I bowl in an early evening league. My ball seems to lose striking power, even if I’m still in the pocket, sometime around the second game. Lots of 9-counts on good hits. Please help.
Bob M. , Fenton, MO
There are different theories about the way lane oil patterns change, and those theories have changed as equipment has changed. With older balls, (rubber, plastic and urethane), oil in the “heads” is carried down the lane in front of the pocket. With reactive resin balls, especially those with softer or rougher surfaces, the head oil is absorbed as the balls roll through it. Some of it is also carried down to the back ends. Depending on what is being used on your pair of lanes, these processes may occur at different rates.
With carrydown alone, the extra oil carried down to the back ends weakens the ball’s ability to drive through the pin deck. With drying heads, what looks like a carrydown reaction (weak finish) may be an early hook and rollout, where the ball loses so much energy in the drying mid-lane that it doesn’t have any hook left at the finish. Ball designers emphasize that the ball will only hook one time. Once it does, even early and weakly, it loses energy quickly.
What to do? It depends on what is happening; carry-down or drying heads, or a combination. Even if you’re still in the pocket, moving deeper into the oil will allow the ball to skid further and retain energy to finish harder. Try moving your feet two boards deeper (towards the middle) and your target one. If there are others already playing deeper than you are, you may have to make a bigger move – 4 and 2 or more. Don’t forget to move your target deeper, too. If you just move your feet, the ball may get further into the drier outside area and hook back even harder.
If you have ball options, you may need to try opposite ends of the spectrum to find out what is effective: change to a ball that hooks earlier (hook-and-set), to complete its reaction before it reaches the carry-down, or try a ball that hooks later (skid-flip), to get through the dryer heads. Lastly, if you can change your release to more of an end-over-end roll and try a straighter line to the pocket, to be more predictable.
Remember Walter Ray: roll, not hook, carries pins.