How To Find The Best Bowling Ball For Hook

How To Find The Best Bowling Ball For Hook

So you want to learn the secrets behind how to find the best bowling ball for hook? That’s great, and this article will attempt to The Science Of How To Find The Best Bowling Ball For Hookexplain the science behind how to determine a bowling ball’s hook potential and which balls are best suited for it.

There are a number of factors that play into what the best bowling ball for hook are. These include things like coverstock, core, Differential of RG, RG, layout, speed, and rev rate. We’ll go into each of these factors below to help you understand which bowling ball to purchase for that great hook shot.

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Coverstock Selection And The Bowling Ball Hook Potential

The type of coverstock as a huge affect when you’re asking yourself how to choose the best bowling ball for hook. The coverstock is the outer coating of ball and comes into contact with the lane. Different coverstocks contact and grip the lane differently giving it more or less traction. From a physics perspective on an oily lane this what determines whether the ball will spin or skid.

The coverstock can be smooth as is the case with plastic or polyester or it can be rough as is the case with particle balls (Carbon Fiber Infused Hammer Bowling balls). We won’t go into all of the details of all of the types of coverstock in this article however. What is important to know is that coverstocks act on a microscopic level between the lane and the ball’s surface. Smooth plastic balls have very few microscopic hills and valleys for gripping with the lane. On the opposite side of things, particle balls have deep hills and valleys and grip aggressively. So if you’re looking at coverstock as a metric for how to find the best bowling ball for hook smooth balls are a poor choice and particle balls the best with other options in between.

What Is The Role Of The Core In Hook Potential

The core of a bowling ball has a huge effect on the flare potential of a ball. We won’t go into all of the nuances of cores in this article. At a very high level, the core is what impacts the location of the center of mass and distribution of weight throughout the ball. The core determines the values of differential and RG. As you’ll see below in the following sections RG and differential are huge factors in the physics of how the ball moves down the lane. So while core itself doesn’t have an impact it is the properties of the core that do.

Differential Of RG – Difference Between Radii Of Gyration (RG)

From a high level differential of RG can be thought of as the factor that determines flare potential of a ball. When engineers are designing bowling balls they measure the RG values along the x, y, and z axis. Taking the difference between the highest and lowest RG values gives the differential. The chart below shows how much sudden hook a ball will have based on its differential. This has been converted to a 1-10 scale for easier understanding. 1 is a straight roller – ideal for getting spares. While a 10 is incredibly reactive and will have a lot of hook.

Differential ValueFlare PotentialFlare Potential Description
0.010 - 0.0151Low Flare Potential
0.016 - 0.0202
0.021 - 0.0263
0.027 - 0.0314
0.032 - 0.0375Medium Flare Potential
0.038 - 0.0426
0.043 - 0.0487
0.049 - 0.0538
0.054 - 0.0599
0.0610High Flare Potential

Radius Of Gyration (RG)

What Is RG Or Radius Of Gyration?If you choose a ball with low differential you’ll see mild hook on the back end. If you choose a ball with high differential you will see lots of hook on the backend. When choosing the best ball for hook and you want to consider the differential you’ll need to take into consideration the oil conditions. High oil is better for high flare. Low oil is better for low flare.

Radius of Gyration is the point where the center of mass is located within the ball. These values can range from 2.460″ to 2.800″. The location of the center of mass tells you where down the lane the ball will typically start to react to the lane. A center heavy ball with a low RG value will start to hook earlier. A cover heavy ball with a high RG value will hook later in the back end. These numbers are great for engineers who are doing simulations on new balls and how they roll down the lane, but aren’t by themselves very useful for the average bowler. As such, in modern times many manufacturers have started converting this value to a 1-10 scale. We’ve done the conversion for you below.

RG ValueLength Potential  
2.461center heavyMass at center of ball
2.615good mid lane ball
2.8010core heavyMass at outside of ball

How A Bowling Ball’s Layout Affects Hook Potential

The layout of a ball is where getting a brand new ball can be the most exciting. The layout is basically the strategic placement of the holes in the ball. When you take your ball to get drilled they will not only look at how you hold the ball comfortably. They can also place the holes strategically to increase or decrease hook. Each ball has specific differential values, but when you drill the holes you can affect the distribution of weight to your advantage.

With this it’s possible for two identical balls to have holes drilled in such a way that one has higher hook and the other has lower hook potential. Be sure to consult with your Pro Shop on this prior to drilling. So in regards to layout it’s not so much how to find the best bowling ball for hook but rather how to drill a bowling ball for hook.

Speed And Hook Potential

We’ve previously covered how to determine the best weight of a bowling ball and that is a good article to read if you have not. There, we talk about how a heavier ball will give less energy to knock over the pins and less control. At the same time a lighter ball will also sacrifice control and likely get you kicked out of the bowling alley. So if you haven’t read it check it out.

One of the main points of that article is that KE = 1/2mv^2 or the kinetic energy that the bowling ball smashes through the pins with is more affected by the speed of the ball than the mass (that’s due to the v^2 property). So with this in mind speed has a large impact on knocking over all of the pins.

But what effect does speed have on hook potential? Speed is the final determining factor in a bowling ball’s hook potential. Given that a lane is sixty feet from the foul line to the head pin the ball will be on the lane for a specific distance. And as the ball travels faster it will take less time to cover the 60′. Each moment the ball is on the lane is a moment that the coverstock can grip, or the core can add curve, etc. This further reiterates the importance of weight in selecting your ball for increased control and consistency.

How Does Rev Rate Affect Bowling Ball Hook Potential

Imagine a bowling ball zoomed in to the surface. It’s one large sheet of hills and valleys. The same is with the lane. Now pick a point on ball. As the ball rolls that point will make contact with the lane at every revolution.

The diameters allowed for a bowling are between 8.5″ and 8.895″. We’ll use 8.5″ for ease of numbers. We can find the circumference of the ball is 2*pi*radius which comes out to 4.45′ (notice we converted to feet). With a 60′ lane that means that point on the ball comes into contact with the lane 60’/4.45′ = 13.48 or 13.5 times.

So if you roll the ball without slipping and without any side spin (rev rate) then that is 13.5 chances that the ball can grip the lane. Here is where rev rate comes into play. Now imagine that all of a sudden you add an extra 500 revolutions to the ball during its trip down the lane in the form of side spin. That is an extra 500 times the peaks and valleys of the ball make contact and grip the lane. Each of these contacts adds friction and changes the direction of the ball ever so slightly.

This explains why players with a low rev rate should consider a particle ball compared to someone with a high rev rate in order to maximize hook.

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, when trying to determine how to find the best bowling ball for hook there are a number of compounding factors that come into play. We didn’t talk about increasing your rev rate when finding the best bowling ball for hook. Most players believe that the number one thing that will increase their game is increasing their rev rate. We believe that some coaching or a wrist straightener are simpler steps. However, if you’re interested in increasing your rev rate check this out:

Let us know down in the comments if this was helpful. Did you learn something? Did we miss something? What do you typically look for when choosing a bowling ball for hook.

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