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#174793 - 01/07/13 09:41 AM Curious, is there a "optimum" speed for striking?
looseleftie Offline
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Registered: 01/31/09
Posts: 882
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Hey guys,
Just curious over last week, have seen a wide range of ball speeds all destroy the rack..

Is there a science/maths head amongst us?

The pro are around 18-21mph, just wondering what is seen , or proven as the optimum speed for striking?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts on the subject.
Cheers
Looseleftie undecided

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#174794 - 01/07/13 11:18 AM Re: Curious, is there a "optimum" speed for striking? [Re: looseleftie]
Joe Bowler Offline
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Hmm, interesting question. If I remember the calculations correctly from an old thread, a perfectly free armswing for an average height male bowler results in a release speed of about 15 MPH. Add foot speed to that, and that is certainly enough to strike, and to repeat shots. But, is that the optimum speed as far as the pins are concerned? I suspect the number is higher, and likely why the pros roll the ball faster. I would think entry angle would also be a factor, so there may be different optimum speeds at different entry angles.
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#174799 - 01/07/13 12:00 PM Re: Curious, is there a "optimum" speed for striking? [Re: looseleftie]
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I saw a study the USBC published tht stated optimum speed was between 15 and 19 mph. Slower than 15 and you aren't taking advantage of the modern bowling ball, and faster than 19 you run the risk os sending pins up and over their intended target pins.

I distinctly remember them saying that the vast majority of elite amateur bowlers they studied for the article had a ball speed between 16.5 and 17 mph.

None of this however explains why the elite touring pros have a ball speed much higher than that.

I'm going to search around and see if I can find the article.
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#174805 - 01/07/13 01:54 PM Re: Curious, is there a "optimum" speed for striking? [Re: looseleftie]
Fin09 Offline
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The length of the pattern makes a big difference, as someone who throws it much faster than that, such as Eugene McCune, can dominate on the Cheetah pattern, but struggle on Shark. Longer, heavier patterns require a slower ball speed, so someone like PDW can play his A-game here.
Most guys who score well on house patterns here throw it faster than most- between about 18-20 off the hand, revs matched with speed. Ball speed that comes back on the monitors is measured right before the pin deck, so it has slowed down to about 16-18 by then, depending on how soon the ball encounters friction.
None of this is scientific, though- just observations.
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#174814 - 01/07/13 05:12 PM Re: Curious, is there a "optimum" speed for striking? [Re: looseleftie]
Eternal Bowler Offline
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I don't think there is so much an optimum single [average] speed as there is an optimum [average] speed range. I think it's around 14-20 mph in terms of average speed.

Matching your ball speed with the revolutions you put on your ball will most definitely help you strike/carry. Also, depending on the pattern, slower or faster ball speeds will be better.

Longer/heavier oil tends to favor slower ball speeds; shorter/lighter oil tends to favor faster ball speeds.
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#174820 - 01/07/13 07:34 PM Re: Curious, is there a "optimum" speed for striking? [Re: looseleftie]
10PinGaloot Offline
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I'll chime in, then read all the posts.

I have had strikes with a 6 pound ball and I've seen strikes by 7 year olds throwing a very slow shot. The key thing to remember in bowling is that it's a matter of odds. Because the pins are round and the ball is round, there is a wide variety of ways the pins can fall, so a "pocket" hit doesn't guarantee a strike. In order to get more strikes, we do various things to increase our odds:
1 - enter the pocket at the optimum angle, which is somewhere around 6* (but looks more like 30* fromthe perspective of the bowler standing at the foul line)
2 - use a heavier ball - a 6 pound ball just doesn't have the power that a 16 pounder has
3 - increase the speed of the shot. Again, this adds energy to the pins as they fly across the deck. A slow shot will make pins fall like dominoes, while a fast shot gets pins to flying into each other.
4 - drive through the pin deck - if the ball is not rolling in the direction of it's travel - in other words still spinning at a tilt - it will not have its feet on the ground so to speak, and will lose power after hitting the headpin. (odd man out is the helicopter, which gets pin action through spinning and deflection)
5 - get the best pin action - If you miss the sweet spot, you are often depending on the pins to fall or fly into each other by odd routes. This is what I call pin action. It is caused by pins bouncing off the sideboards, off each other, and by them rolling around or twirling while flying across the deck. And this is why higher speed bowlers seem to get more of those lucky strikes.

Is there an optimum speed?
No. Ball speed has to vary based on lane conditions, ball attributes, rev rate and shot style (axis of rotation and tilt), and the desired path of the ball.

Is there an optimum range of ball speed?
Yes. Each bowler should be able to control his speed and throw the same shot within a range of say 2 mph. Outside that range, his shot won't work nearly as well. But his range will be different from other bowlers' ranges, because he has a different shot and different equipment.

BTW - The reason the pros throw it fast with aggressive equipment is because they are competing against other pros who throw it fast and chew up the lanes. On choppy chewed up lanes, a slow shot will have difficulty finding a smooth path.

BTW BTW - too fast a shot will make the pins fly right past each other. When a ball hits a pin at 15 mph or more, the pin starts flying rather than just falling over. As it flies, it may twirl. If it's going too fast, the twirl will not enhance pin action. You want every chance you can get for the off-hit to make the headpin to trip the 4, for instance. If the headpin is flying so fast that it flies straight like an arrow, then the odds that it will trip the 4 are lessened. This is why even the pros don't throw faster than 20 or so.

BTW BTW BTW - I've had the headpin variously trip the 4, or the 5, or the 10, or both the 4 and 7. PIN ACTION, BABY!!!

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#174834 - 01/08/13 12:23 AM Re: Curious, is there a "optimum" speed for striking? [Re: looseleftie]
looseleftie Offline
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Cheers guys, enjoyed the feedback.. 10pingaloot appreciate the effort mate.. U are correct in what u have said..

One thing I notice when I bowl at usual speed 15-15.5mph I rarely get any big travellers/messengers, whereas when I get speed up 1-2mph more I start seeing them coming out a little more often.. Problem is I am not as consistant when throwing it faster than my usual 15mph..
It's certainly fun to see those crazy flying messengers!

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#174846 - 01/08/13 07:51 AM Re: Curious, is there a "optimum" speed for striking? [Re: looseleftie]
Dennis Michael Offline
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#174864 - 01/08/13 02:43 PM Re: Curious, is there a "optimum" speed for striking? [Re: looseleftie]
JW123 Offline
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Registered: 05/30/10
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Originally Posted By: looseleftie
Cheers guys, enjoyed the feedback.. 10pingaloot appreciate the effort mate.. U are correct in what u have said..

One thing I notice when I bowl at usual speed 15-15.5mph I rarely get any big travellers/messengers, whereas when I get speed up 1-2mph more I start seeing them coming out a little more often.. Problem is I am not as consistant when throwing it faster than my usual 15mph..
It's certainly fun to see those crazy flying messengers!


Messengers are fun to watch, but to me seeing a pin fly back across an empty deck because there's nothing left to knock down is even more fun to watch. grin

It's impossible to say what a perfect speed is going to be and have it apply in all situations. On a fresh house pattern, too much speed is going to mean a lot of washouts/light hits unless you are pointing it at the pocket (which I don't like). On a light oil, broken down, or short pattern, too little speed will make it tough to get the ball into the pocket.

When you send your ball down the lane, it will skid, then hook, then roll. I don't care if you are Belmo or a six year old with a 10 pound ball...as long as it is a reactive and not a plastic or house ball, that is what it will do. One of the biggest keys to striking (obviously behind hitting the pocket at the proper entry angle of course) is having the right amount of roll to drive properly. Now, a ball that is too fast for conditions will skid past the breakpoint and start rolling too late, and those balls will often deflect in the pocket and not drive through correctly. When this happens, you aren't going to get the right mix of pins and could leave some outright weird stuff. When your ball is too slow, ESPECIALLY if the lane is broken down, the ball will read the lane too early, hook too early, roll too early, roll out and once again, you are leaving weird stuff.

The pros have higher speed simply because of a few factors: funky patterns which are absent anything resembling a hold area, and the hi-tech equipment they use rips the pattern to shreds which makes it even worse. If it takes their ball an extra quarter second to get through the mid-lane, it's a disaster waiting to happen. The way they play, a .1 MPH variation in speed is the difference between a perfect strike and a 4-6-7 split, when hitting the same target from the same place!
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#174888 - 01/09/13 02:15 AM Re: Curious, is there a "optimum" speed for striking? [Re: looseleftie]
Sam L. Offline
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Studies and everything else aside, I would say it also depends on how your revs are compared to your speed. From what I've observed., strokes who throw fast strike far less than strokers with slower ball speeds. The same is true for slow crankers vs. fast crankers. There's a lot of other variables like ball choice, ball surface, lane conditions, and entry angles. But to keep it simple; If you throw faster than what your rev rate dictates, don't be surprised if your ball doesn't carry or finish. If you throw it too slow with too many revs, watch out for splits and brooklyns. My coach is all about having good balance with your speed and rev rate, and it's something everybody should try to look for in their games.
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