All You need to Know about PBA Shark Oil Pattern

PBA shark oil patternHave you recently played on PBA Shark oil pattern and completely botched the game? Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one. I have recently played on this pattern, and let me tell you, it is not as difficult as it seems. Indeed, it is the longest of all PBA Experience Animal patterns, but if played right, this oil pattern will become your favorite. Moreover, if you want to face the exact oil pattern that was used on the Denny’s Professional Bowlers Association Tour, this is your chance! So what’s so great about this particular oil pattern? How to nail the game against all the odds? Buckle up, I have all the answers regarding this PBA bowling oil pattern.

What is the PBA Shark oil pattern?

Bowling lane oil patterns that are accredited by Professional Bowling Association (PBA) are indeed some of the best patterns. From beginners to professionals— there is an option for everyone. The PBA offers 16 different types of oil patterns for the bowling lanes. Among them, 8 of them are Animal Patterns and the remaining 8 are Legend Patterns. The pattern of oil we are talking about today is the PBA Shark oil pattern. Even if you didn’t play on this pattern you might have learned about it from PBA Experience, the USBC Sport Bowling program.

This newly upgraded 48 feet Shark pattern is the longest and perhaps the toughest PBA experience pattern. But hey! Don’t be frightened due to its length. The total amount of Forward Oil is 16.20 mL and Reverse Oil is 10.15 mL. So you get a Total Volume Oil of 26.35 mL on the lane. The Total Boards Crossed in this pattern will be 527 Boards (324 Boards- Forward and 203 Boards- Reverse). On each board, there will be 50 uL of oil. The conditioner and oil transfer type are customizable.

On sports shots like PBA Shark, there will be a higher concentration of oil on the outside part of the lane. So if you miss right (if you’re right-handed) or left (if you’re left-handed) there won’t be much recovery room at all. This is why many advanced and pro bowlers swallow their fear before getting on this lane.

How to attack on the PBA Shark oil pattern?

PBA shark oil pattern forces the player to bowl deep inside the center of the lanes. This is where the name ‘Shark’ comes from. As we know shark lives primarily in the depths of the ocean, and so the bowlers play deep in the middle of the lane, the name is just perfect. So how do you tame the Shark?

Since this 48 feet pattern has a ratio of 2:1, we need to find out the board you should aim for. So, using the rule of 31, I will take the 48 feet of the pattern minus 31 is 17; (48-31=17). Therefore, on the fresh oil, you want your ball to be at the 17 board ideally. Remember, this is just a basic guide. The type of bowling ball you use, the bowling center you’re at, the bowling style you follow— there are so many factors to determine where you’re actually going to be playing.

Considering the length and oil volume, bowlers tend to migrate toward the center of the lane. This is because their bowling balls won’t hook back to the pocket if they stray a bit too far outside near the gutters. The higher length is often troublesome for some bowlers. That’s why you shouldn’t hook the ball in a very angular shape, try to play straight with a slower ball speed.

If you throw the bowling ball too hard it will go through the breakpoint and come in light and miss the pocket altogether. Hence, playing from the inside part of the lane is recommended. As per the pattern’s requirement, you should opt for extreme inside angles to reach the pocket after 5 or 6 games.

Now let me tell you how straight, tweener, and power players should attack the Shark pattern.

Guide for Straight Bowlers (< 250 rev rate):

So where should you play if you’re a straight shooter? Bowlers who always roll straight exclaimed that the 2nd arrow is the best place to start. If you’re a straight bowler, I would suggest you move further out (instead of inside) on the lane or switch to an aggressive ball to nail the perfect carry down on the Shark oil pattern. However, you need to make some adjustments when the lane starts to break down. Right-handed bowlers should move a little inside, or go for a weaker bowling ball. On the other hand, left-handed bowlers should stay in the same place, and switching to a weaker ball is mandatory for them.

Guide for Tweener Bowlers (250-350 rev rate):

Now, where should a tweener play? Unanimously, it is recommended by USBC that starting somewhere close to the 3rd arrow (15th board) is possibly the best choice for tweeners. After that, they can gradually move deeper, meaning, towards the inside of the lane. If you’re a fellow tweener, you should switch to a more aggressive bowling ball when it’s time to adjust to the carry down. As I have mentioned, bowlers should always move inside on this pattern, but the opinion varies among some pro tweeners who think switching to a weaker bowling ball is the solution when the lane starts to break down. I will leave that to you to decide.

Guide for Power Bowlers (350+ rev rate):

As for power bowlers, you should start playing from the 4th arrow (20th board). If you’re a power bowler, the furthest right you can start is the 3rd arrow (15th board). So what should you do when the lane starts to break down? Ideally, you should move deeper inside the lane. Professional power bowlers claim that they switch to a weaker ball when they move deeper inside. Similarly, when the lane starts to break down, opting for a weaker ball is still a smart decision as you move inside.

Which bowling ball is best for this pattern?
A majority of PBA tournament bowlers prefer bowling balls that are more on the aggressive side. However, medium-performance bowling balls that have good balance are great for the PBA Shark oil pattern. Make sure your bowling ball has accuracy and you have the ability to repeat shots to get a higher score. For this certain bowling oil pattern, avoid balls that have an extreme angular hooking ability at the breakpoint.

A good benchmark bowling ball for this bowling oil pattern would be Motiv Forge Fire. A substitute for that ball is Motiv Forge Flare. Both of these balls have the same core but different covers. The Motiv Venom Shock is another nice ball. To make the ball predictable to a greater degree and to get a really definitive read on the Shark pattern, go for a 1000 grit finish. You can also go for the Hammer Black Widow Solid. With this ball, you will have to stay behind the ball, and put some lift on it to keep the ball speed down! The Brunswick Prism Solid is also a great alternative if you can’t get your hands on the other bowling balls. All of them will perform just the way you want them to.


There you go, folks! Taming the Shark is totally feasible! As long as you can keep your bowling speed under control, you’re good to go. I hope this article was insightful enough for you to know more about this sports pattern and help you prepare for your upcoming challenges. Good luck!


I’m an aspiring bowler with an immense love for bowling. I started playing the game at a very early age and it’s been an integral part of my life ever since.

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