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Uphill And Downhill Bowling, Originally Posted: 11/3/2014; Updated: 3/20/2024

If you are averaging between 150 and 170, you likely have encountered varying lane conditions. Dry lanes and oily lane conditions determine how much overall ball skid and hook you will get as your bowling ball travels down 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.
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 constants of your delivery style and the bowling ball you choose, the lane conditions 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 downhill. Oily lanes help your ball maintain its speed of travel longer 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 slightly faster rate than on an oily lane.
Dry lanes create increased surface friction which shortens your ball skid distance and you will likely see the ball begin the hook phase of motion closer to you than on oily lanes.
In simple terms, the five factors affecting ball skid distance are as follows:
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 where the ball initially travels
Without worrying about too much scientific information in the first four factors and pay most attention in knowing what happens to your ball skid distance and when your ball will hook when bowling on oily or dry lanes.
Of course, medium oily lanes will produce a more moderate skid distance and is fairly easy to read the lanes compared to heavily oiled or very dry lanes.
It is very useful to own multiple bowling balls with varying coverstock texture to help you combat oily or dry lane conditions. The ball coverstock should be your number one priority when choosing a new bowling ball to match best with the local lane conditions you encounter frequently.

As your ball changes direction in the 2nd transition on the back end of the lane at the breakpoint, it will enter the 3rd phase of motion, the roll phase.
Once your ball is rolling from the breakpoint to the pocket, it will maintain its entry angle until it impacts the pins.
Since the 1st phase of ball motion is the skid phase, then your first concern as a player is to control the distance of skid.
This is why it helps to use multiple bowling balls if you find yourself competing on uphill or downhill (dry or oily) varying lane conditions.
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