Article Contents

  • 1. Ball reactions for the four competition zones
    • 1.1. Zone 1
    • 1.2. Zone 2
    • 1.3. Zones 3 and 4 for righthanded bowlers
    • 1.4. Zones 3 and 4 for lefthanded bowlers
    • 1.5. Skid distance
  • 2. The alphanumeric system
    • 2.1. Effects of the coverstock
    • 2.2. Effects of the core
  • 3. The system in action
  • 4. Setting up your equipment
    • 4.1. Speed-dominant
    • 4.2. Balanced
    • 4.3. Rev-dominant
  • 5. Conclusion

When it comes to lane play in the modern game, it simply isn’t enough to have the skills you need for all of the competition zones. You also need the right equipment. In this article, I’m going to review the different kinds of ball reactions you need for each of the competition zones and then introduce a way to organize your equipment into a simple alphanumeric system.

We’ll touch on some of the important details, such as core design and ball surface, but the most important elements of understanding your equipment are having the right amount of skid and the correct hook shape for the zone and level of transition you are trying to play. Finally, I’ll provide some specific guidelines for rev-dominant, speed-dominant, and balanced athlete types.

Ball reactions for the four competition zones

I introduced each competition zone in detail in Bowling’s Four Competition Zones, along with descriptions and graphics showing how the zones typically transition for both lefthanded and righthanded bowlers.

Based on these areas of the lane, you need different kinds of reaction shapes for the best results. While there are exceptions to everything, extremely angular equipment tends to not work well in Zone 1, while very smooth equipment tends to be less effective in Zone 4. We’ll start by defining the first parameter of our desired ball reaction: the arc/snap.

Zone 1

As Zone 1 is closest to the gutter, we’re usually looking for a ball reaction that releases energy gradually, with a soft change of direction downlane. This is usually called an arcing motion. People mostly associate this with urethane, but this can be achieved with other equipment as well, depending on the conditions.

Zone 2

Zone 2 is where we first start to see a wider range of equipment possibilities, depending on your targeting. Most people refer to this area as the track area, but we often see breakpoints outside the track area in modern bowling. It’s ...

Ernesto Avila

About Ernesto Avila

Ernesto Avila is a professional bowling coach who is currently the Head Coach of the Peru national team. He is a Panam Bowling Master Coach, a USBC Silver Coach, and an ETBF Level 3 Coach.