Article Contents

  • 1. Changing ball roll to match up
  • 2. What’s the formula for matching up?
  • 3. What do we get by changing ball roll?
  • 4. What’s the solution?
  • 5. Blue oil
  • 6. What about axis tilt?

For years coaches have been preaching to bowlers to work the inside of the ball and to stay behind it. “Let’s work that wrist, let’s cock it, cup it, and unwind it all at the bottom of the swing to produce a massive amount of forward revs to be unleashed on the pins.” Many tournament bowlers have learned that type of release and they do a great job with it. The problem, in my opinion, is that it’s the only release bowlers are bothering to learn.

There is no doubting the success of the up-the-back roll of 2011-12 PBA Player of the Year Sean Rash, but lots of pro bowlers marvel at Pete Weber’s go-around-it style which has won a record five US Opens and 37 titles over a 35-year span.

Changing ball roll to match up

So which is better, Rash’s up-the-back style or Weber’s go-around-it style? Well, sometimes one and sometimes the other. The style that works best on any given day is the one that matches up best on the condition you are bowling on at the time. The up-the-back style shines brightest when there is lots of head oil or when the lanes are slick in general. The go-around-it style will work extremely well when the head oil volume is lower or when much of the oil has been depleted.

When someone asks me what I find most important in today’s sport of bowling, I always answer matching up. Matching up is a synergy of many elements coming together to make a lane condition look and play easier for one person than it does for another of equal skill.

If you attend any major tournament and follow the leader as he bowls his games from lane to lane, you will notice he appears to be bowling on a much easier oil pattern than the guys in the middle of the field. Of course, he is bowling ...

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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