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Bowling Ball Axis Tilt Vs. Axis Of Rotation

If you are somewhat unsure about the difference or significance of bowling ball axis tilt versus bowling ball axis of rotation, let’s briefly examine the differences. Bowling terms we hear in and around bowling circles can often be confusing but when explained, can be easy to visualize and understand. Axis tilt and axis of rotation are two such terms.

First, we can simply define axis tilt as a measure of the angle of the initial spin axis to a horizontal plane.

A full roller or high track style would have little or no axis tilt. The initial spin axis would be parallel or close to parallel with the lane surface. One rotation of the ball would cover the major diameter of the bowling ball.

A spinner would have an initial spin axis tilted up from the lane. The ball track would be far away from the thumb and finger holes. One rotation of the ball would cover a much smaller diameter than seen with higher track players. The spinner style will get the ball further down the lane before it hooks compared to a low axis tilt technique.

Axis of rotation is a measure of the direction of the initial rotation on the ball with respect to the lane. It is a measurement of the angle between the initial spin axis and the foul line running across the lane.

A zero degree axis of rotation is all forward roll. The rotation on the ball is in the direction of the forward travel. The rotation will help keep the ball in the initial direction. The ball will not hook very much. It will roll out early.

A 90-degree axis of rotation is most likely all side roll. The rotation is perpendicular to the initial direction. The rotation is trying to make the ball hook at a 90-degree angle to the initial direction. This gives the ball more potential to hook. This style causes the ball to skid further down the lane and then hook more on the back end of the lane. A bowler with this style will most likely need balls drilled to hook earlier; such as axis weight, or pins closer to their axis.

Most bowlers fall into the range of 10 to 45 degrees axis of rotation but it is still important to understand how the range of axes of rotation effect ball motion.

It is recommended to focus on what you can control and that is your delivery style, your ability to select a bowling ball, and choosing a drilling layout.

You can slightly alter your delivery to increase or decrease axis tilt by varying the amount of finger rotation used at the moment you release your bowling ball.

For example, if you stay behind the ball and rotate the ball with your bowling fingers very little, you will produce a low axis tilt in the range of 10 - 20 degrees of axis of rotation.

Rotating your fingers a good deal at the moment of release will increase axis tilt and you will achieve a greater axis of rotation closer to 25 - 45 degrees of rotation depending on your delivery technique.

When choosing a new ball, just remember that the track flare rating is an important factor in predicting ball motion. The greater the track flare potential, the more angular motion the bowling ball will produce from the break point to the pocket. The lower the flare potential, the ball will yield more of a smooth arc motion on the back end of the lane.

Track flare can easily be augmented by choosing a drilling layout to produce a range of ball reaction from mild to a strong. This is when conferring with your pro shop professional is important so you match all forces (your delivery technique, your bowling ball flare potential, and your drilling layout option) together to get your desired ball motion.