What is a Benchmark Ball?

ANY SEASONED PLAYER...

Will define a benchmark ball as the first ball out of their bag. It gives them the best mental picture of what’s happening on the lane – especially when the pattern and topography of the conditions are unknown. It gives them a smooth, predictable motion that’s controllable, repeatable, and consistent no matter where they may be bowling. The vast majority of other sports display their obstacles. In tennis, the net is clearly presented directly in front of you. In golf, you can see the tree you need to miss, or the sand bunker you have to avoid. In football, you can watch the linebacker on a beeline right for you as you’re carrying the ball.

But in the world of sport bowling, the obstacles we have to face are invisible.

The most famous bowlers throughout history have all been deadly accurate, but the best players that have ever lived are the ones who were able to figure out the conditions first. Rest assured, they all had their own benchmark ball.

Having been on both sides of the fence - from competing every weekend to now building bowling balls - I believe that a benchmark ball is more than just a predictable shape. It’s a ball whose motion is unlike others. It’s unique, and difficult to replicate. It produces a reaction that you can’t find anywhere else.

To create this kind of ball, we have to step back and look at the product line as a whole. When we do this at Storm, we take every core, every coverstock, and every surface preparation into account. If the ball hits on every note, it can stick around for quite some time:

Hy-Road™ – November 18, 2008

!Q™ Tour – July 10, 2012

Hy-Road™ Pearl – July 16, 2013

Pitch Black™ – May 27, 2014

Phaze™ II – October 4, 2016

Between these five balls, there’s 32 years’ worth of shelf life, and that’s not without merit. Every one of these core/cover combinations resonates with the majority of players at some level. High speed/high revs, low speed/low revs – there’s something for everybody. Not only that, they are incredibly easy to drill. What does that even mean, though? If you put your favorite layout on an !Q Tour, you basically know what you are going to get. Furthermore, if you wanted to drill a second !Q Tour but decided to bring the pin 2” closer to your PAP or maybe even drop the pin to below your fingers from your previous pin up version, you still know what you’re going to get. And adjusting between the two couldn’t be easier. The weight block is simplistic in its design, yet dynamic by nature. When you introduce a hole to it, you aren't greatly affecting its mass distribution. Consistency in drilling and performance, I've come to find out, go hand in hand.

Each one of the above benchmark balls contributes something unique to the Storm line that are often imitated, but never duplicated. And as always, before any ball earns the right to be inscribed with the Storm insignia, it has to pass through a rigid on-lane performance test. This has been the case since the first Storm ball was poured nearly three decades ago. The process has been refined since, of course, to a level of commitment that’s worthy of your passion and devotion. It’s a lengthy process that involves an experienced group of people and first-rate technology but most importantly, it begins and ends with the bowler.


2019 USBC Open Championships - Strategy and Equipment

The 2019 USBC Open Championships are in full swing! Every year presents a new challenge and our team at Storm want to provide bowlers with as much information as possible to tackle the gritty and sometimes perplexing lane conditions that the Open Championships offers to its competitors. I’d like to take a quick second to clarify all of my remarks are strictly my opinions based on my observations while onsite at the tournament. I have no insider information or access to anything that is not public.

With that said, let us dive into what I believe are the keys to success at this year’s tournament.

TEAM EVENT:

The team event hosted on the surface of the South Point Bowling Plaza seems similar to the short pattern that we have experienced the last two years. The pattern visually offers no hold with extremely dry back-ends. As with previous years, consorted shot making does stretch the pattern and make it more playable, if, done correctly. I watched many teams employ different strategies all with varying levels of success. Here is my belief on how to best play them based on my observations.

During practice, the right handers should use sanded resin and play up 2-3-4 ensuring angles are extremely straight through the fronts. I would employ this strategy on the left but have the left handers go up 8-9-10, keeping angles very straight through the fronts. Once practice ends, bowlers can expect to be around 12-15 at the arrows throwing to 5-7 down lane, this would be in play for most of game 1. Depending on how quick transition occurs, I can foresee players getting into 16-19 at the arrows, getting the ball no further right of 10 down lane at the range finders. On the left, I feel that bowlers should be between 14-17 at the arrows after practice, getting the ball no further left of 10 down lane at the range finders. When it comes to moving in on both sides, I would exercise caution in not allowing your angles to get too far open, I believe balling down into weaker covers and/or less core is the way to go as the event progresses. Once again, I will clarify all the above remarks that they are only a guide based on my observations, pair to pair topography may dictate changes to this strategy.

Equipment for Team Event:

In my mind, there are really two ways to go. The first being to use a very big/strong ball (Crux Prime, Halo) with a 2-inch pin and a smooth surface (2000/3000). Deploying this tactic will slow the response of the ball at the end of the oil pattern. There appears visually to be very little taper at the end of the pattern with it being back loaded with large volumes of oil, bowlers need to ensure that their equipment makes a very slow and smooth transition to elongate their break point window making their reaction less susceptible to this oil down lane and lack of taper in the pattern. A ball like this in my eyes depending on traffic, rev rate and topography would be suitable for most of game 1. Bowlers could then begin to shell and core down as the lanes transitioned while trying to stay in the same relative zone of the lane.

The other strategy would be to deploy a medium rg with low differential ball (Hustle Ink, Hustle HYB, !Q Tour Solid or an Idol) and use a longer pin (5.5 inches-6 inches) with a smooth cover (2000). A good tip is to place the CG at 90 degrees from the pin. This will give the bowler length while not sacrificing losing the lane and/or make it tougher to blow through the break point while providing a very smooth and controllable back end reaction. A bowler could definitely elect to use a 2-inch pin on one of these types of balls as well. I feel the transitional moves are for the most part in balling down and not making large moves in on the lane.

Once again, these are simply my observations, I have certainly been incorrect in the past, but have also been very right many times. I’d add one final clarification about equipment, depending on the bowler, many of balls in the Storm and Roto Grip lineup could be a better fit than the previously mentioned, this is just simply a guide.

See your local Storm VIP Pro Shop or talk with our professionals at the Storm booth onsite at the tournament to get the equipment that will best fit your game, as no bowler is exactly alike.

MINORS (Doubles/Singles)

I really feel surface can hurt you here. I know it may seem counter-intuitive to many bowlers, but I really believe that bowlers need to use smooth surfaces and avoid burning up the fronts in minors. Due to the ball motion I witnessed, I would imagine that the pattern is back loaded with little taper front to back (seems to be a recurring theme). Blowing a hole in the fronts really accentuates the large amount of oil that appears to be down lane and can trap everyone on the pair. In minors, depending on topography, I feel you need to start between 13-16, getting the ball no further right than 10 down lane at the range finders. The left I feel can follow suit here. Once again angles through the front are very important, they need to be slightly open, so as the set progresses, be mindful of making too big of moves towards the middle of the lane and use your arsenal to ball down and stay within the same zone. Depending on the topography of the pair, bowlers may be able to start further outside of the above-mentioned area. Once again, let your eyes be your ultimate guide. This is in no way set in stone.

 EQUIPMENT FOR MINORS:
I’m of the opinion that hybrids and pearls are the way to go here, but I think that bigger cores are needed to help with the length and volume of the pattern. The big key is to use slower ball speed, rotation, axis tilt and softer hands to get the ball to read the right way and continue through the pins properly. I really cannot stress that enough, due to the construction of the pattern, you need a good amount of axis tilt to help keep the ball on line, axis tilt will allow you to play straighter angles which I feel are imperative to being successful. Balls that I feel are great candidates for minors: (in no particular order but in the current Storm and Roto Grip arsenal): Halo Pearl, Hyper Cell Fused, Hy-Road, Idol Pearl, Phase 2, !Q Tour Solid, Intense Fire. Bowlers will need a ball, possibly two at the most (in most cases) to ball down to. It is important to make sure they have smooth covers (2000, 3000, 4000 or 2000 with a small amount of polish). I’d recommend bowlers use pin placements that will offer them length without creating a violent reaction down lane, due to the limited amount of boards that will need to be covered.

Again, if you have questions about your arsenal visit your nearest Storm VIP Pro Shop or talk to the professionals at the Storm Booth to help determine what will work best for your game!

PHYSICAL CUES TO FOCUS ON:

  • Slower ball speed
  • Increased axis tilt
  • Increased rotation
  • Soft and smooth hand at release point

MENTAL CUES TO FOCUS ON:

  • Be prepared to be challenged and make excellent shots
  • Take one shot at a time and focus on your process, not your outcome
  • Enjoy the trip with your teammates and have fun while competing with your friends
  • Be optimistic, open minded, and let your eyes be your guide


To conclude, I want to thank Storm for allowing me to represent them on and off the lanes and give me the opportunity to help our bowlers succeed. If you need help locating a pro shop, try our Pro Shop Locator. If you want a few more tips, check out the video our Tech Team provided for the event HERE.

And always remember to BOWL UP A STORM!


Code X versus Alpha Crux - Internal Review

The Code X offers performance engineering tuned for enhanced response

 

In the competitive bowling ball market, any ball that doesn’t do better than “good enough” simply can’t compete. Thankfully, this isn’t an issue for the Code X. Although its styling is a bit conservative for this line, the Code X is classically handsome and appeals with strong performance. The colors aren’t the most polarizing, which makes the ball hug the lane for a truer read, but that’s a personal opinion not shared by everyone. If you like your styling more subtle than stand-out with a side of performance that leaves you saying “Wow, I didn’t know a ball could do that…” then the Code X may be in your not-too-distant future.

The big news here is that R2S Solid has come into play for the first time in a long time in a Premier line ball. Not all conditions require wide-footprint coverstocks with high oil displacement ratings. R2S has been a flagship formula for Storm and is synonymous with some of the most successful balls in recent history like the Hy-Road and !Q Tour. Of all the coverstocks Storm has used, R2S responds to dry lane friction better than anything else. When this benchmark type chassis coats a weight block that’s as dynamic as the RAD4, I’d be hard-pressed to find something that offers this much versatility.

Even though it’s a solid ball, for me, it resembles a matte finish pearl the way it turns the corner. The Code X made easy work of the 47’ mid-volume pattern we currently use in our Monday night Storm Scratch league, which is something I’ll admit to having my fair share of struggles on this year. Because this particular house uses super high-friction synthetics, any ball with too much friction built in, chemically or mechanically, would read as soon as I set it down with nothing left down lane. The Code X doesn’t utilize R3S or Nano technology like its Premier line counterparts, so it skated through the high-friction fronts with ease but retained the mid-lane read and backend change of direction I’ve come to love from my top-drawer asymmetrics.

BOWLER STATS:

Launch Speed: 18mph

RPM: 490

Tilt:

Rotation: 45°

PAP: 5” straight over

Layout Used for Test: 6 x 4 x 3 (55° x 6 x 40°)

Surface Used on Both Balls: 3000-grit Abralon

Oil Pattern: Beaten Path, 41’, 1:4.04, 24.25 mL

The layout chosen for these two balls was 6x4x3. As always, Storm’s VLS system is an original conception and is the only layout system in the industry that takes the shape of the weight block into account.

THE TEST:

For this study, I decided to use Kegel's 4:1 Beaten Path. I knew this pattern would showcase the differences between these two balls exceptionally well. I tossed 20 shots on SPECTO with each ball, averaged the results, and created composite motion paths for each along with a comparison chart utilizing the hard data SPECTO provided. Both balls were resurfaced prior to the test using a Surface Factory machine with new Abralon pads for each to achieve the most consistent finish possible.

 

THE RESULTS:

If you currently roll the Sure Lock or Alpha Crux, but are hesitant make the commitment on another solid Premier line ball, then rest easy. R2S breathes new vigor into the line which helps differentiate it plenty from its Nano-based cousins. I found this the case both objectively and subjectively. Let’s refer to the former, presented below. The numbers don’t lie. With almost 1.5° more entry angle at impact, the Code X handles the corner like that of a racing-tuned suspension on a car that’s designed to dig in to the curves of a snaky, winding road. That may not sound like a lot, but spread that measurement over the last 15 feet of the lane and that can mean the difference between washing out and a high flush strike.

Telling the story further, this isn’t a case where the numbers deceive. Subjectively, too, I found the Code X carried considerably better from the deep, inside line compared to the Alpha Crux. The engine that is the RAD4 worked just as flawlessly as the cover. With the layout I chose, it transitions smoothly and quickly. On the comfort side of the equation, I was more than confident from far inside with regards to kicking out the corners than I’ve been as of late with balls of the like. The Alpha Crux lost its axis rotation so quickly, it reminded me just why that ball truly is designed for the heaviest of heavy conditions.

CONCLUSION:

If my !Q Tour and Code Black were to fall in love and start a family, their progeny would undoubtedly be the Code X. It’s an excellent blend of power, dynamics, and everyday versatility. It is the bowling ball equivalent of having your cake and eating it, too. Backend responsiveness is immediate and gratifying, without sacrificing what a solid ball is supposed to do up front. I do appreciate the Code X’s quieter exterior as it pirouettes its way down the lane with empyreal grace, yet remains tasteful for what it is. The Code lineage has discernibly paved the way for the Code X, and it’s the Code X that’s going to carry on this sterling reputation for quite some time.

 

Highlights from the test:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=075-SkU9hBA

 

 Storm has a full-time tech representative ready to answer any questions you have about the Code X or any other Storm product. Please call (800) 369-4402 (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm MST) or send an email to tech@stormbowling.com (anytime).


Selecting an Arsenal for the USBC Open Championships

If you are heading to Syracuse for the OC’s this year, then you’ve probably already started thinking about what equipment you are toting along. And since ball slots are limited and checked bag fees are high, the gravity in your selection process becomes pretty critical. As with any arsenal, variety is key. Sounds easy, right? Obviously, there’s a lot that goes into it that can become a daunting task for even the most seasoned professional. The boundless options that are available on the market should be used to your advantage, but it all starts with the bowler. Knowing the subtle distinctions in how you roll the ball, such as axis tilt, axis rotation, speed, and rev rate, are most crucial.

Once you’ve determined your stats, next comes the ball selection process. As always, variety is key.

The Open Championships have now abstained from announcing the oil pattern prior to the tournament commencing – which is perfectly fine. You can bet on it not being a cakewalk. Balls that exude control and forgiveness are going to be your best friends with any trip to the OC’s. What kind of balls do this? Well, your favorite benchmark should be the first thing that comes to mind. A low RG, solid, matte finish ball that is smooth and brings the breakpoint closer to the foul line would definitely provide this for the bowler. The !Q Tour is the second longest running ball in Storm’s history for this very reason.

After that, building an arsenal is pretty straightforward. Having a good mix of solids, pearls, hybrids with a combination of surfaces and layouts is important. Typically, you won’t see too many polished balls going down the lanes at the Open Championships. The reason for this all boils down to controlling the breakpoint. Sanded balls maximize your room for error by picking up on the midlane better than polished balls and bringing the breakpoint - the most critical part of the lane - closer to you. It’s not a mystery anymore that surface is the #1 most influential factor that dictates ball motion. The bowlers that perform the best every year will almost always bring a wide array of 500-grit to 4000-grit sanded balls. I’m not saying omit polish completely, so reserve one to two spots in your bag for when they get “toasty” later in the day.

Layouts are the last big thing to discuss. Working with your Storm VIP pro shop professional to establish which layouts are best for your style and the arsenal you’ve chosen is imperative. Some of the most accomplished bowlers will use around three of their favorite layouts and let the inherent properties of the balls be the major difference in what they see. Pete Weber, for example, has only used two layouts for years: one pin up above the bridge and one pin down below the bridge. There are enough factors in bowling that are above and beyond anyone’s control, and, no matter how hard you try, you cannot change them. So keeping the variables in check that you can control, like Pete, isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Below is a sample 6-ball arsenal that would cover all of your bases at the Open Championships this year.


Drive versus Timeless - Internal Review

Zach Trevino loves his Drive, and here's why...

When the Timeless was first introduced, Zach struggled to keep it reading the correct part of the lane before it was too late at the end of the pattern. This is not the ball’s fault, however. His higher ball speed combined with his higher degree of tilt all but promotes skid throughout the lane. Mix in a high RG, polished shell with our cleanest cover (R2S) to date and the struggle becomes very real for a player with his specs. To combat this, Zach took the surface down to match his Drive at 3000-grit Abralon – something he encourages most people who call into Storm to do when experiencing similar difficulties. “I will be the first one to admit that Timeless just wasn’t the ball for me” said Zach. “I drilled one pin up strong and one pin down smoother and it was the latter that only found its way into my bag for one specific scenario - the mega burn.” He added “Using a slower buffer, my pin down Timeless was very useful for when the pattern really got trashed and I had to keep my angles tighter from inside. I don’t have the loft game and often get cornered late in blocks because I have to throw weaker equipment with tighter angles. The Timeless allowed me to bump the dry and it wouldn’t over react when it saw friction. Nonetheless, it was very conditional and didn’t get much use.”

Zach wasn’t the only one who felt “trapped” with the Timeless. Taking this into consideration, we went through many iterations of the intended design with the Drive while ultimately settling on an R2S/Nano blend that we cleverly titled: R2S Nano.

Zach sometimes struggles with stronger covers like this stating they “normally aren’t good for me as it usually results in the ball being too cover driven and just lazy.” However, he later affirmed that his “initial impressions weren’t anything as what I had expected. In this case, that was a good thing! It was as if the ball had so much more shape and read in the mid’s (which Timeless was severely lacking) and just never quit.”

BOWLER STATS

Launch Speed: 17mph

RPM:400

Tilt: 15°

Rotation: 60°

PAP: 4 5/8” over, 1/2" up

Layout Used for Test: 4 3/8 x 5 1/8 x 2 3/4   (65° x 4 3/8 x 45°)

Surface Used for Each Ball: 3000-grit Abralon

Oil Pattern Used for Test: Beaten Path, 41’, 1:4.04, 24.25 mL

RESULTS:

Zach rolled each ball 20 times on Kegel's Beaten Path. We took SPECTO readings at the beginning, middle, and end to compare the results for each ball.

Following his preemptive impressions, Zach started an arrow deeper due to the significantly stronger cover and surface prep. There was never any question the ball would miss the spot from too much length.

After about 10 shots with each ball, Zach felt he should have moved more at this point. Every shot with the Drive was high flush, but a little too high sometimes tripping out the 4-9 several times. The Timeless was the ball Zach felt comfortable with at this point because it was not seeing the friction as severely as the Drive.

SPECTO does a fantastic job of showing the difference in shape with both balls. The breakpoint distances are pretty tightly grouped even though the Drive is over an arrow deeper towards the end of this test. The Timeless needed a straighter trajectory with less launch angle to find the pocket. Overall, Zach preferred the shape and location he had to play with the Drive being inside the track of the Timeless with fresh oil instead of out in the dirt.

Zach has already dedicated a slot in his Open Championships bag for the Drive saying “It is a true improvement as opposed to just being a follow-up with another Belmo logo on it. It’s a unique piece that is going to end up in my tournament bag headed to the OC's this year. It provides that stability and continuous motion needed to control tougher conditions and create area when there isn’t much room for error.”

 

With the same layout and the same surface for 20 shots the Drive, on average, when compared to the Timeless produced:

+6.43 boards deeper set-down

+0.64° launch angle

-1.16° entry angle to pocket

+2 feet of backend

 

Highlights from the test:

https://youtu.be/MEIkyCeRpsQ

 

 Storm has a full-time tech representative ready to answer any questions you have about the Drive or any other Storm product. Please call (800) 369-4402 (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm MST) or send an email to tech@stormbowling.com (anytime).

 


Son!Q versus Marvel Pearl - Internal Review

The Centripetal HD Core delivers instant revs and puts the entire category on notice.

 

Since its inception, the evolution of the design can be traced across the Centripetal Low Flare Core, C3 Centripetal Control Core, and now the Centripetal HD Core. At first glance the Centripetal HD Core may look familiar, but deep down is where the magic truly happens. It is the densest core of any symmetrical Storm ball to date producing an RG value of 2.47. Historically, these renditions of the Centripetal shape have all exhibited a lower RG value with varying degrees of differential achieved by the manipulation of the densities in the core material itself. The Centripetal HD (high density) is the heaviest to date which makes the Son!Q much more center-heavy.  The Marvel Pearl retains the primary shape, but is constructed with a material of lower specific gravity.  What does this mean to you? Let’s explore…

We know that controlling the midlane is what the pros are renowned for. They are able to see ball motion in a way that lets them make the best decision in order to get their ball into a roll before the end of the pattern. Whether they do that with surface, speed, axis tilt, or core technology is dependent on the situation at hand, but believe me when I say having a ball in your hand that is trying to roll as soon as it hits the lanes certainly doesn’t hurt. Chris Barnes, who’s arguably the best technician on tour, told me years ago that he only uses low RG balls for this very reason.

A ball that is rolling into the pins carries considerably better than a ball that is hooking into the pins. When a ball makes impact and doesn’t have a direction of motion that is in-line with the centers of gravity of the pins, some of the energy that would have been available for the post-collision pin velocity will be lost to rotation and friction. Because the Centripetal HD Core’s center of gravity is extremely low, it consistently impacts the pins at the perfect spot every time maximizing carry.

Delving a little deeper into the physics behind it, angular momentum is much harder for an external force to change its direction as opposed to linear momentum. Angular momentum is essentially the rotational equivalent of linear momentum and remains constant unless acted upon by an external torque that’s proportional to the initial moment of inertia (the bowler’s release). The faster the angular momentum created, the more torque is required to cause a change in angular acceleration. Simply stated, we apply rotational energy to create angular momentum around the weight block of a bowling ball, AKA torque. This energy we impart on the ball stays the same until something else tries to stop it, like the friction on a lane or 40lbs worth of bowling pins. Cores like the Centripetal HD in the Son!Q that have lower RG values have a higher potential to conserve its angular momentum throughout the lane and into the pins. This results in less deflection, better carry, and higher scores.

Getting into something that’s a tad more observable to the naked eye, the entry angle into the pocket that the Son!Q creates really wasn’t that steep. Especially when compared to something like a Hy-Road Pearl that’s at the other end of the spectrum when discussing RG values. Balls like the Hy-Road Pearl, at least for me and the way I roll it, really magnify both wet and dry circumstances which is probably why they only time I use the ball is when there is at least 2000-4000 surface on it. With the Son!Q, I noticed less wrapped 10-pin leaves, fewer stone-9’s, and much lower flight paths of the pins when the ball makes contact – which was optimal for carry in my many off-pocket hits because the pins are colliding with each other instead of flying above one another. On the rare occasion I left a stone-9, there was always a messenger there to greet it.

BOWLER STATS

Launch Speed: 18mph

RPM: 490

Tilt:

Rotation: 45°

PAP: 5” straight over

Layout Used for Test: 5 x 6 x 4  (80° x 5 x 60°)

Surface Used for Each Ball: 1500-grit Polished

Oil Pattern Used for Test: Beaten Path, 41’, 4.04:1, 24.25 mL

 

RESULTS:

For this test, I tossed 30 shots with each ball on a fresh Beaten Path pattern and took excerpts from each transition you can see below in the SPECTO results. Even just a 0.010 difference in the low RG versus the Marvel Pearl was enough to make the Son!Q breakpoint distance a couple feet sooner during my initial warm-up when getting lined up. But for this test, I wanted to show the best line to the pocket for both balls on the Beaten Path pattern by Kegel. Early on (fig.1), the Son!Q’s lay-down had to be about 3 boards inside of the Marvel Pearl. From slightly inside, the breakpoint distance was 1-2 feet later for the Son!Q, but it was also crossing more boards overall given the same speed and hand position I was using.

As the lane started to transition (after about 12 shots) I moved the standard 2:1 and found no shortage of movement or carry with either ball. The Son!Q laydown remained just inside of the Marvel Pearl with the breakpoints inching closer to one another downlane (fig. 2). The R2S cover on the Son!Q was able to generate slightly more entry angle into the pocket due to its cleaner nature when compared to the R2X featured on the Marvel Pearl.

After another 12 shots or so I moved another 2 left but kept my eyes the same. At this point, the breakpoint distance for both balls were well-nigh similar and the breakpoint boards were pretty close as well (fig. 3).

The differences in the two balls, for me, shined through on the fresh. When the lane started to really break down, the spread between the two got closer with the additional friction that was happening in the fronts. If you already have a Marvel Pearl but are considering picking up a Son!Q, I would recommend another one of your favorite layouts or a simple surface change just to give yourself a little more diversity in your bag - unless a 3-5 board shift inside and a slightly more angular downlane transition is what you are looking for given equal layouts/surfaces. To date, the original Marvel Pearl @ 3000-grit Abralon was my favorite “on the fresh” ball. Now that the Son!Q has made its way into my hands, I will keep it at the original 1500-grit polished surface and use it to fill that transition gap I’ve been combating for such a long time and reintroduce my Marvel Pearl back to 3000-grit.

 

With the same layout and the same surface for 30 shots the Son!Q, on average, when compared to the Marvel Pearl produced:

+2.48 boards deeper set-down

+0.030° entry angle to pocket

+1.16 feet of backend

 

Highlights from the test:

https://youtu.be/vQwK36Yt7GU

 

Storm has a full-time tech representative ready to answer any questions you have about the Son!Q or any other Storm product. Please call (800) 369-4402 (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm MST) or send an email to tech@stormbowling.com (anytime).

 


The Storm Corner

If you watch the best in the world bowl on ESPN, you will see the best in our sport cover more boards on a lane, with more speed, than you and me. And you’ll often hear it said that the top professionals have a phenomenal ball roll. What does that mean? Don’t all of us who participate in the sport of bowling roll the ball, in some fashion? The answer is ‘yes’ but while we all roll the ball when we bowl, we all apply a different type of action to the ball. Some have more side roll and rotate more quickly. Others look like a top when they go down the lane, not the best professionals in the U.S., mind you. And we can talk about the ‘spinner style,’ which dominated the recent World Championships in Las Vegas, at a later date.

So, when we mention the term ‘ball roll’ we are referring to these three elements of how the ball rotates as it travels down the lane:

  1. Rev rate
  2. Axis rotation
  3. Axis tilt

Do you consider two-handed sensations like Jason Belmonte, Osku Palermaa and Kyle Troup to be “crankers?” If so, it is because of their high rev rate. Defined as how fast the ball rotates over a specific length of time, usually minutes, rev rate relates to the amount of energy transferred from your release to the bowling ball. Players who generate the most powerful strike balls do so with a strong, leveraged position, their fingers well below the equator of the ball. And they do so not only with a cupped wrist, and possibly bent elbow, but also through proper use of the strongest muscle group in their body, their legs! Try lifting a heavy suitcase with just your arms, and you’ll quickly realize how often you use your legs without even thinking about it.

To find your rev rate, you will need to use your camera on your phone or an appropriate app.  Watch the number of times your ball turns over in one second and multiply by that number by 60, as there are 60 seconds in a minute. Watch this great video below, too, for a better explanation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yccbhBI-Yy0&feature=youtu.be

A cranker will have a rev rate of at least 400 rpms, or revolutions per minute. Tweeners have less hand action than the cranker, and will have between 200 and 400 rpms. The straightest players, the strokers, have less than 200 rpms. Which category do you fall in? Find out and you will be one step closer to fully understanding your game!

The second part of the ball roll formula is your axis rotation. This refers to the direction of your ball roll. A ball that rolls completely end-over-end is said the have 0 degrees axis rotation. Great for predictability, this heavy forward roll will give you great control on the backends, but generates little entry angle and often lacks carry power. Here is how to find your axis rotation at home:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-btz1SpFtw

A player like Pete Weber has nearly the exact opposite. The 90 degree axis rotation generates maximum hook on the backend and yields unmatched power at the pins. This is most often referred to as the high risk-high reward type of roll. A majority of players, however, fall somewhere between these two extremes. A moderate amount of side roll is considered the optimum amount. Exhibited by nearly ¾ of the entire PBA tour, the 45 degree rotation will surely give you a nice combination of power and predictability.

The final ingredient of the recipe is axis tilt. To best describe axis tilt, imagine a top spinning on your desk or table. This type of roll, when equated to a bowling ball, would considered 90 degrees of tilt and would be seen only if the ball track were to be condensed to one very small point. On the converse, consider a ball track that covers the full circumference of the ball, all 27 inches of it, and you would have 0 degrees of tilt. Again, these are the extremes and nearly everyone falls in a comfortable range somewhere in-between! This is how to find your axis tilt:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkRscXz5JTU

In closing, be sure to know your ball roll. Remember the three variables: rev rate, axis rotation, and axis tilt. The better you understand your game the easier it will be for you to select the proper ball and layout for each lane condition! And to learn more about Storm’s line of high performance equipment, spend some time on our website, www.stormbowling.com, or feel free to contact me via e-mail at stevek@stormbowling.com.


Match Game

Hello Storm Nation!

Success on the lanes often comes when one matches up their equipment to any given oil pattern. This article should be a great tool to help organize your thoughts regarding ball and layout selection. Having coached players for more than two decades, I have had the opportunity to have direct dialog from bowlers of all skill levels. I believe the most common question I hear begins with “What should I throw on….” To answer this properly, you must take them through a series of questions:

  1. What is your velocity, rev rate, axis tilt, and axis rotation?
  2. What is the volume and length of this oil pattern?
  3. What three key points are you looking to play?
    • Laydown
    • Arrows
    • Breakpoint

Question 1 helps you choose the proper layout for his/her game. Higher ball speeds, lower rev rates, and more side roll require layouts that react earlier or sooner. This can be achieved with layouts such as the 4x3x1 and 3x4x2. On the converse, it is best to select more stable, lower flaring drillings for players with slow ball speed, high rev rates, and/or more forward roll. You might consider a 5x6x4 or 6x5x5.

Question 2, regarding the oil pattern, will help you select the appropriate bowling ball. The Storm website has so much valuable information which will help you understand the intent of each ball we release. Under each ball page you will find videos showing ball motion for each particular ball for three drastically different styles.

Plus, know that the most dynamic balls are found in the Premier Line™ while the rest of the lines feature a variety of core and weight block concepts designed to help you find the perfect ball for your game and condition.

And finally, regarding the three key points, the third question will help you dial it all in. A down-and-in trajectory on a lighter oil pattern will require a smoother surface than one which goes away from the pocket and crosses several boards. Choose a duller surface on a ball that flares more when looking to ‘belly’ the ball a lot. If your player is trying to take the more conservative route, have him/her choose a ball with low flare characteristics. It’s all about ‘matching up’!

We will all score better when we have a true ‘arsenal’ of equipment with a variety of coverstocks and cores or weight blocks. Once this is achieved, the next step is selecting the right ball, or succession of balls, for each situation. Versatility is mandatory to succeed in today’s ever-changing environment.

Best of luck to everyone!

To learn more about Storm’s line of high performance equipment, spend some time on our website, exploring all the different sections here at http://www.stormbowling.com, or feel free to contact me via e-mail at stevek@stormbowling.com.


PSA-to-PAP Distance

Confusion

The preferred spin axis (PSA) on an asymmetrical ball is one of the most misunderstood topics surrounding bowling ball technology in today’s game. A majority of bowlers don’t realize how important it is and how much more the ball reaction can be fine-tuned when drilling an asymmetrical ball. Before we dive into this topic, it is important that we understand what the PSA is, where it exists on a bowling ball, and why it is there. Let’s take a closer look.

Symmetry

Take a look at Figure 1. It highlights the difference between a symmetrical ball and an asymmetrical ball. Looking at the Stinger™ 2.0 Core on the left, you’ll see that the core can be cut in half any direction through the pin and both sides will be identical. This is essentially the definition of radial symmetry, which the bowling industry calls "symmetric" for short. The Stinger 2.0 Core is a symmetrical core. Symmetrical cores are going to tend to transition slower and smoother than asymmetrical cores because of this evenness from side to side. Looking at the RAD-X™ Core on the right in Figure 1, you’ll notice that the same process of symmetrically cutting the core in half around the pin cannot be done. One side of the core is skinnier than the other side. This creates a preferred spin axis and makes the core asymmetrical in shape. Asymmetrical cores are going to tend to transition faster and change direction more violently than symmetrical cores. This is primarily because of the added amount of imbalance caused by the PSA.

Intermediate Differential

Radius of gyration (RG) and total differential are specs that are provided by manufacturers to help pro shops and consumers understand the core technology inside the bowling ball. Intermediate differential is another specification that is only listed on asymmetrical balls. Intermediate differential by definition is the difference between the y-axis and z-axis of the bowling ball. I know this can be a bit confusing, but bear with me for now. Look at Figure 2. You’ll see an image of three different bowling ball cores. The first image is of the Stinger 2.0 Core, the second is of the RAD-X Core, and the third is of the G2™ Core. I've included the intermediate differential on each of the cores to help show their differences. Intermediate differential only exists on asymmetrical cores. It doesn't exist on a symmetrical core because the width of the core is the same all the way around the ball at 6 ¾” from the pin. In other words, there is no difference from the y-axis to the z-axis. Take a look at the Stinger Core. It is the same width all the way around making it symmetrical. This makes the intermediate differential 0.000, which is the primary reason that it is not listed with other manufacturer specifications. Next in line is the RAD-X Core. You’ll see that there is a moderate amount of intermediate differential because it is skinnier on one side of the core compared to the other side. The skinnier this side is in relation to the other, the more intermediate differential the ball is going to have. The intermediate differential of the RAD-X Core is 0.018. Finally, the G2 Core has the most intermediate differential of any ball that Storm has ever created at 0.028.

The higher the number, the stronger the PSA is and the more influence it is going to have when placed in a strong position.

It’s important to note that it is nearly impossible to see this with the naked eye. We are talking extremely small numbers, but they have a large effect on ball reaction. This is why it may be difficult to see that the G2 Core is skinnier than the RAD-X Core. Keep in mind this intermediate differential is only going to have an influence if it is placed in a strong position relative to the PAP. Placing it in a weaker position is going to reduce the impact it will have on ball reaction. These numbers are taken from 15lb bowling balls. Keep in mind core numbers can all change depending on what weight you throw. Be sure to make sure you're looking at the correct weight when looking at these numbers.

Understanding the PSA

Any time that there is the presence of a PSA, it is always going to be the preferred axis for the ball to rotate around when energy is applied to the ball. In other words, the ball will always orient itself and rotate around this axis because it is balanced in this position. The laws of physics dictate this happening. Depending on where the PSA is placed in relation to the bowler’s positive axis point, different reactions can occur. How much of a difference you might see in reaction depends on the amount of intermediate differential in the PSA. In other words, the intermediate differential is the indication of how strong the PSA is on the undrilled ball. The higher the intermediate differential, the stronger the PSA. There is not a strongly defined PSA on symmetrical balls because there isn't a significant amount of intermediate differential. Keep in mind all of the other variables of ball motion have an effect here as well. As I’ve stated in previous articles, we are simply taking a look at this one variable and holding all the others constant. Take a look at a few generalized examples below and see what they look like when put in motion.

Longer PSA-to-PAP Distances

PSA-to-PAP distances of 4 ½” or more are going to result in the PSA being oriented closer to a stable position at the moment of release. Take a look at Figure 3. The picture shows the rotation of the core with the PSA placed 6 ¾” away from the PAP. This is an extreme example. You’ll see that this puts PSA in a stable position as the ball is released. This is going to reduce the overall track flare and cause the ball to transition slower as it travels down the lane. This is going to make the ball get through the front part of the lane cleaner, and be much smoother as it releases energy down lane. Keep in mind, these balls show 0 degrees of both axis tilt and axis rotation. They also show a Pin-to-PAP distance of 6 ¾”. I’ve chosen these because it makes the differences in PSA-to-PAP distance the easiest to see visually. Additionally, the balls do not have holes. When you add in tilt, rotation, layout, and size of the holes, the actual orientation can get extremely complicated to show visually. We are keeping these examples extremely simple so it’s easy to see the difference in orientation upon release.

 

Shorter PSA-to-PAP Distances

PSA-to-PAP distances of 2 ½” or less are once again going to result in the PSA being oriented in a more stable position at the moment of release. This is similar, but not to be confused with the longer distances. It is similar to Pin-to-PAP distances. When using shorter PSA-to-PAP distances, the PSA is going to line up extremely early on the lane as it is nearly lined up already at the moment of release just as a short Pin-to-PAP distance nearly balances the core at the moment of release. Take a look at Figure 4. The picture shows the rotation of the core with the PSA placed 0” away from the PAP. You’ll see when the ball is in rotation that the PSA is completely lined up at the moment of release. It doesn’t have to migrate to be in a stable position. A ball with a shorter PSA-to-PAP distance will want to line up quickly and stabilize early as the ball is traveling down the lane. As I mentioned at the end of the previous paragraph, PSA-to-PAP distance is relative to all of the other factors of ball motion. They all work together to create the desired ball motion.

 

Stronger PSA-to-PAP Distances

PSA-to-PAP distances longer than 2 ½” but shorter than 4 ½” are going to result in the PSA being oriented in a strong position at the moment of release. It will be in a very unstable position and it will want to migrate to a more stable position as it transitions down the lane. Take a look at Figure 5. The picture shows the rotation of the core with the PSA placed 3 ⅜” away from the PAP. You can see how unstable this is even with the Pin-to-PAP distance being 6 ¾". On a side note, this shows you why an asymmetrical ball will flare more with longer Pin-to-PAP distances if the PSA is placed in a strong position. There is still imbalance present in the PSA that wouldn't be present on a symmetrical ball. With a stronger PSA-to-PAP distance, the ball is going to transition quickly, flare more, and react stronger as it rolls down the lane. This is a great example to show you how intermediate differential affects the imbalance. The higher the intermediate differential is, the more effect it is going to have when placed in this unstable position. You can also see why it is only relevant when placed in a stronger position. In the previous two examples, the PSA begins in such a stable position that the intermediate differential is largely irrelevant. This is the same relationship as total differential and Pin-to-PAP distance. It doesn’t matter if the ball has 0.060 differential if the Pin-to-PAP distance is 0”. The core is balanced upon release and isn’t going to flare as it travels down the lane.

 

Symmetrical Misconception

Most players believe that changing the PSA-to-PAP distance on a symmetrical ball will create a significant difference in ball reaction. When changing the PSA-to-PAP distance on a symmetrical, all you are really doing is rotating changing the position of the center of gravity. Figure 6 shows a classic example of two bowling balls with identical Pin-to-PAP distances and pin buffers. The only difference is the PSA-to-PAP distance. We have used a 2” PSA-to-PAP distance on the ball on the left and 6” PSA-to-PAP distance on the ball on the right. Before looking at the next figure, imagine what the difference in core position looks like.

Now take a look at Figure 7.1. You’ll see that no matter how much we rotate the center of gravity, the position of the core stays in relatively the same overall position because the Pin-to-PAP and pin buffer distances have remained unchanged on the symmetrical. Imagine screwing an incandescent light bulb into a socket. No matter how much you rotate it, the orientation of the light bulb does not change because it is symmetrical in shape. In a bowling ball, the only difference you will see is in the static weights of the ball, which we already know from previous articles are not very influential to today’s ball motion. Take a look at Figure 7.2. You'll see that there is a difference in core position when rotating it because of the asymmetrical shape. The PSA moves a significant amount and can be placed in a certain position to manipulate ball reaction. Hopefully these visual aids really helps you see what difference there is when comparing the PSA-to-PAP distance on a symmetrical to an asymmetrical.

 

Test Data

I’ve provided some data using Specto by Kegel® to visually help you see the difference of changing the PSA-to-PAP distance in a symmetrical compared to an asymmetrical. There were a total of 4 balls tested in this experiment, 2 Sure Lock bowling balls and 2 Torrent bowling balls. Figure 8 shows the four different balls that were tested, the layouts on those balls, the migration paths, the top weight, and the after-drilling total weight.

Looking at the data, Figure 9.1 is showing the ball paths of the two different Sure Locks as they were thrown down the lane. You'll notice at first glance that the blue line (5 x 2 x 2) sees the lane earlier. It was launched with slightly more angle and still didn't get as far right at the break point. The red line (5 x 6 x 2) stays on a straight line path longer, gets farther right, and recovers more down lane even though it was launched with slightly less angle. You can see that the true break point distance is a few feet farther down the lane for the red line compared to the blue line. Figure 9.2 is showing the ball paths of the two different Torrents as they were thrown down the lane. You'll see that there is nearly no difference in the two shots. They were released within ½ of a board of each other at the exact same launch angle and ended up within ½ of a board of each other at the pins with the overall shape being nearly exactly the same.

All of these shots were kept within an extremely tight tolerance so that the difference you see in the plots is purely from the difference in the balls. Most will look at the graph and say, "Oh, they aren't that different." Looking closely at some of the data will show you some subtle front to back changes in ball motion. Reading your ball motion front to back is what separates the professionals from the amateurs. The primary reason for the difference between the Sure Lock and Torrent data is the PSA. You can really see how much influence the 0.018 of undrilled intermediate differential has on ball motion. Keep in mind that both of these Sure Locks are utilizing relatively "weak" PSA positions of 2" and 6". If I would've used a stronger PSA position, we would see an even bigger difference.

 

Analyzing Further

You can see that the 5 x 2 x 2 Sure Lock sees the lane a few feet sooner. If you look at the Torrent data, you’ll see that the lines are overlapping. There is so little difference, it is not significant to the ball motion. The primary difference we see is caused by the difference in static weights. Might be a bit surprising to some that a ball with nearly 2 ounces of positive side weight reacts nearly identical to a ball with ½ an ounce of negative side weight. When throwing a 15lb bowling ball, there are approximately 240 ounces of total weight in the ball. 1 ounce of positive or negative side weight is not going to have a significant influence on the overall motion of the ball when there is such a large imbalanced core inside creating large flare patterns. The position of the core along with coverstock/surface preparation are going to have much more influence.

For those of you who really want to get technical, Figure 9.3 is a swing sheet for each of the balls that were tested in this experiment. I'll highlight some of the major differences between the two. Look at the data from the Torrents. You'll see the RG on both is 2.56, the differential is 0.048, and the intermediate after drilling is relatively close. All of this information is why you don't see much difference in these two balls going down the lane. Go back to figure 8 and notice the migration paths of the two Torrents. The yellow dot on the right is the initial axis and the red dot on the left is the final axis the ball migrates to as it travels down the lane. You'll notice they go in exactly the same direction and flare the exact same amount. This is because after drilling, the PSA ends up in the thumb hole on both of the balls since there wasn't a strong PSA present to begin with. Since the PSA is in the exact same position on both of the drilled balls, along with the Pin-to-PAP distance and pin buffer, the balls are going to flare the exact same way. This really shows how insignificant static weights are to ball reaction in today's game. The 5 x 2 x 2 Torrent has 2 ounces of positive side weight, where the 5 x 6 x 2 has 3/8 of an ounce of negative side weight. You can see this has nearly no impact on the ball path in Figure 9.2.

Now take a look at the Sure Locks. You'll see the RG on both is 2.49, but that's where the similarities end. You'll see the 5 x 2 x 2 has 0.056 differential and 0.019 intermediate, where the 5 x 6 x 2 has 0.060 differential and 0.025 intermediate. We have significantly changed some of these important numbers, which is why we see a slight difference in ball reaction. Keep in mind, both of these PSA positions tested are considered to be in a relatively "weak" position. If we split the difference and had a 3rd ball with a PSA-to-PAP distance of 4", we would see even more significant changes to the ball reaction. This was simply to show you how much earlier the PSA lines up with closer distances, and how much later it lines up with longer distances. Even in these relatively "weak" positions, they have more effect than any position does on a symmetrical. Now take a look at the migration paths of the two Sure Locks in Figure 8. You'll see when the PSA is pushed to the right, it forces the migration down. When the PSA is pushed to the left, it forces the migration up. This is because the migration path is always going to want to stay on the same RG plane that it began on. In other words, it's going to follow the path of least resistance. Since there is already a strongly defined PSA present on the Sure Locks, drilling a thumb hole doesn't pull the after-drilling PSA into the thumb hole. It will settle somewhere between the two.

Think of it like a tug of war to get balanced. Intermediate differential is the force pulling one way and the mass taken out from drilling is pulling the other way. I've created one final image to help explain this. Figure 9.4 shows the after-drilling position of the PSA on the 5 x 2 x 2 Sure Lock. You'll see that the thumb pulled it away from its original position, but not all the way to the thumb as it did in the symmetrical. The intermediate differential from the PSA pulled it back and it settled between the two in a balanced position. The larger and deeper the holes are drilled, the more it will pull the after-drilling PSA towards them. Tying in with my article about balance holes, you can see how this after-drilling position of the PSA can be manipulated even more depending on the extra hole's distance from both the pin and the PSA. Asymmetrical bowling balls are truly unique in the amount of fine-tuning you can do to the reaction.

 

Final Thoughts

This article was a bit difficult to keep light when the topic is more complicated. Reading over it more than once will definitely help you understand this complicated topic a bit more. I hope a few of you have made it to this point and feel like you learned something. Even if everything wasn't completely understood, hopefully it opened your eyes to the complexity of ball motion and how much really goes into it. If anything was unclear or you're looking for more information, please comment below or reach out to me directly. I'll do my best to help in any way I can. Learning more about the PSA and its effect on ball motion will significantly help you appreciate the difference an asymmetrical ball can give you. I’m sure most readers will find the test results comparing the symmetrical versus asymmetrical differences to be the biggest takeaway from this article. As I’ve said in previous articles, the laws of physics can’t be broken. Understanding more about what causes your ball to transition as it goes down the lane will make you a more powerful and versatile bowler in the long run. A smarter bowler can definitely beat a more talented bowler. Putting in some extra time to learn what is happening might just be the difference in your next match. Thanks for reading!


PIN-to-PAP Distance

Decisions Decisions

There are many decisions that need to be made after purchasing your newest bowling ball. All of them are pieces of a puzzle that fit together properly to create good ball motion. The Pin-to-PAP distance is going to be the first and one of the most important decisions that should be made regarding the layout. Of the changes you can make to a layout, Pin-to-PAP distance is going to have the greatest effect. If you are starting to build a new arsenal, it is best to take a look at some of your current equipment to see what types of Pin-to-PAP distances you have been utilizing. You may notice you prefer certain distances over others. You might find that all of your equipment utilizes a similar distance. Does that distance match up well to your ball speed/rev rate or the conditions you are bowling on?

Pin-to-PAP distance might happen to be the piece of the puzzle that was missing for you.

After reading this article, you may begin to understand why you struggle on certain conditions. The goal of this article is to open your eyes to experimenting with different Pin-to-PAP distances to create different shapes. Let’s take a look at some background information on what the Pin-to-PAP distance is and how it affects ball reaction.

 

Orientation of the core

The Pin-to-PAP distance (appropriately enough) is the distance from your positive axis point to the pin. It is going to control how much of the core's flare potential you utilize in the bowling ball. It is controlling how the core is oriented at the moment of release. The Pin-to-PAP distance can range anywhere from 0 to 6 ¾". You might notice that this is approximately 1/4 of the bowling ball. We have turned the coverstock and core translucent in the above figures to show you the orientation of the weight block with different Pin-to-PAP distances. It's important to note that these do not take into consideration axis rotation or axis tilt. They are simply rolling forward with 0 degrees of both axis rotation and axis tilt. Figure 1.1 shows the position of the core at release with a 0" Pin-to-PAP distance. We've put a green dot on the weight block to aid in visualizing the rotation since there is minimal movement. This illustrates how stable the weight block is upon release and why it doesn't create a significant amount of track flare. It is rotating around the lowest RG axis. Skip over to Figure 1.3. Once again the weight block is in an extremely stable position. It is standing completely up rotating around the highest RG axis. Figure 1.2 illustrates the rotation of the weight block exactly halfway between these two points at 3 ⅜". The weight block will be in the most unstable position because it is sitting at a 45-degree angle inside the ball at the release point. This is going to result in the highest amount of track flare that particular core can produce. Different cores are going to produce different amounts of flare depending on the amount of total differential in the shape of the weight block inside of the core. Simple shapes can produce as little as 1" of flare. More complex shapes can produce upwards of 6" of total flare on the bowling ball. Now that we know the flare potential of the bowling ball can be manipulated using different Pin-to-PAP distances, we need to see what happens on both sides of the RG curve to understand why a ball can flare the exact same amount, but give us two completely different shapes down the lane.

 

Strong pin-to-pap

Figure 2 shows the general position of the core with a strong Pin-to-PAP distance. You can see that a Pin-to-PAP distance of 3 ⅜" utilizes 100% of the core’s flare potential because it is sitting in the most unstable position at the point of release. This is going to cause the core to wobble more than any other position which produces the most track flare. Stronger Pin-to-PAP distances are going to give you a strong predictable motion that you can count on in the midlane. This can be good in many different situations. One that comes to my mind is when the lanes are transitioning and you need something to blend out the pattern. Depending on the lane surface and volume of the oil pattern, you can even get away with these stronger Pin-to-PAP distances on some shorter patterns because it revs up strong in the midlane and blends out the end of the pattern. If we move up the curve, we increase the distance from 3 ⅜" towards 6 ¾" we utilize the higher RG side of the curve. As we get closer and closer to 6 ¾", the flare potential in the bowling ball is lowered because we are putting the core in a more stable position. This results in the ball hooking less and later down the lane. This happens because we are standing the core up in a more stable position about the higher RG axis. The higher the RG, the more resistant the ball will be to changing direction as it travels down the lane. Using longer Pin-to-PAP distances is going to raise the RG and promote a slower transition with a cleaner shape through the front part of the lane. You will see more change in direction down lane with longer Pin-to-PAP distances.

 

long pin-to-pap

Figure 3 shows the general position of the core with longer Pin-to-PAP distances. In general, longer Pin-to-PAP distances are good to use on the burn when you need the extra tumble through the front part of the lane. The ball is going to want to conserve energy much longer and transition slower. As soon as the bowler releases the ball, the energy the bowler imparts on the ball will begin to be lost. Controlling how quickly the energy is lost is crucial to creating good ball motion. There are more variables than just the Pin-to-PAP distance that influence the rate that energy is lost, but for this article's purpose we are simply looking at this one piece of the puzzle. Using too strong of a Pin-to-PAP distance when the pattern is extremely dry will result in the ball losing too much energy too early on the lane. It is going to be very difficult for the ball to get through the pins properly when it has used up a majority of its energy in the front part of the lane. We only have 15lbs of ball to knock down 34lbs of pins. We need the ball to be in the proper phase of ball motion at the correct entry angle to win the battle. To accomplish this, you'll want to make sure you are using longer Pin-to-PAP distances when the lanes are drier to promote a cleaner look through the front with more energy down lane. This will allow the ball still have enough energy to make it around the corner and get through the pins properly. Keep in mind there are always exceptions in our game, but this gives a good generalization to get your mind headed the right direction.

 

short pin-to-pap

Figure 4 shows the general position of the core with shorter Pin-to-PAP distances. The more we begin to decrease the distance from 3 ⅜" towards 0" we utilize the lower RG side of the curve. As we get closer and closer to 0", the flare potential in the bowling ball is lowered because we are putting the core in a more stable position. This will result in the ball hooking less and earlier on the lane. This happens because we are lying the core down in a more stable position about the lower RG axis. The lower the RG, the less resistant the ball will be to changing direction as it travels down the lane. Using shorter Pin-to-PAP distances is going to promote a faster and smoother transition through the front part of the lane. You will see a much earlier roll with not much direction change down the lane if you utilize shorter Pin-to-PAP distances.

In general, this would be good to use on either the fresh, or a very short pattern where you are looking for control off the end of the pattern. The ball is going to get into a roll extremely early because the core is laying in such a stable position around the lowest RG axis. This means that it will use a lot of its energy early and smooth out the reaction down lane. This can be great when the lanes are really flat and you are looking to stay out of trouble. You will get a smooth predictable reaction out of shorter Pin-to-PAP distances. Of course, it could be a bit of a challenge to get them to go through the pins properly because so much of the energy is used in the front part of the lane. Remember, we have a 15lb ball against 34lbs of pins.

Luckily modern day bowling balls cause lane patterns to transition extremely fast.

The bowler should be able to move from these shorter Pin-to-PAP layouts to other layouts that will give them more shape down lane. Shorter Pin-to-PAP distance layouts definitely aren't what you want to have on every ball, but they can save you from the dreaded 150 game on the fresh or when the pattern is extremely difficult. That could be the difference between winning and losing. It's not always the ball that you throw in the finals that got you the win. Sometimes the unsung hero is the ball that keeps you out of trouble when the lanes are tough. A good arsenal is always going to have at least one shorter Pin-to-PAP distance ball for control.

Symmetrical verses Asymmetrical

One final topic that must be addressed when discussing Pin-to-PAP distance is the different effects it has on a symmetrical ball verses an asymmetrical ball. Figure 5 shows the difference between a symmetrical shape and an asymmetrical shape. Since an asymmetrical ball has the presence of a preferred spin axis (PSA) there can be significant differences when using longer Pin-to-PAP distances. These differences depend on the location of the PSA. If the ball driller puts the PSA in a weak position, longer Pin-to-PAP distances will react similar to a symmetrical ball. If the PSA is placed in a strong position, the ball will actually flare more with longer Pin-to-PAP distances than they will on a symmetrical ball. This is just another example of how much more versatile some of those asymmetrical shapes are. They can be fine-tuned further than a symmetrical ball to get a closer match to what you are looking for.

Wrap-up

Concluding this article, we can see that the Pin-to-PAP distance is a powerful tool in creating proper ball motion. It controls how much flare and what side of the RG curve we use. A problem many bowlers have when they run into issues with carry is their ball either still hooking or being completely rolled out at the pins. There is a small window in there where the ball is in a strong roll. A ball is always going to transfer more energy if it is rolling through the pins. We are bound by the laws of physics in our world. We have 34lbs of pins is standing in the way of a 15lb bowling ball. The pins are always going to win unless we get the ball into the roll phase at the correct time and at the proper entry angle. Pin-to-PAP distance is going to help you control how much energy your ball has and where it begins to use it so you can begin to create the proper shape and entry angle. Always be sure to have a few different Pin-to-PAP distances in your arsenal to be sure that you can create the right amount of flare for anything you are bowling on. As previously stated, there are many more variables that influence ball motion. This article looked solely at Pin-to-PAP distance and held other variables constant. This is just one piece of the puzzle to creating good ball motion. Future articles will cover other pieces of the puzzle to help you understand the entire picture.