In order to be successful on any lane pattern, you need to know how to adjust your style of play to match up to the lane conditions.
If you are uncomfortable making ball changes, playing different zones, or adjusting hand position or ball speed, your game will remain limited to playing within your comfort zone.
Lane transition requires adjusting, and the more versatile you are, the higher your scores will be.
In part one of this three-part series, you’ll learn how bowling ball speed and hand positioning will aid in your ability to play any part of the lane.
Speed and Axis Rotation
Having a slow, normal, and faster ball speed will help you get lined up and stay in the pocket as the lanes transition.
To achieve slower ball speed, start from your normal ball speed starting positions, then move up 6–12 inches on the approach while holding the bowling ball higher in the stance.
Foot speed dictates ball speed. If you want to throw the bowling ball slower, your footwork tempo should be slower.
Doing the two adjustments listed above will slow your feet, resulting in slower ball speed. In this case, it creates more right-to-left hook down lane than Scott’s normal ball speed.
To achieve faster ball speed, start from your normal ball speed starting position, then move back 6–12 inches on the approach while holding the bowling ball lower in the stance.
Once again, foot speed dictates ball speed. If you want to throw the bowling ball faster, your footwork tempo needs to be faster.
Doing the two adjustments listed above will speed your feet up, resulting in faster ball speed. In this case, it creates less right-to-left hook down lane than Scott’s normal ball speed.
Altering Rev Rate
Rev rate is the calculation of the number of revolutions a bowler imparts on the ball or the speed at which the ball rotates.
Start with your normal bowling release position. If you cup the wrist slightly, this will help increase your rev rate.
The result of cupping your wrist slightly makes the bowling ball pick up on the lane faster (earlier) and change direction sharper down lane.
Next, bend your wrist back from your normal bowling release position.
By bending your wrist back throughout the approach and bowling release, your rev rate will decrease.
This will help when you want your ball to go straighter with less change of direction down lane, which is useful for drier lane conditions and/or short patterns.
Altering Axis Rotation
Axis rotation is how much end-over-end or side-roll the bowling ball has.
Start with your normal bowling release position and turn your hand outward, away from your body.
This creates more end-over-end rotation, allowing you to play the lanes straighter and with more control.
Finally, from your normal bowling release position, turn your hand inward towards your body.
By maintaining this hand position throughout your approach and release, your hand will rotate around the bowling ball closer to 90°, creating more change of direction or hook.
The goal is to stay ahead of the move or adjustment in an effort to avoid multi-pin spares and splits.
That is why it is important to note that the best bowlers adjust off of good shots. They don’t wait until it goes wrong to fix it.
Sometimes you can’t fight what the lane is giving you, and other times you can choose a better way to get to the pocket and stay there.
Whichever situation you are confronted with, these adjustments allow you to find which launch angle is best for the ball motion required to hit the breakpoint down lane. The roll phase will tell you if all of your previous efforts are working.