PBA star Chris Barnes offers analysis of Team USA Trials lane patterns


    Team USA News

    2006ChrisBarnes.jpg With a mix of four distinctly different lane patterns at the 2007 United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials, Denny's PBA Tour star Chris Barnes expects the most versatile players will rise to the top.

    The USBC Sport Bowling spokesperson and five-time Team USA member is all too familiar with the lane conditions the nation's top amateur bowlers will see when competition begins Monday at the National Bowling Stadium.

    All four patterns have been used on the Denny's PBA Tour this season and are certified by USBC Sport Bowling, a program that uses lane conditions to emphasize skills such as accuracy, consistency, the ability to read lanes and spare shooting to achieve success.

    "I think you'll end up seeing more versatility out of the team and the players who survive these four days," Barnes said. "You won't get caught off guard with a team that's one dimensional and catches a pattern at the world championships they aren't able to handle. You are trying to build a team that can handle anything and this will do it."

    The 156 men and nearly 80 women at the Team USA Trials will battle for U.S. Amateur champion honors and spots on Team USA, which will compete in international competition in 2007 including the Pan American Games this July.

    The competitors will face the Cheetah, Shark, Viper and USBC Masters patterns starting Monday. All competitors will bowl 10 games on each pattern with the top four men and top four women earning automatic spots on Team USA. Another four men and four women will be selected to join the team.

    Barnes offered the following analysis of the four patterns:

    * Cheetah: "I would use a ball with some surface, stand just inside the oil line and let the ball burn up some energy to let it smooth out as it gets to the gutter so you can control the friction off the gutter. The other way is to use lots of speed and not very much axis rotation to keep it on line."

    * Shark: "The Shark is a tough one for me, and I don't think it's going to be any bargain in this place. You'll play an inside line. The furthest right anyone will be is in the track area and people will move left from there. This year's Shark pattern is pretty slick so it's tough to get real deep and create any entry angle down the lane."

    * Viper: "This pattern can play a lot of ways. The field will determine how it will play and the guy's pattern will play much different than the women's pattern. The women will play out and the women who can move in and open the lanes up a little it the last four or five games will have a chance to put up some numbers. If the guys start by throwing the ball straighter, the lanes will get really high scoring. If they start too deep, the lanes could become a mess."

    * Masters: "This is a shot-makers pattern. You'll pick a spot and survive a little bit and wait for the lanes to transition. The women's pattern should break down a little better because they have a tendency to play the lanes closer alike. The guys will mess them up a little bit, and they'll have to chase quite a bit further left quicker, which will keep scores down. Guys who can line up in the track and can deal with the transition will score the best."

    Of all four patterns, Barnes said he expects the Shark pattern to be the most challenging for the competitors with the Cheetah playing the easiest.

    "The Shark is the toughest match-up for most people because what we see on a regular basis, including myself, is friction when you practice and there's just not very much friction on that pattern," Barnes said. "It requires more physical game adjustments than people are used to. From that standpoint, it will probably keep the scores the lowest."