Rev or Speed Dominant?
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Hooking a bowling ball is not just cool, it also comes with advantages on the lanes. So it should come as no surprise that bowlers, even professional bowlers, are always looking for more. For a committed bowler there are many ways to create more hook. Some of these hook-increasing measures are simple, while others take practice and experience.
Today we will break down a few proven methods for increasing ball hook.
The first step to creating more hook is understanding how it works on the lane. First, you need to understand lane play and oil patterns. Simply put, on a normal house shot the most oil is in the middle of the lane, so that’s where the least amount of hook is. The oil tapers and becomes less concentrated as you move out toward the gutter. Additionally, the lane surface contributes to the hook of a bowling ball. High friction surfaces, like old synthetic lanes or wood lanes, will yield more hook potential.
Next, you need to know your own game and how that interacts with the environment. Rev dominant bowlers will have the most hook potential. Speed dominant bowlers will have the least.
Finally, you have to use what you know about yourself and the environment to explain what you’re seeing on the lanes. If you’re speed dominant and bowling on a low friction lane bed and a high oil volume pattern, chances are you aren’t going to see a lot of hook.
If you use too strong of a ball for the lane conditions, you could actually see less hook than if you used a weaker ball. This is because the strong ball burns it's energy too early due to the conditions. It has no energy left by the time it gets to the pins. A weaker ball built for light oil or medium oil conditions would be more appropriate for the conditions as it would allow it to store it's energy more efficiently.
This is why we see EJ Tackett use the Venom line so much to create massive hook. Due to his rev rate, a Venom Shock will hook more than higher performance balls built for heavy oil once the lanes break down.
Your hand and arm swing are what steer and power the ball. So, what that hand is doing and how it’s engaged with the ball is critical to creating hook.
Creating leverage is how you increase your rev rate. A higher rev rate will increase hook.
A quick way to create more leverage is using a fingertip grip rather than a conventional. Next, if you’re a one handed bowler, you want your thumb out of that ball without drag at the bottom of your swing. This provides enough time for your fingers to really turn the ball. Separating the time when your thumb leaves the ball and when your fingers leave the ball at the point of leverage will create more revs.
The direction your ball is spinning informs how much it can hook. When you deliver the ball, if your fingers go straight from the bottom of the ball to the ceiling, you will create little to no axis rotation. This ball will be very stable and controllable, but will have less total hook potential.
On the other hand, if you rotate your fingers at the moment of impact, you will create a side-roll to the ball. This phenomenon is “axis rotation.” You can see a great slow-motion video of MOTIV Pro Andrew Anderson's release by clicking here.
Increasing axis rotation increases hook potential. This is one of the most difficult skills to develop for a bowler, but also something that can set you apart when it is mastered.
If you throw your ball slower it will hook more than if you throw it faster. However, bowling is a sport that relies on the bowler to repeat their shots to score well. Speed control is a skill that takes commitment to develop. If you’ve never worked on speed control, that is a skill that will allow you to manipulate how much your ball hooks.
The simplest solution is not always wrong. Buying a new bowling ball often makes a huge difference. Bowling as a sport is always evolving and changing. Over the course of time oil volumes and thickness used in competition changes. As a result of these environmental changes; balls that were once optimal for the conditions, may no longer be. A heavy oil bowling ball from years ago may be closer to a medium oil bowling ball from today.
You may also need a new ball due to typical wear and tear. Modern resin balls absorb oil. Cleaning, resurfacing, and maintaining your ball will add life, but all resin balls will eventually need replacing.
It’s important to note that every bowling ball we make at MOTIV® is designed to be the best ball for a specific situation. Visit our Ball Guide to find the best ball suited for your game and environment.
Adjusting the surface finish of a bowling ball is a skill that often gets overlooked by bowlers. Polishing or sanding a ball can massively impact the hook potential of a bowling ball. As balls get duller, they begin to make a smoother motion and hook earlier on the lane. Conversely, as we shine bowling balls they retain their energy longer, creating a more angular motion down lane. Learning to manipulate and control your ball’s hook with surface adjustments is a great way to make your favorite ball useful in more situations.
The same bowling ball can be drilled in multiple ways to make the ball hook more in the front of the lane or further down lane. Drilling layout can make a ball more angular or smoother. The layout can also change the total hook by a few boards. Your local pro shop operator is your best resource to lay out a ball to receive your desired results.