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Bowling Ball Skid

There are several factors related to the skid of a bowling ball. First, it is important to understand the term “skid” when referring to the bowling ball motion.

Ball skid (slide) typically refers to the distance a bowling ball will skid on the front end of the lane before changing directions.

Once a bowling ball is released onto the lane surface, the ball will skid a given distance until inertia slows the ball from the skid phase to the next phase of ball motion, the hook phase.

The skid distance has several factors influencing overall skid length:

1. the bowling ball coverstock (shell)

2. the drilling layout

3. the amount of axis tilt imparted on the ball by the bowler

4. the launch speed of the ball

5. the volume of oil conditioner applied to the lane surface where the ball initially travels

The two key factors any bowler must consider when choosing to purchase a bowling ball is the length potential and hook potential of a given ball.

The length potential refers to how far the ball will skid in relation to other bowling balls.

The hook potential refers to how much the ball will hook in the mid lane and what angle of entry will the ball use on the back end of the lane.

Once a bowler can control the skid distance on a given lane condition, then the hook potential is the next factor in achieving a desired overall ball motion.

The skid length can be altered by any number of adjustment techniques:

1. change of ball speed

2. the drilling layout which creates a given static weight imbalance in a given bowling ball

3. the delivery technique adding or reducing axis tilt (commonly known as how much you turn the ball)

4. delivery angle adjustments which determine how long a ball will travel in the heavy concentration of lane oil

Although your bowling ball rotates in the front end of the lane, it will skid in accordance with above mentioned factors.


Once your ball leaves the skid phase of motion, it enters the hook phase of motion in the mid-lane.

As your ball changes direction in the 2nd transition on the back end of the lane at the breakpoint, it will enter the 3rd phase of motion, the roll phase.

Once your ball is rolling from the breakpoint to the pocket, it will maintain its entry angle until it impacts the pins.

Since the 1st phase of ball motion is the skid phase, then your first concern as a player is to control the distance of skid.

If you are aligned properly to the pocket, then your ball will not travel beyond the breakpoint before changing directions or before it reaches the breakpoint based upon your making a good shot.