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Are You Losing Your Bowling Ball Reaction?

By:, Originally Posted: 2/17/16; Updated: 12/18/2023

Are you losing your bowling ball reaction? If you are averaging between 160 and 190 and your ball reaction is not consistent, even when you make a good shot, you likely have encountered poor ball skid distance control.

Varying lane conditions is one reason you can lose ball reaction. Skid distance control and ball speed control, and the direction your bowling ball leaves your hand toward your sighting target on the lane are other reasons.

Let’s discuss these reasons. First, ball skid refers to the distance a bowling ball will skid on the front end of the lane before changing directions slightly in the mid lane (for those bowlers who use a hook ball delivery).

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.

Your ball skid distance is largely controlled by your release technique and the bowling ball you choose. Controlling your ball skid distance is also controlled by how fast you deliver your ball off of your bowling hand.

Ball speed is an easy way to help control skid distance if you practice delivering your ball at as close to the same speed shot after shot.

If you vary your forward swing direction in successive shots, your ball path direction varies and you introduce your ball into the lane oil pattern at different angles.

The ball skid distance can be adversely affected if on one shot you deliver the ball pretty straight up the boards of the lane and on the next shot you deliver the ball from an inside to outside swing angle.

If this is the case, practice swinging your ball closely to your body on your forward swing and follow through completely and with the same amount of forward swing acceleration each shot.

You cannot do much about the lane conditions where you bowl so your main concern is to choose an initial alignment to the pocket based on the ball you choose and your release technique.

If you improve delivering your ball at the same speed each shot and at the same ball swing path angle each shot, you gain in controlling your ball skid distance and your overall ball reaction improves.

A reliable ball reaction is the goal. Control your ball speed, your swing delivery path angle, and learn to align to the pocket and make sensible adjustments as your ball reaction changes.

Regardless of your skill level, these focus points will help improve your bowling ball reaction.

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