Article Contents

  • 1. Where the hypothetical meets the applied
  • 2. Using the 3×3 box to play lanes and simulate lane transition
  • 3. Visualize playing the fresh
  • 4. Setting up and simulating transition
  • 5. Constructing the 3×3 box
  • 6. Conclusion and caveat

Improving lane play remains one of the biggest challenges in our sport. Lane surface materials vary widely and topographical differences lane-to-lane can make the same pattern play very differently in the same bowling center. Moreover, bowling has a variety of skill challenges due to the difficulty level of unique lane patterns. Each situation impacts ball motion differently.

Due to these challenges, lane play remains one of the weakest skill and knowledge sets for many bowlers. Lane play is literally a mystery for many. To excel, bowlers must be able to proactively deal with an invisible environment from the beginning of competition. As the tournament progresses and the conditions evolve, you must navigate the transition created from oil depletion and left behind by all bowlers who have bowled on the lanes prior to you.

To be successful, players need to strive to find a location in each pattern that provides the maximum margin of error. Specifically, if a bowler has recovery outside and hold inside, this will maximize the ability to score. Bowlers who can maintain this margin of error throughout a competition will perform well.

How does a bowler maintain the largest margin of error? It begins by being able to manipulate the lane pattern in practice in an area which, statistically speaking, is a likely location for the margin of error to exist. As the lane changes, each player needs to be able to observe how the ball reaction is changing in order to make wise and proactive moves and equipment changes to maintain the margin of error.

In this month’s issue of Slowinski At Large, I introduce readers to the 3×3 box, a visual training tool to improve lane play comprehension. The 3×3 box can be utilized in three important ways: (1) targeting practice; (2) a visual lane manipulation/ breakdown tool; (3) a visual lane transition and transition practice process tool. The 3×3 box is based on the idea of using what we know about lane pattern structure with more friction to the outside and more hold inside ...

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Joe Slowinski

About Joe Slowinski

Joe Slowinski, a USBC Gold Coach, is a freelance bowling coach who works with bowlers around the globe. He is currently on assignment with the Philippines. Slowinski is the former Director of Bowling at Lincoln Memorial University, where he served as Program Administrator and Head USBC Collegiate Men’s and NCAA Women’s Coach. The Portland, Maine native has served as the Administrative and Men's Head Coach at Webber International University and served for four years as a Master Teaching Professional at the Kegel Training Center. Slowinski is also the former Director of Coaching and Coach Certification for the National Sports Council of Malaysia. He has coached international teams at the World Championships, Pan American Games, South American Games, and European Championships, helping Belgium win a Gold medal at the 2022 EBF Championship of Champions and coaching Brazil to Gold medals at the 2015 Pam American Games and the 2014 South American Games. He was the 2018 NTCA DII/III Coach of the Year and the 2010 NCBCA Men’s College Coach of the Year.