To the amateur bowler, playing in competitive circles may feel like a long shot. But a combination of talent and dedication isn’t all the professionals have going for them: They’ve also learned to see the hidden patterns on bowling lanes that most people fail to notice. This element is crucial to a successful game, and once it’s understood, players at all levels can use it to their advantage.

Vox recently met with pro bowler Parker Bohn III to demystify this secret of the sport. Every lane in a bowling alley is regularly coated with a layer of oil to protect the wooden surface. These oil patterns have a huge impact on the speed, spin, and trajectory of a bowling ball. Different oiling machines leave different patterns, and professionals learn to tackle each one with a unique approach. The Professional Bowlers Association has even distinguished the patterns with unusual names, like "bear," "badger," and "cheetah."

Even if you have trouble spotting the oil pattern on the lane in front of you, learning the house pattern used by most alleys can aid your performance. Watch the video below to see how you can use this strategy to bowl like a pro.

[h/t Vox]