THE BOWLING GUY: Mika's WBT Strategy

by jthomas  |  Friday, December 02, 9:30 AM

On Wednesday, we posted the first of our series of Jackie Bowling-hosted Pre-Game Shows for the upcoming World Series of Bowling telecasts.

Earlier this week, I posted an article on how the players typically "groom" the lanes prior to the start of the telecasts during their 15 minutes of warm-up on the TV pair.

Within that article, I stated that there are two schools of thought concerning strategy: 1) set the lanes up for yourself or 2) take away a competitor's favorite part of the lane and make it a "shot-making" contest. I also said that certain players (most specifically Jason Belmonte) have such an advantage in the power department, that if the lanes end up breaking down a certain way, he will have an overwhelming advantage by the time the show reaches the final match.

Well, in our very first telecast you have an example of a player (Mika Koivuniemi) using strategy #2 to try and take that option away from Belmonte. Here is how he did it:

What Mika did during his warm-up time was to throw an extremely sanded bowling ball (diagram #2) in the middle part of the lane (where Belmonte typically prefers to lay his ball down) to burn a swath out of the middle part of the oil pattern. He alternated this by throwing an inordinate number of shots with his plastic spare ball to pull a large volume of oil down the lane (plastic balls carry more oil down than reactive because the oil does not absorb into the cover nearly as much) in the right half of the pattern (diagram #3).

By the time he was finished, the only option to play the lanes that could yield any kind of mistake area was the extreme outside part of the lane (diagram #4). Belmonte and Rash quickly realized what Mika was up to during the warm-up (and, from my sources, were none too pleased about it) and immediately started to play right in order to build a spot for themselves on the outside.

Ironically, this actually caused some concern in the Team Ebonite camp, who then fretted over how Mika's look might be from outside after two monster rev rates torched the outside part of the lane for a full game plus practice. Their game plan? Mika would loft it and stay right.

Did the strategy pay off for Mika? Watch the telecast this Sunday at 1pm ET on ESPN to find out. The Women's WBT finals featuring Nina Flack, Sandra Andersson and Carolyn Dorin-Ballard air immediately afterward.

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