Game 1: 134
Game 2: 139
Game 3: 168
Game 4: 143
Week Avg: 146
Viper Avg: 146
Season Avg: 174
I like research. I feel most comfortable when I have some knowledge of the pattern I am facing and can visualize the pattern to understand why my ball reacts a certain way. During the week leading up to a new pattern, I spend some time reviewing instructional video and read all I can on how bowlers throw successfully on the new pattern. I had done all of this research back in May for the Viper on some bad information from the league president/bowling center manager (you can view that post here). My plan was to review that post before the first week on the Viper, but instead I came into this week blind.
The Viper is basically the exact opposite of the Shark. While the Shark is a long pattern with heavy oil on the outside forcing bowlers to throw deep inside with little hook, the Viper is a short pattern with light oil causing the ball to hook early. I remembered that the pattern was short, but I couldn't remember the preferred line to play. During practice I found a line that was working standing with my left foot at the 22 board and throwing at the 10 board, similar to a dry house pattern (black line on diagram).
I immediately began to fail in the first game by leaving the 4-9 and 6-7-10 splits in the second and third frames, respectively. I followed those up with a chopped 1-2-8 in the fourth. The highlight of the night came in the sixth frame when I converted the 4-7-10 split, but no one saw this great shot because they were watching Olympic women's judo. I missed a 2-4-5-8 in the seventh and 3-9 in the ninth frame to clinch a truly awful 134. The worst part about the splits during this game was that they were the result of slightly high pocket hits. Those shots didn't look like they should have been as catastrophic as they turned out to be.
The second game was more of the same, though I decided to move right a bit to standing at the 21 board and throwing at the 7 (red line on diagram). I'm not going to bore you with the details, but it didn't go well. My ball is drilled to hook a little earlier on the lane, an attribute that usually works to my advantage, but not this night. Luckily I had my old Columbia Boss Titanium with me and I decided to switch to that starting at the sixth frame. Now this ball doesn't hook as early as the Python and is a little less reactive in general, so my thought was to get this ball to hook further down the lane or at least ease the entry angle into the pocket to avoid the splits. My only miss after switching balls in the second game was an easy 8-pin and I finished with a 139.
To start the third game I moved left to try to find a little more oil in the frontend of the lane, standing at 22 1/2 and throwing at the 8 board (blue line on diagram). I hit high to leave the 4-6-7 in the second frame and missed a 5-pin in the seventh. I am missing entirely too many 5-pins lately. My only other open this game was a 1-2-9 in the ninth, but a lack of strikes kept this game to a 168.
In the fourth game I reverted back to either light pocket hits or Brooklyn shots, leaving multiple pins for many shots. I opened in four frames, including the ninth and tenth, all with seven counts on the first ball. I finished with a 143 game and a series I would have been ashamed of if I had only bowled three games, let alone the four I bowled this outing.
Now I don't mean for my lack of preparation for the Viper to sound like an excuse (though its very difficult for me to believe that, so I don't know why I expect you to). For the most part my adjustments were correct, with the exception that I never moved far enough outside, but how I started the night sabotaged the entire evening. I started by playing further inside, then moved outside, and then came back inside again. This caused me to push through the oil too early in the night, leaving me nothing to adjust into when the lanes started grabbing really early later on. Next week I will start the evening playing closer to the gutter and as the night progresses I can move left into the oil.
Everyone was struggling, so I don't feel too bad, but I have two more weeks left in this experiment they call the PBA Experience League, and I plan to make the most of it.