Everyone is different
As you observe others, if there is
anything you learn, it will be that everyone is
different. We apply knowledge at a different
pace, mostly because of our personal preferences,
and we perform our approach in a unique way.
Learning and applying each lesson takes time and
effort. The more resistant someone we are to
changing our style, the longer we will be rewarded
with poor performance.
To ensure we start off with factual
information we can make appropriate choices in how
to bowl better, let's consider some basic facts.
Releasing the Ball
The last thing a bowler does is
release the ball. After releasing the ball,
the bowler waits at the foul line "Posts" to learn
how effective their approach and release of the ball
is. With this new information, a bowler can
determine how they will adjust their approach and
release in the next frame.
You can do everything perfectly
during your approach, but if your release does not
translate into an effective result, your efforts
turn into disaster.
If you are willing to
work toward improve your bowling skills, you need to
develop beyond the simple “point and throw” method
of releasing the ball.
The answer is to learn more about each component of
how you release the ball. We begin with the
Axis of Rotation and Axis Tilt of the ball.
These are important components of how the ball is
released, and how the ball reacts as it travels down
Identifying your ball's axis of rotation and tilt
when you release the ball, and learning how to
control them, will help in adjust your bowling
Axis of Rotation
tires on a railroad car or an automobile rotate around an
axle. The axle, then is the axis of rotation of the
Similarly, a bowling ball, as it rolls down the lane, rotates
about an axis. This then is the axis of rotation of your ball.
The Axis of Rotation of a bowling ball is the horizontal angle, or plane
that the bowling ball is rotating around. As the ball is released, it
rotates around this axis, and the axis is defined by points on the ball
called the Positive Axis Point (PAP) and Negative Axis Point (NAP).
The PAP faces toward the ball-side channel, and the NAP faces toward the
center of the lane.
the PAP faces directly toward the channel, the ball is
rotating around what is considered as zero degrees axis
the PAP directly faces the pins, it is considered 90 degrees
mid point between these two points is considered as 45 degrees axis
the Axis of Rotation?
Axis rotation is the difference between the
direction the ball is rotating and the direction
that it is moving down the lane. The axis of
rotation is determined by the horizontal angle of
your fingers (how far around the side of the ball
your fingers are) as you release the ball.
From your perspective, the axis of rotation at the
release allows you to control the amount of skid and
the strength of the back end reaction.
The higher the axis rotation is at the release
point, the longer the ball will skid down the lane
and the stronger the reaction will be on the back
Axis Rotation Characteristics
Axis Rotation and Ball Travel
Recalling the three phases of ball transitioning,
Skid, Hook and Roll, during the skid phase, the
ball's axis of rotation remains relatively constant.
If you were to place a piece of white tape on the
PAP, as the ball travels down the lane, the tape
would appear to remain stable.
As the ball enters the hook phase of its travel
down the lane, the direction the ball starts to
change as the ball to lane friction increases.
The tape would move to the left for a right-hander
and right for a left hander. In other words,
the axis of rotation migrates toward the Positive
Spin Axis (PSA), the axis around the heaviest part
of the ball.
The ball to lane friction causes the rotation of the
ball to start moving toward the pocket. Once
the axis migrates from the PAP to the PSA, the ball
enters the roll phase of the ball travel, and the
axis of rotation is zero degrees (0°). The
ball is traveling in the same direction it is
Using the Axis Rotation
Many bowlers release the ball with a very high axis rotation, near 90
degrees. While this release provides maximum back-end hook, it may not
be appropriate for all conditions. An aggressive release may cause the
bowler to overplay the lanes with a high axis rotation. This is
especially the case as the lanes dry over the course of the game. You
need to adjust adequately to be successful as the lanes transition or on
longer, heavier and flatter patterns if you are to advance your skills.
0 degrees - straight roll
A zero degree
(0°) axis rotation release is most appropriate for spare shooting.
This hand position allows a bowler to throw nearly straight on any lane
This hand position provides the straightest rolling
trajectory, and minimal hook. With a 0°release, the
fingers are placed at 6 o'clock at the release.
The hand is placed directly behind the ball.
This creates end-over-end roll. While ball
characteristics may cause the ball to hook, this
hand position at release minimizes ball hook.
To enhance the effect of this release, you should place your fingers
directly behind and under the ball with your index finger tight against your
middle finger and your pinky finger spread out to the side.
To enhance this release, break your wrist back and
downward slightly as well (Breaking the wrist is a
relaxed wrist position that allows you to release
the ball with minimal spin. Breaking the wrist is
also helpful when bowling on dry lanes or wherever
ball-spin would result in too much of a hook, and of
course, spare shooting). As you
throw the ball, make an effort to lead the pinky
toward the target. Breaking your wrist downward and
leading with your pinky assists in preventing the
rotation of your wrist and better ensures achieving
zero degrees (0°) of axis rotation.
45 degrees - medium
roll with a medium back end hook
a release in the 45-degree (45°) range, you will obtain an earlier roll with
a medium back end reaction. This release is appropriate as a medium length
oil pattern, and should be a good starting position.
enhance the affect of this release, your pinky finger should be placed next
to your ring finger, and your index finger spread out to the side.
Your wrist position should remain firm, and lead with your middle finger
pointed toward the target on release.
degrees - maximum
roll and back end hook
90-degree (90°) release, your fingers will point
toward the channel. The ball will turn early
with the maximum back end reaction. This ideal
for long length and heavy oil patterns.
To enhance the effect of this hand position,
place your pinky next to your ring
finger, and spread your index finger outward.
Be certain to maintain a straight, firm wrist, and
lead with your index finger pointed toward the