Layouts form a fundamental piece of ball motion. While surface accounts for more of the on-lane reaction, layouts determine what the ball “wants” to do—and they can’t be changed to adapt to conditions like ball surface. For this reason, it’s important to have some variety in the types of layouts you have in your bowling balls.

Keep these basic characteristics in mind when discussing layouts with your ball driller, or when deciding which ball to throw in competition:

  • Higher pins have lower VAL angles or pin buffers, resulting in sharper downlane motion; the opposite is true for lower pins.
  • For asymmetrical balls, a mass bias indicator farther from the thumb creates a stronger, earlier hooking motion; placing it close to the thumb or in the track results in a weaker motion.

Remember that all of your layouts should be based on your positive axis point, or PAP, which your ball driller can determine.