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Speed Adjustments

Changing Your Approach Speed To Control Your Ball


Sometimes, the lane conditions require you to adjust the speed of your shots. Generally, a slower speed will result in more hook, and a faster speed will result in less hook. Often, you might want to consider adjusting speed if a lateral movement on its own isn’t getting the job done.

How to Identify A Need to Move

If you’re throwing the ball as far outside as you can (the first arrow or more) and it’s still hooking across to the wrong side of the pocket, you might want to add speed. If your ball is failing to hook at all and cuts into the pins without any effectiveness, you might want to subtract speed.

Throwing a faster ball on dry lanes will get the ball closer to the pins before picking up too much friction, allowing the ball to get into the pocket. Throwing a slower ball on oily lanes (or lanes that were used for open bowling with unpredictable oil scattered all over the place) might help you control your shot better.

How to Execute the Move

While it seems obvious to increase or decrease your arm speed, this is not a good idea. This puts undue strain on your arm and takes away accuracy. Your arm should be swinging like a pendulum as it hopefully does during your normal release.

So how to change speed? Approach the lane slower or faster. Your ball is already moving as you move. If you walk to the lane faster but keep the same arm speed, the ball will travel faster. If you walk to the lane slower but keep the same arm speed, your ball will travel slower. By keeping the same arm speed, you maintain your release, and by altering your approach speed, you add or subtract ball speed.

Additionally, you can raise the ball in your starting position a few inches. This will give you a little more distance for gravity to take hold and add speed. Changing speed is as simple as taking advantage of physics.

How Often to Adjust

Many bowlers like to avoid adjusting speed if possible, but some use it as their first adjustment. Typically, adjusting speed will come in handy on extremely dry or oily lanes, and particularly on PBA patterns or in your local bowling center’s sport league.

It depends on your preferences and bowling style, but learning to change speeds is an important facet of the game for any bowler to at least be familiar with.

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