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bowlingball.com BowlVersity Q & A
We hope our responses to these questions below, now and in future articles, opens up a line of thinking which possibly lead to helping you improve your bowling game. Most of the responses are to questions we received from bowlers ranging from beginners to 180 average players.
If you are an advanced player or a highly skilled and experienced player, these responses to questions may or may not be of use but, nevertheless, you are most welcome to join in and offer your comments with the intent of sharing good information from your personal experiences on the lanes with fellow bowlers in our community. We cannot possibly keep our responses to questions somewhat short and direct in content without omitting information which could expand the range of answers to a more acceptable level, thus another reason we invite you to share your thoughts with our community by making a comment under the posted article and help us pass along useful ideas.
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Here are the four questions for this article to get this started:
Q. Why do I lose my balance while I am releasing my bowling ball?
A. Most bowlers lose balance during their release because of three key reasons: hurried footwork (particularly the final two steps of the approach), because of poor posture with the upper body when sliding into the foul line, and because of improper use of the balance leg.
Try and avoid a hurried pace of walking to the foul line with a rapidly accelerated final two steps. Your sliding bowling shoe on your final step should slide toward the center of your torso for good balance while you are releasing the bowling ball.
Try and maintain good posture from the set-up positioning on the approach and throughout your walk to the foul line. Keep your head as motionless as possible and avoid sudden tilting movement with your bowling shoulder. Your head and shoulders should be directly above your sliding knee during the final sliding step and not be leaning in front of your sliding knee or be pulling back and away from your knee to avoid a loss of balance during the critical release of your bowling ball.
Your balance leg, or trailing leg, should sweep smoothly to the opposite side of your body from your bowling arm. The bowling shoe on your balance leg should remain in contact with the approach floor while sweeping away from the arm swing path. By keeping the balance leg shoe in contact with the approach floor, your upper body position will remain stable as your swing enters the release zone.
Q. Why do I miss my spot on the lane to the left so often?
A. Truth be told, most right handed bowlers (opposite for left handed bowlers), being right eye dominant, will miss their target at the bowling arrows about 15 feet down the lane to the inside, or the left of where they site, perhaps one or two boards. This is not an uncommon tendency.
Most misses to the left of target occur, however, from improper alignment, either initial alignment when setting up on the approach, alignment when sliding into the foul line caused from excessive and unplanned drifting off of the intended walking lines, or both.
For bowlers with a modest hook release, the instep of the sliding bowling shoe should cover a board to the left of the target board down the lane by perhaps 9 or 10 boards left of the target (right handed bowlers) if sighting near the common target of the 2nd arrow. The further angle of delivery is to the left on the approach and at the target, the greater the release angle to the target on the lane must occur. The more direct and up-the-boards you play, the fewer boards difference from the sliding shoe and the target on the lane are needed to be successful in hitting the pocket consistently.
We recommend having a qualified instructor help double check your alignment, your walking lines to the foul line, and your selection of target on the lane so you develop a good formula for alignment, adjustments, and improving your accuracy.
Q. What is the best speed to deliver my bowling ball for strikes?
A. The ideal bowling ball speed is about 17 miles per hour (mph) measured at impact with the pins and about 21 mph when the ball is released onto the lane, plus or minus one m.p.h tolerance.
If we use the Pro Bowlers as examples of ball speed measurements, we find that bowlers delivering a ball less than 16 mph at impact with the pins are not as effective in pin carry and in generating consistent ball motion as those who deliver the ball at 17-19 mph at impact with the pins.
Most Pro Bowlers will release the ball anywhere from 20-22 mph at the release point and will impact the pins at 17 or 18 mph. This speed range is the same range the bowling ball manufacturers use when testing new bowling balls so it makes sense to be compatible with the pros and the manufacturers when delivering your bowling ball for the best results.
Typically, a bowling ball takes about 2.5 seconds elapsed time, plus or minus 0.15 seconds, to contact the pins at an instantaneous velocity of 16.5 mph. It should be pointed out, however, that elapsed travel time varies in accordance with three common factors, lane oil conditions, bowling ball coverstock surface texture, and the amount a bowling ball hooks as it travels down the lane.
These three factors will vary the average velocity somewhat and should be considered when working to regulate your ball speed. Keeping a constant speed during your sessions on the lanes will help you improve your shot-making skills and to know when an alignment adjustment is needed.
Q. What does the term RG I hear so frequently refer to and mean?
A. The United States Bowling Congress defines the RG (Radius of Gyration) of a bowling ball as a measurement in inches and is the distance from the axis of rotation at which the total mass of a body might be concentrated without changing its moment of inertia. bowlingball.com describes RG as a measurement by some manufacturers in a range from 2.460" to 2.800", but some companies have converted them to a 1-10 scale to help give the consumer a better frame of reference. The These numbers describe the distribution of mass in the given bowling ball and RG is an account of the location of that mass inside the given bowling ball.
High RG numbers indicate that the ball's mass is distributed more towards the cover (cover heavy) which promotes length through the heads of the bowling lane. Low RG numbers indicate that the balls mass is distributed more towards the center (center heavy) which promotes an earlier roll through the front part of the lane. Medium RG describes sufficient bowling ball skid length to reach the mid-lane before transitioning into the hook phase of overall motion.
Placing RG range measurements into three relative numerical spreads used by bowlingball.com in our bowling ball specifications articles are as follows:
Low RG: 2.460" - 2.570"
Med. RG: 2.570" - 2.680"
High RG: 2.680" - 2.800"
Thanks to the bowlers who shared their questions with us for this article. We hope our responses prove useful. Feel free to offer your comments; they will be most welcomed. Be sure to check the "Improve Your Game" link in "BowlVersity" on the home page of our site for future posts titled bowlingball.com BowlVersity Q & A. Thank you.