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Physics of bowling

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Kyle Fassett

on 1 December 2014

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Transcript of Physics of bowling

Physics of Bowling
By: Kyle Fassett
Essential Question
How does bowling relate to physics?
Focus questions

What impact does oil have on a bowling balls reaction, and how does the viscosity of it change the pattern?

What is the best style to use for bowling? (curved or straighter?)

What are the factors of a perfect strike?

How do the newer coverstocks effect the game compared to the older coverstocks?

How much of an impact does the drilling of the bowling ball have on its' ball motion?
Viscosity is a measure of a fluid's resistance of flow. The more oil there is on the lane the less friction there is as a result. This is because there is more resistance to flow with more thickness. Overall this would create less hook. Although, with less thicknessof oil there's more friction, which is more hook. This is because with less thickness, the oil will not be as resistant to the bowling balls path through the pattern.
Used to be 5-7ml of oil applied on oil patterns.
There is usually about 25-30ml of oil on each pattern nowadays. The change in thickness has made it both easier and harder to bowl on. There are now so many different oil patterns that bowling scores vary so much more than they used to.
On PBA they now have blue oil which makes the oil pattern visible to all bowlers, which makes the oil pattern so different. It shows the length, width and thickness of the oil pattern.
What is the best style to use in bowling?(curved or straight?)
Bowling stroker style is the least used style today.
It is an older style of bowling where the bowler relies on
accuracy rather than power and revolutions to strike. The
gets very low in the shot and usually relies on the body to
produce power.

Norm Duke: Stroker Style bowler
Tweener style started to become more popular when people wanted more hook on their bowling balls. It is simply like a stroker, but has a smoother release. With a lot more revolutions creating more hook overall for the backend. This bowler comes around the side of the ball more than a stroker.
Ryan Shafer: Tweener Style bowler
Power Stroker
How does viscosity change the oil pattern ?
A power stroker is simply a stroker style bowler who relies on extra revolutions than a regular stroker but still uses accuracy. This style will create more carry than a regular stroker would because it involves more force between the ball and pins. Also uses a higher backswing as you will notice in the video and will be deeper on the lane as the ball has more revolutions.
Pete Weber: Power Stroker Style bowler
A cranker is a bowler who strives to generate revolutions using a cupped wrist of excessive wrist action. Crankers who rely on wrist action also open their shoulders and have higher backswings.
Tommy Jones: Cranker Style Bowler
Two-Handed Delivery
Two-Handed bowlers use the throwing hand in the bowling ball and the opposite on top of the ball. The extra hand creates more power and revolutions. This is now the best style to use in the game.
Jason Belmonte: Two Handed Bowler
What are the factors of a perfect strike?
Approach- Where ball is let go at the foul line (loft, etc.)

Area on lane(arrows)


Angle of Entry

Power on Ball (Speed+Revs)
Players Approach
Every bowler has a different approach. Some take 4 steps some take 10+. Where the ball is let go at the end of the approach or at the foul line is a big factor of a strike. If a player lofts the ball it will delay the hook and if its on the lane at the foul line it will hook earlier.
Area on the lane

Where the bowler throws the ball at the arrows is a big factor of the perfect strike because there is a different amount of oil on each spot of the lane. Some spots have higher friction which creates more hook potential. Some have lower friction where there is lower hook potential.
Breakpoint is another key factor to the perfect strike because it is where the ball starts hooking into the pocket. You have to have the perfect breakpoint to have the perfect strike otherwise you can either have bad carry due to a sharp breakpoint or leave splits due to too straight of a breakpoint
Angle Of Entry
Power on Ball
Angle of Entry is the angle at which the bowling ball enters the pins relative to the longitude of the lane. Meaning from the breakpoint to the pins, the angle it take while hooking. This is vital for strikes, too much angle or too little can cause SERIOUS pin carry issues.
The power on the ball is the amount of speed and revolutions it possesses. More speed or more revolutions creates a different amount of power
Figure 1
Curved or Straight shot?
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 1: shows the difference in 4 different players shot, a set up of a normal lane (not drawn to scale) 2 curved paths 2 straight paths. The goal is to find out what type of shot has the most strike percentage.
Figure 2: compares the 2 hook styles, states that Billy has the tighter angle of entry which stores the most energy causing the highest strike percentage. Since the angle of entry is not as wide as Billy's it doesn't waste energy.
Figure 3: compares Scott and Jamie's straight shots. Shows that a linear shot that is much straighter up the lane shot is better than across the lane. Also, more speed creates more force for straight shots since they lack revolutions.
Figure 4: shows my own statistics with one straight shot and 3 curved paths. It clearly shows that the curved paths has more strike percentage and when it has a tighter angle it also carries more. The Storm Lucid(hook) compared to Spare Ball(straight) I avg. 40 pins higher with.
How do the newer coverstocks effect the game compared to the older ones?
plastic(older coverstock)
reactive resin(newer coverstock)
What is a coverstock?
Outside part of ball
The part that grabs the friction on the lane(when the ball flips and takes a different direction in path)
Can be grity and dull, or smooth and shiny
The duller the coverstock the more it will grab friction
Shiny or polished skids in oil, storing energy and increased backend
Plastic coverstock
Oldest type, along with rubber
Doesn't grab oil, mainly used for spares due to lack of hook
Doesn't hit pocket hard at the lack of energy
Lower scores overall
Reactive Resin Coverstock
Newest coverstock
Most expensive
Has the best striking percentage
Highest scores overall
Most hook potential, flare, and has strongest core out of any other coverstock
Can change from dull to shiny to increase ability with bowling ball
Overall, the newer coverstocks provide a much stronger backend. This creates higher angle of entry, more track flare, increased hook potential and overall higher strike percentage. Bowlers who use this over plastic will see they have a much deeper angle and can use more oil and not rely on the dryer parts of the lane. This will also provide most of the key factors to a perfect strike in which a plastic ball cannot. Bowlers who use this product can also produce higher amount of friction on the lane because this type of coverstock picks up the oil on the lane faster than plastic coverstocks do. Higher level bowlers need this type of product, always.
How much of an impact
does drilling have on ball motion?
typical ball drilling
pin up drilling
pin down drilling
Pin up drilling creates a longer smoother backend, having the pin above the fingers is what increases the length. Doing this decreases the angle of entry but stores its energy.
Pin down drilling creates a much earlier predictable hook, the ball starts hooking half way down the lane towards the pocket. This ball decreases in energy and is mostly uses on tough patterns with oil carry-down. When oil carries down they want a ball that can hook earlier and get through the oil that is further down the lane.
Differences in drilling layouts
Overall, the layouts control the
ball motion completely. When
drilling it is vital to get the instructions perfectly so the reaction is the way you want it.
There are so many layouts that do many different things. Knowing layouts is key to pro bowlers so they can use it on the different oil patterns they bowl on daily.
What does oil do to a bowling balls reaction?
Oil changes the bowling balls path completely. Without oil on the lane, reactive resin bowling balls could cross the whole lane. The bowling ball needs the oil to balance the high amount of friction the new coverstocks possess. Without oil, the coverstocks and cores would be too powerful for the lanes, creating an over-abundance of hook and too early of an entry.
Overall, what have you learned from this Prezi?
Best style to use in bowling
What oil is, how it affects bowlers and their shot
The definition of viscosity, and how it compares to oil
Track flare, hook potential, angle of entry, and how they all relate to each other and strike percentage
What coverstocks are and how they affect the game, also what the changes have been overtime
The differences between straight and curved path shots and which ones are better
All of the factors to a perfect strike
Reviewed my own bowling scores and reflected on new drilling layouts I have personally learned and used on new equipment
I have learned overall that all of the factors to a perfect strike in bowling and everything that takes place from the first step of the bowlers approach to the falling of the pins relates to physics. The perfect example of physics relating to bowling is the angle of entry, which relates to: hook potential, track flare, and backend. Using physics we can measure an angle of entry of bowling ball using degrees. This is the angle of which the linear path of the ball takes and when it starts to flip and the curved path it takes. The USBC uses an angle with a minimum of 4 degrees and a maximum of 6 degrees. From Rich Carrubba's Angle of Entry bowlingball.com post he states that, stroker bowlers will achieve about a 4 degree angle of entry and will also get good pin carry but perhaps not the maximum carry potential as a player with a higher rev-rate and a greater measure of axis tilt. With 4 to 5 degree entry angles you generally only worry about corner pins or a 4 pin (6 pin for left handed bowlers) if the ball contacts the pocket a little high. Obviously power players, (or crankers/two-handed bowlers) have higher hook potential, track flare, and backend. So their angle of entry is usually around 6 degrees. For them, they have to run a risk of leaving any of the back row pins as well as the occasional big split. These leaves occur more frequently with big hook angles of entry as opposed to the more modest angles of entry. This means that higher angle of entry can lead to more splits, if you keep a tighter angle as a power player, deeper in the oil it can cut back from that. The question is: why if stroker's have the better angle of entry, do they carry less? Power players have more speed. and revolutions. Another physics example is that when a power players bowling ball hits the pocket it has much more force and velocity than a stroker's shot. When the bowling ball hits the pins it transfers its energy to the pins, which slows the ball momentum. After the energy transfers to the pins and are bouncing around it is called "acceleration" the pins continue to hit each other with the force of the ball and takes out the other pins. With a bowling ball that has more force when it hits the pocket it is going to create more acceleration for the pins and higher strike percentage. In this project we have dealt with physics key terms like motion, speed(or velocity), revolutions, force, energy, entry angle(degrees), friction, gravity, center of gravity, (or center of mass), and momentum. Bowling heavily relates to physics and when you learn the physics side of it, it can actually help your game.


Before I started this project I averaged about 190 and now I'm in the 205-215 range every game. I now have increased my entry angle on my shot, learned new drilling layouts, learned how to control the friction on the lane and use different bowling balls with different layouts. Overall, this project has made me more of a versatile bowler and has also helped me strike more and increase my average a lot.
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