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Bowling Ball Length And Hook Potential, Originally Posted: 1/1/2014; Updated: 1/7/2023

If you are fairly new to the game and are learning about bowling balls, you likely have heard terms around your local bowling centers or pro shop referring to bowling ball length and hook potential.

If you are uncertain as to what they mean, there are relatively simple explanations to help you understand these characteristics of bowling ball motion.

Length potential is a common term used today to address the skid distance potential a given bowling ball possesses. There are several factors which control skid distance with the bowling ball coverstock being the most important factor.

Generally, length describes the relative distance a bowling ball gets before it starts to hook in the mid-lane.

Because of factors based on the core design of any given bowling ball, one ball will have a longer skid distance rating than another. As stated, the coverstock texture is one factor in determining length potential and the RG rating is another. A high RG ball tends to skid further before hooking than a low RG ball does.

Hook potential is another common term we hear in pro shop circles which refers to the amount a given ball will hook once it leaves the skid phase of ball motion.

Generally, the term hook describes the relative hook potential of a particular bowling ball.

Bowling balls with high Differential of RG numbers generally will hook more than will bowling balls with low Differential.

The term Flare Potential is another way hook potential is described. Flare describes the ball track progression from the bowler's axis of rotation to the ball's preferred spin axis, due to strength of core and friction on the lane.

Asymmetric balls typically provide a more defined hook angle on the back end of the lane than does symmetric balls.

Symmetric balls produce a more controlled arcing motion on the than does an asymmetric ball.

Since bowling balls respond to a variety of forces applied to them under given conditions, the lane conditions dictate the overall length and hook potential any given ball possesses.

It is important for most bowlers to think in fairly simple terms relating to ball motion. Length and hook potential are two important terms describing the motion of a bowling ball as it travels down the lane.

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