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The Simple Keys Of Bowling Ball Motion

Bowling ball motion is described as the overall path a bowling ball takes while traveling down the lane. Research and development by manufacturers amplified by field studies performed by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) help all of us gain insight into what we see happen as a ball rolls down the lane.
Let’s boil things down to simple keys in addressing the concept of bowling ball motion.
When a bowler delivers a ball, the bowler imparts four forces to the ball:

1. Initial Ball Speed

2. Initial Rev Rate

3. Initial Ball Axis Tilt

4. Initial Axis Rotation

These factors, plus the location of the Positive Axis Point, help the pro shop professional pinpoint a bowler’s delivery style in preparation to drill the next bowling ball.
As a ball travels down the lane, it passes through three phases and two transitions. This motion happens as follows:

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

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.

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.
The bowling ball always hits harder after it stops hooking (the roll phase), rather than while it’s still hooking (the hook phase).
Once the ball reaches its entry angle at the second transition, the entry angle will remain the same until the ball hits the pins. This is a scientifically accurate description of bowling ball motion.

According to the USBC Ball Motion Study, ball motion is affected by:

1. Coverstock - The study proved that the most important factor in determining ball motion is the ball’s coverstock.

2. Mass Properties (ball dynamics as designed by the manufacturer)

3. Static Weight Balance

When drilling a bowling ball, the static weight balance dynamic shifts in accordance with the drilling layout pattern. This is a final factor important in achieving the desired reaction.
The drilling technique consists of the layout and the balance hole location and size (if a balance hole is desired).

When choosing a ball, it's a good idea to begin with the end in mind.
Establish how much angle of entry you want on the back end of the lane during the roll phase of motion. Choose a ball with necessary and sufficient Track Flare potential to match your desired back end ball motion.
Next, evaluate the front end and mid lane oil conditions and select the level of ball symmetry needed to produce a desired length potential.
You should also select a coverstock with the degree of aggressiveness needed to produce the overall skid and hook motion you seek in the front and mid lane.
As stated earlier, the final selection is the drilling layout you choose. When we tie these ball motion governing factors together successfully, the end result is a predictable and effective ball motion based on your delivery style.