The next time you’re at practice when your ball comes back to you, take a minute and look it over.
What do you see?
Oil from the lane absorbed into your ball in a certain area.
Bowling ball track is the area on the ball that actually touches the lane. The rings that you see on your ball is your track, created by you and your bowling style.
Scott Pohl, owner of On Track Pro Shop, explains the most common bowling styles and how they can be identified by their bowling ball track.
Low Track (Spinner)
A bowler that has a low track typically comes over the top of the ball at the point of release. Typically a low track or spinner style bowler’s track is three or more inches away from the thumbhole.
This bowling style finds drier oil conditions better to score on because the ball slides farther down lane before hooking.
High Track (Up the Back)
This bowling style’s track is closer to the thumb and fingers and the ball roll is more end-over-end. The bowling ball picks up on the lane a lot earlier. High track players find heavier volumes of oil, especially in the front part of the lane, ideal.
3/4 Roller (Soft Hand)
One of the most common tracks in today’s game, this style of bowler is versatile and finds success on heavy oil and dryer lanes, with the right ball in their hands. The track’s position is close to the thumb hole, but farther away from the fingers.
3/4 Inverted Roller (Soft Hand)
This style of bowler is rare. Back in the day when the game was taught differently, bowlers used to “hit up” on the ball to increase ball reaction. Major changes in technology along with research have coaches shying away from teaching players to “hit up” on the ball.
Years ago before synthetic lanes and reactive bowling balls, bowlers needed to get the ball into a roll earlier to be successful because of the lane conditions and equipment. The full roller achieved this, and if you look around at your next league night, you’ll still see some out there.
Knowing the style of bowler you are identified by your track tells your ball driller what layout works best for you. Having the correct layout with the proper fit will make the game much easier and more enjoyable.
Watch more bowling equipment and lane play videos from the National Bowling Academy to better improve your game.