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Bowling Ball Motion Phases And Transition Points

By:, 10/29/16

Bowling ball motion is described as the path a bowling ball travels down the lane to the pins.

As it travels, bowling ball motion phases and transition points occur.

Research and development by manufacturers coupled with field studies performed by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) address matters of ball motion.

In addition to factors such as initial ball speed, initial rev rate, initial axis rotation and tilt which are imparted forces upon a bowling ball by a given bowler, the ball also encounters three phases of motion and two transition points.

These phases of motion are:

1. the skid phase (the first transition from skid to hook)

2. the hook phase (the second transition from hook to roll)

3. the roll phase (back end of lane)

Field studies of ball motion result as follows:

*During the skid phase, the force from the ball speed exceeds the force from the rev rate.

*In the hook phase, the force from the ball’s rev rate exceeds the force from the ball’s speed.

*During the skid and hook phases, the ball’s axis rotation always exceeds the ball’s axis tilt.

*The ball will lose its’ axis rotation faster than it loses its’ axis tilt during the skid and hook phases.

*Once the ball enters the roll phase the ball will no longer hook. Once the ball reaches its entry angle at the second transition, the entry angle will remain the same until the ball hits the pins.

*The bowling ball will reach its maximum rev rate at the second transition. The ball’s rev rate will always be less in the skid and hook phases than it is in the roll phase.

These are scientifically accurate descriptions of bowling ball motion.

Other factors influencing ball motion are:

Coverstock - the most important factor in determining ball motion is the ball’s coverstock.

Mass properties - the ball dynamics as designed by the manufacturer.

Static weight balance - drilling a bowling ball causes the static weight balance dynamic to shift.

Drilling Layout - The final factor important in achieving a desired reaction (ball motion) is the layout used when drilling a given bowling ball.


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