Based on my poor experience with last year's practice lanes, I was going to skip it this year. My team consisting of 4 first timers who really wanted to practice so I obliged them. Again, the practice lanes were nothing like the actual conditions. I recommend skipping the practice lanes as they are expensive and do nothing to help you form your strategies.
Unless you have a lot of hand and ball speed (neither of which I possess), deep inside lines are very tough to play. Most of my shots immediately wanted to move left as soon as it left my hand. I tried standing at 30 and 35 boards and it took extreme effort to get the ball out. Many shots immediately took off and headed to the 7-pin. When I did get it out far enough, there was no energy left when it struck the pocket.
Outside, I played with 7, 8, 9 & 10 boards with varying results. More often or not, it looked like I was in the pocket but I was leaving 4 pins. Obviously the entry angle was incorrect. 6 board I think was the shot but I couldn't consistently hit it. Any misses right of 6 board, you were in no man's land, the ball would not recover.
I settled with a shallow inside line, standing 20 and targeting 15. I used my Motiv Rebel Tank which is a modern pearl urethane. It gave me just enough tail movement to finish in the pocket and leave easy spares. Strikes were hard to come by, in 3 games, I believe I had 9 or so strikes. I picked up most of my spares, with only 1 open in each game.
Doubles and Singles:
You are only given 6 minutes practice so I tried as many lines as possible.
I first tried using the Rebel Tank and shallow inside line from the day before which I had some success with. No deal
. Where I had a 5 board tail before, the ball just slid all the way down. I changed to a reactive ball and it went through the nose. I moved further inside and I moved outside as well. 6 minutes expired and I still did not have a plan.
From the outside, my ball would not finish. Either I didn't have enough surface or my low rev was the problem. Moving right and trying to angle the ball in would result in the ball going through the nose.
Inside, it was inconsistent. At one point, I threw 6 shots in a row solid in the pocket with only two strikes (3 ten pins and a 9 pin leaves). I tried moving my feet to fine tune and lost the shot completely after a while.
Spares were insanely hard to pick up, especially the left side. Left of 5 pin, balls took off like a scalded dog.
When I wasn't missing easy spares, I was getting killed by splits and washouts. Over/under was my enemy. I ended the day confused and abused by the shot.
Before leaving, I talked to one of the Storm reps. Her recommendation was a strong ball with surface (500) and playing outside for Doubles/Singles. Of course, she was also recommending her balls to accomplish this.