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Bowling Ball Skid Distance

By:, Originally Posted: 1/22/16; Updated: 1/31/2024

If you are averaging between 150 and 170, you likely have encountered varying lane conditions. On varying lane conditions, you will also encounter varying bowling ball skid distance.

Oil patterns and lane surface conditions determine how much overall ball skid distance you will get as your bowling ball travels down the front portion of the lane.

Ball skid (slide) typically 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.

Given the factors of your individual release technique and the bowling ball you choose, the lane conditions (volume of oil applied to the front end of the lane surface) affect ball skid more than anything.

Bowling on a heavily oiled lane will increase your ball skid considerably and give the appearance that you are bowling ball is traveling downhill. Oily lanes help your ball maintain its speed of skid a greater distance than does a dry lane.

If you ball skids further on heavily oily lanes than on your normal lane conditions, then you will likely see less hook in the mid-lane and less distance your ball will travel at its angle of entry into the pocket on the back end.

The opposite is true for dry lane conditions. Dry lanes can give the appearance that your ball is traveling uphill and loses speed at a faster rate than on an oily lane.

Five factors affecting bowling ball skid distance:

1. the bowling ball coverstock (shell)

2. the drilling layout

3. the axis of rotation and amount of axis tilt imparted on the ball by the bowler

4. the launch speed of the ball

5. the volume of oil conditioner applied to the lane surface

Pay most attention what happens to your ball skid distance and when your ball will hook at the break point down the lane.

Owning multiple bowling balls with varying coverstock texture can be a help when bowling on very oily or dry lane conditions.

The ball coverstock should be your number one priority when choosing a new bowling ball to match best with lane conditions where you bowl.

The main concern you have as a player is to control the distance of skid during your alignment process.

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