Rev or Speed Dominant?
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There are so many factors that influence bowling ball motion. Among these are a bowler’s speed to rev rate ratio. The speed to rev rate ratio is helpful for understanding how much hook potential a bowler may have. This is critical to understand when deciding what types of bowling balls to use.
Obviously, speed and rev rate are not the only factors, as the bowler’s tilt, rotation, and many environmental factors also inform hook potential. Yet, understanding your speed to rev rate ratio is helpful in selecting what ball to use and when.
Before delving into what speed dominant, rev dominant, or balanced means; we need to establish some basic parameters for ball speed and rpm’s. The average rpm’s for a bowler is around 325. So, anything between roughly 300 and 350 rpm’s is considered average. Likewise, the average ball speed for bowlers is around 17-18 mph. Deviations from these average ranges will inform whether a bowler is rev dominant, speed dominant, or balanced. A generally accepted rule is that as ball speed drops, to maintain a balanced speed to rev rate ratio, the rpm must also drop by roughly 50.
A common misconception is that having a high rev rate means that someone is rev dominant. That can be true, but if the bowler throws a ball 21 miles per hour and has a 500 rpm rev rate, they are actually a balanced bowler. Likewise, a bowler who throws the ball 14 miles per hour with 275 rpm would be rev dominant.
Speed Dominant Bowler
A speed dominant bowler is someone whose ball speed overwhelms their rpm, creating less hook potential on the lane. If 17 miles per hour and 300-350 rpm’s is considered balanced, then a bowler with more ball speed than 17 mph and a rev rate below 300 would be considered speed dominant. Again, as speed increases, rpm needs to increase by 50 to avoid becoming speed dominant.
Generally, speed dominant bowlers will gravitate toward balls that offer traction and have more hook potential, such as a Pride Dynasty. Speed dominant bowlers need help to slow down their bowling ball. Large cores, asymmetry, and strong coverstocks are outstanding tools for getting a ball to slow down on the lane. Speed dominant bowlers tend to use stronger bowling balls than the balanced and rev dominant bowlers on their pair.
A balanced bowler is one whose speed and rev rate match. If they have ball speed 2 mph above average, their rev rate will be 100 rpm above average. If the bowler has ball speed 3 mph below average, their rev rate will be 150 rpm below average.
Balanced bowlers are able to use balls “as advertised.” The Motiv Ball Guide on motivbowling.com is keyed specifically to balanced bowlers. A truly balanced bowler will likely be able to use a ball in it’s “intended environment” without needing to try any trick layouts or surface changes. Balanced bowlers will find tremendous use out of benchmark staples such as the Venom Shock or Primal Shock.
Rev Dominant Bowlers
A rev dominant bowler is one whose rpm overwhelms their ball speed. The PBA is populated by bowlers who are slightly to moderately rev dominant. Significant rev dominance can be a problem, but moderate rev dominance is what you see in players like AJ Johnson and EJ Tackett.
Rev dominant bowlers often need help with energy retention in bowling balls. Being rev dominant means you likely favor balls that can get down lane and can still offer shape through the pins. Rev dominant players can create early hook and may see stronger coverstocks or cores getting more end over end. This creates deflection. So, rev dominant bowlers will tend to use balls marketed as cleaner and more angular as they offer a controllable and continuous motion for them. Balls such as the Nuclear Forge and Supra Rally will see tremendous use from rev dominant bowlers.