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Controlling Ball Speed | Bowling This Month

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Article Contents

  • 1. Why you need multiple ball speeds
    • 1.1. Understanding a bit more about friction and ball speed
    • 1.2. The bowling ball matters
    • 1.3. The angle and area also matter
    • 1.4. Putting it together with the pattern
  • 2. Reducing your ball speed
    • 2.1. Changing the approach length
    • 2.2. Going extreme
    • 2.3. Changing the ball start
  • 3. Increasing your ball speed
    • 3.1. Shortening the slide
    • 3.2. Adjusting my body position
  • 4. Conclusion

I first faced the need to change ball speeds back in 2006, when dual lane conditions were first used at the Junior World Championships. We were bowling on 33-foot and 48-foot patterns that year when I realized the need to change speeds during training sessions in my home center.

At first, I fell into a common trap. Some bowlers believe that it takes increasing the rev rate on the long oil pattern and reducing it on the short oil pattern, while maintaining the same speed. After dozens of hours, I realized how much I was wrong when holding this opinion. I was incredibly inconsistent. My body was literally telling me I was making a mistake. I was uncomfortable and needed to look for another option.

It took long training and experimentation for me to realize that the ability to change the ball’s speed and its axis of rotation during release is much more important than attempting to increase or decrease the rev rate. Bowlers can regulate their ball roll along the lane by changing these parameters, regardless of the length and thickness of the applied oil. Even by maintaining the ball’s degrees of axis rotation and tilt and simply changing its speed, you will see the length and hook change on the lanes.

Like any knowledge and skill, changing my ball speed required long training. I would like to tell you about the methods I was able to use to manipulate my ball speed. I hope they will help you improve your results on conditions that go beyond the scope of your normal game. Before this, however, let’s just review the importance of managing your ball speed.

Why you need multiple ball speeds

Hopefully, by this point, we all know the three basic phases of ball motion along the lane: skid, hook, and roll. Even with oil on the lanes, friction causes the ball to start decelerating from the moment it hits the lane, and it continues …

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