Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pin In, Pin Out

The pin distance on a ball is the separation between the heaviest point (Center of Gravity, mark by Manufacturer) and the top of the weightblock (the pin). If both are close, it is harder to manipulate more than the weightblock for down lane effect. Further apart, a pin out, affords a driller two points to manipulate to help fine tune ball reaction, occasionally using a weight hole.

Ball reaction can be manipulated if a player has the skills. Under 150 average, a performance ball will start to help with your effect to the pocket, but because of lesser skills occasionally will cause difficulty with spares. A 170+ average bowler has better skills, typically is becoming better at reading lanes and reading ball reaction, for both first ball and spares. A 190+ average bowler typically hits the pocket most of the time, often equipment helps make them more effective strike bowlers, but lack of practice or understanding of the need to have a plan for spares leads them to an erratic spare game. The solid 190+ bowler, with a good spare game often doesn't match up well, with the environment (lanes to slick for faster ball speed, lanes to dry for slower speed, or a rev rate that is to violent (splits) or not strong enough (weak hitting ball)). 200+ bowlers hits the pocket essentially ever shot, strikes a fair amount, has a solid spare game. For every 10 pins better than 200, is primarily the result of good to great matchups (speed, rev rate, lane condition and ball). One other possibility, any bowler can have any of the above averages and/or combinations of skill set and be terrible or just be flat out terrific (sometimes the bowling gods reward dumb luck).

Layout is important for any performance ball. The ball must react where you need it to and have energy left at the pins. When you are investing in multiple bowling balls, layout can differentiate and fine tune the differences. Too much concern with layout often causes subtle effects causing a ball to hook a little too early and hit a little weak, a little too late and not drive and carry well or some variation. Or, layout doesn't allow flexibility on a given lane condition. A ball may play to "touchy" where minor errors cause carry problems or worse (splits, bad counts).

Buy the ball to get the amount of hook you need, the pin placement is a MINOR factor in reaction. There are no magic bowling balls or magic layouts. Layout is a vehicle of speed, rev rate, axis tilt, axis rotation, surface preparation, lane condition and where does a particular ball reaction need to fall in your current arsenal. Ball choice should determine general look (ball path from foul line to pins). Layout encourages a ball that is created to bite early, to bite a little later, or vise versa. A 4 inch pin and a leverage pin (3 3/8- 3 3/4) roll similarly, but a bowlers speed or "black and white" lane condition or other factors might cause the leverage pin to be a bit to early. There are way to many factors to create a matrix of use this or don't use that, when this is present or the ball does that. That is why an educated ball driller is your best asset as a bowler.

"You can't out execute bad ball reaction."

All examples above assume decent fit, basic layouts and minimal to NO grip pressure.

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