Article Contents

  • 1. Playing the oil line
  • 2. Take a step left
  • 3. Surface is critical
  • 4. Overview
  • 5. Conclusion

I said in the first part of this three-part series that the pro release is extremely hard for the average bowler to learn and that it may not even be the best release for most league oil patterns. I also promised that I would share some guidance to help you develop a more effective release for league night. So, here we are in the second installment of this series and it’s time for me to deliver.

Let’s first examine what is needed to produce the best release for league conditions. The purpose of the release is to produce what we call “ball roll.” Since a ball is a sphere, it can spin any number of ways and at any number of RPMs. A bowler’s ball roll is the combination of the speed, RPMs, and direction of spin when the ball leaves the hand. I also include how these things change as the ball heads toward the pin deck in my definition of ball roll.

Every type of ball roll reacts differently to all the conditions on the lane. Our goal is to produce a ball roll that does four things:

  • Creates room for error: You are not going to win on league night if you are having to split boards. We want to be able to miss a few boards left and right at the breakpoint and still strike.
  • Provides release forgiveness: Release forgiveness will allow us to make minor mistakes in ball speed, rev rate, and axis rotation angle.
  • Strikes a lot and leaves makeable spares: We need our ball roll to produce strikes when we make the errors listed above, or at least leave makeable spares instead of requiring us to pay the maximum penalty.
  • Burns off axis rotation before the breakpoint: Burning off axis rotation goes a long way toward creating forgiveness and room for error, if you know how to use it.

So how do we do that? Well, let’s start by taking a look at the lane condition we are bowling on and determine what type of ball roll will give ...

Already a premium member? Click here to log in.

Ron Clifton

About Ron Clifton

Ron Clifton has been coaching at the professional level for 25 years. He conducts “Advanced Bowler Training Clinics” across the U.S. and is the inventor and manufacturer of Ron C’s Magic Carpet for thumbholes. Ron can be found on the web at