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Bowling Ball Motion Hook Phase

By:, Originally Posted: 2/14/17; Updated: 1/28/21

The three phases of ball motion from front to back on the lane are skid, roll, and hook.

Bowling ball motion is a derivative of the USBC Ball Motion Study done by the governing body of the sport of bowling.

The hook phase is inclusive in this study and is the 2nd phase of motion of the three phases of motion a bowling ball undergoes as it travels down the lane.

The hook phase occurs where the ball encounters sufficient friction to change its initial direction of travel.

The ball will transition (hook) as it reaches the mid-lane. At this point, your bowling ball begins to arc or curve due to a higher friction factor on the lane surface than in the skid phase where the oil conditioner is applied the heaviest.

This curve motion is a change of direction from the initial bowling ball delivery path angle.

The curve motion in the hook phase occurs until your ball reaches the breakpoint on the back end of the lane (about 5 or 6 feet beyond the final distance of oil application).

From the back end break point to the pocket, your ball does not change direction (during its roll phase) while traveling at an entry angle varying perhaps 2 to 8 degrees angle of entry depending on the given bowler’s delivery technique.

The optimal entry angle is said to be 6 degree for the best pin carry. Normal entry angles typically vary from 4 to 6 degrees of angle as your ball is traveling from the break point to the pocket.

It is very difficult to actually see your ball hook slightly in the mid-lane compared to when it transitions again at the breakpoint to the pocket. No ball goes immediately from the skid phase to a roll phase. This type of described movement is what is generally referred to as “skid/flip” and it is where your bowling ball makes a sharp angle of entry into the pocket compared to a straighter path to the pocket (a reduced amount of angle of entry) in the roll phase of motion. The skid phase and the roll phase of ball motion are typically the two most commonly addressed phases of motion bowlers focus on the most.


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