A How-To for Adjusting Ball Speed

The importance of ball speed change and a research-based method to change it


Many bowlers arrive at the Kegel Training Center with a strong desire to increase their rev rate. These individuals perceive higher revolutions as a panacea or the ultimate solution for improving their game. Yet, in reality, the ability to manipulate axis of rotation and ball speed would result in being able to alter their ball motion significantly more.

Ball speed manipulation will allow a bowler to get the ball to hook more with less speed or, with more velocity, get the ball to skid longer and achieve less hook based on what is needed in a specific situation. As with all skills, ball speed adjustments must be practiced in order to be mastered.

Accordingly, in this month’s issue, I discuss ball speed change and some methods to adjust ball speed. This includes a research-proven method to reduce ball speed which will lead to more ball motion.

With the information in this article, you can take ball speed change to a precise level rather than randomly guessing about changing your speed.

Importance of ball speed

Excellent ball motion requires the bowling ball to slow down in order to migrate through the three phases of ball reaction: skid, hook, and roll. Due to gravity leading to friction, your ball speed is decreasing as soon as it hits the lane. Specifically, to achieve good ball reaction, you want your ball to lose between 2.5 and 3 miles per hour. Often, this is misunderstood at bowling centers in which the ball speed is read at the end of the lane.

Adjusting ball speed is a valuable and important skill when dealing with ball motion. Increasing ball speed will reduce reaction while slowing the ball down will increase ball reaction. If the ball is hooking too soon, you would need to increase your ball speed to obtain better ball reaction. Conversely, if the ball is not slowing down adequately, you would need to slow it down to achieve good ball reaction.

In How much can you alter ball reaction? What the research says (September 2007, BTM), I shared with readers that a bowler can achieve an approximate increase or decrease of two boards ...

Joe Slowinski

About Joe Slowinski

Joe Slowinski, a USBC Gold Coach, is currently on assignment in Europe. The Portland Maine native served as the Administrative and Men's Head Coach at Webber International University and served for four years as a Master Teaching Professional at the Kegel Training Center. Slowinski is the former Director of Coaching and Coach Certification for the National Sports Council of Malaysia. Joe's personal coaching website is www.bowlingknowledge.info.