Article Contents

  • 1. Being prepared
    • 1.1. What I brought to the PWBA Stockton Open
    • 1.2. Think of everything
  • 2. The 2023 PWBA season is here!
    • 2.1. PWBA format
    • 2.2. Oil pattern
    • 2.3. Transition
    • 2.4. Where the pattern played
    • 2.5. The effects of multiple re-oils
    • 2.6. Impact on strategy
    • 2.7. Topography and center characteristics
    • 2.8. Equipment trends
  • 3. Personal review
  • 4. Final thoughts

Competitive bowlers, whether they are college athletes, professionals, or weekend warriors, all have something in common: we all need to learn from our experiences in order to maximize our potential in future events. Over the next few articles, I’ll be presenting lessons learned and topics from the 2023 PWBA Tour season that bowlers can apply to their own games.

To start, we’ll look at how you can be prepared beyond the obvious hours on the lanes getting ready. Then we’ll look at the first event of the season, the PWBA Stockton Open, with a focus on the tactical considerations and insights from my experience in that event.

Being prepared

It’s crucial to come out on tour with a well-prepared and thought-out arsenal. You don’t have to have 12 or 15 bowling balls to be successful; you merely have to be smart with your selections. On the PWBA Tour, the oil pattern gets posted 30 minutes before we start official practice, so we never know for sure what pattern we will be bowling on before we travel to the tournament.

In our sport, some tournaments post their patterns ahead of time, and some do not. In NCAA competition, for example, the oil pattern is sent to the coaches 10 days prior to the start of the tournament. That way, a team is able to choose every bowler’s arsenal ahead of time and even practice on the pattern at home before heading out for the weekend. From what I understand, USBC college events unveil the pattern up ...

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Maria Bulanova

About Maria Bulanova

Maria has been bowling for over 15 years, earning several accolades around the world. She became the youngest player ever to win a European Bowling Tour title by winning the 2013 Russian Open. She earned 17 European Championships medals, including her win in the 2015 European Champions Cup, and finished third at the 2015 QubicaAMF World Cup. She bowled collegiately for Vanderbilt University, where she was a four-time All-American, the 2016 D1 Rookie of the Year, the 2019 D1 Player of the Year, and was a part of the NCAA National Championship team in 2018. After graduation, she coached at St. Francis College-Brooklyn for two years and recently got her Bronze Level certification from USBC in March of 2023.