Find out what matters in your bowling roll

Ten Pin Bowling: What Matters in Your Roll

By Dylan Byars

2 min read

Your bowling ball's movement is influenced by several factors, some within your control and others beyond it. Understanding these elements can help you choose the right ball and optimize its layout.

Ball Surface

The material and texture of the coverstock are crucial factors in how a bowling ball performs on the lane. A dull, solid coverstock will lose speed more rapidly compared to a polished, pearlized one. Surfaces that are rougher create additional friction, leading to a decrease in ball speed thus offering an enhanced early reaction. Professional bowlers often opt for textured surfaces as they provide superior performance on heavier oil patterns, allowing for a more controlled backend motion. These characteristics influence the ball's behavior throughout its journey down the lane, affecting its overall performance and the player's strategy.

Ball Speed

Bowlers who exhibit high ball speeds but low rev rates can be described as "speed dominant." These bowlers typically benefit from utilizing aggressive surfaces and layouts that facilitate an earlier hook initiation. On the other hand, bowlers categorized as "rev dominant" tend to have slower speeds and may find it advantageous to opt for less aggressive setups. This approach helps prevent the ball from reacting excessively. By adjusting their equipment and techniques based on their dominant characteristic, bowlers can optimize their performance on the lane.

Rev Rate

Rev Rate, short for revolution rate, is a crucial metric that measures the number of revolutions per minute (RPM) you impart on the bowling ball. It serves as a fundamental categorization tool for bowlers, distinguishing them as either strokers with a low RPM, tweeners with a moderate RPM, or crankers boasting a high RPM. Your awareness of your rev rate is immensely beneficial as it plays a vital role in determining the most suitable ball selection, refining your techniques, and gauging the necessary wrist support for optimal performance on the lanes.

Axis Tilt

The axis tilt of a bowling ball is crucial, determined by how you position your thumb when releasing it. Higher tilt means the ball's path is longer, but it reduces the backend motion, making it more suitable for drier lanes. On the other hand, lower tilt results in a shorter skid phase, increasing the ball's hook potential. This tilt angle significantly impacts the ball's performance on different lane conditions, affecting both its trajectory and motion characteristics. By adjusting your thumb position at release, you can fine-tune the ball's behavior to match the specific lane conditions you're facing, giving you better control over your game.

Axis Rotation

When considering the axis rotation of your throw, it's essential to understand how it impacts your shot. The horizontal angle, also known as side roll, is a critical factor influenced by your release. If there's no rotation, the ball will likely roll end-over-end with minimal hook potential. On the other hand, incorporating high rotation can extend the skid phase on the lane while boosting backend hook potential, making it ideal for drier lane conditions. By adjusting the rotation, you can alter the ball's reaction without having to shift your entire line of play. This manipulation allows for a more tailored approach to varying lane conditions, maximizing your overall performance and versatility on the lanes.

Mastering ball speed, rev rate, axis tilt, and rotation allows you to control the ball's motion and adapt to changing lane conditions. Combined with proper surface preparation, understanding your roll is crucial in modern ten pin bowling.