realize that the bowlers figured out how to bank the new “cheater balls” off of the rougher track area on the wood lanes. Therefore, creating the same effect on the synthetics required putting even less oil outside… which was impossible since the wood houses were also getting as close to 3 units as possible also. Within 5-6 years, all the wood houses had resurfaced/refinished and the playing field leveled out. Eventually, everyone wanted the reaction they used to get on the worn lanes with the reactives which was physically impossible. The ball technology went crazy from this point forward. Anyway, that got long-winded… HA! Great stuff! I just subscribed too.

  12. Thanks for the clarification. I have been wondering about your interpretation of the “track” area . I’m much older (54) and when I hear track area, I always think of the old school track area (between 5-10).

  13. Rev rate is going up because the one handlers have to compete with no thumb and especially those two handed players

  14. Well explained JR, technology with todays balls and lanes its very challenging… Always learning and adjusting.

  15. When I was a kid I watch my grandpa and dad play and most of them did play around the 5 spot now. New generation looking for the rev

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