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Bowling Ball Reaction

By:, Originally Posted: 9/7/16; Updated: 2/1/2022

If you are experiencing an inconsistent bowling ball reaction, there are several factors to consider.

First, an inconsistent ball reaction may not necessarily be the result of a human error.

Choosing the right ball to match the lane conditions you encounter with a compatible drilling layout are also factors key in obtaining and retaining a good bowling ball reaction.

Look for a consistent and repeating ball skid distance. You must be able to rely on getting the same 1st transition point in the mid-lane.

Another key is to choose a ball with just the right amount of track flare so you do not see your ball hook too weakly or too sharply at various points down the lane as opposed to making the 2nd transition of ball motion predictably at the breakpoint.

Track flare correlates with the amount of back end hook your ball achieves once it leaves the initial front end skid phase of motion.

Most bowling ball drillers recommend a control type drilling where your ball neither makes a very sharp hook motion at unpredictable distances down the lane nor hooks so early as to lose energy on the back end of the lane.

Bowling balls with controlled reaction capabilities match pretty well with most lane conditions you will face. Typically, these are known as “symmetric” bowling balls.

Matching the skid distance and back end hook motion is the challenge any competitive bowler faces.

By the way, it is important to have one reliable reacting bowling ball in your bag for using during your warm up sessions. This type of ball can be used as your “lane reading” ball so you know immediately if you need to select another ball to begin your competition.

The name of the game is hitting the pocket repeatedly and using the right bowling ball will help you improve the consistency of your bowling ball reaction.

If you are having trouble with your bowling ball reaction, consult with your pro shop professional to make sure you are using equipment which best matches the lanes where you bowl.

Also, your pro shop professional can help you establish a routine ball surface maintenance program. This program will help keep your ball clean and void of dirt or lane oil which may adversely affect your ball reaction. A maintenance program also refreshes/restores your bowling ball reactivity by resurfacing the coverstock of your equipment. This process applies a known amount of ball surface texture by use of a high speed ball spinner and grit pads to create a friction factor on the lanes best matching the oil pattern you encounter during your regular competitions.


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