Pin Positions and Dynamic Reactions
The pin in the bowling ball (the colored plug) signifies the center of the core. Other than surface texture, it is the single most important factor in determining ball reaction. It“s distance from the PAP will dictate the amount of track flare and the amount of energy released, which influences the amount of hook potential. Please note that the pin distance from the PAP is important, not its location relative to the center of span. The pictures in drilling instructions use a center of span based on a PAP of 5 inches horizontal and 1 inch up. If your PAP is less than 5 inches, the pin will be further left (further right for lefthanders) than the picture. If your PAP is further than 5 inches horizontal, the pin will be further right (further left for lefthanders) than the picture.
The pin can be placed up to 6 inches from the PAP. The further it gets from the PAP (up to 6 inches away), the longer down the lane it will go before hooking. The further away from the PAP, the higher the RG of the pin position. Every core has a lower RG position and a higher RG position. The lowest RG position of the core is attained when the pin is placed directly on the PAP, the highest RG at 6 inches from the PAP. Referring back to the August tip, the difference between the RG when the pin is on the axis and the RG when the pin is 6 inches from the PAP is called DIFFERENTIAL. The greater the differential, the greater the reaction characteristics between different pin distances. For example, lets examine the Matrix TPS II. The 16# ball has a low RG of 2.53 with a differential of .060. Determining the high RG is as simple as adding 2.53 plus .060. This sum, the high RG, equals 2.59. The RG of the pin placed 6 inches from the PAP would be 2.59, the RG of the pin placed on the PAP would be 2.53. Thus, any pin position would be in between 2.53 and 2.59. The higher the RG, the more energy is stored, the later the ball will release its hook.
To take this example further, we can calculate the corresponding pin distance from PAP and RG value. Our differential for the TPS II is .060 over a distance of 6 inches. This means that there are 7 different RG planes (the original low RG plus 6 from the differential): 2.53, 2.54, 2.55, 2.56, 2.57, 2.58, and 2.59. To find the distance required to move the pin away from the PAP to raise it to another RG level, divide 6 (6.75) by the differential, in this case, 6. You will get a value of 1.125, or 1 1/8 inches. For every 1 1/8 inches you move the pin away from the PAP you will increase the RG to the next value. For a contrast, lets look at the low flaring Cougar. Its differential is .036. Dividing 6.75 by 3.6 gives us 1.875, or 1 7/8 inches. You will have to move the pin further on the lower flaring ball to reach a new RG plane. Smaller shifts will not make as much difference on the Cougar compared to the TPS II. As you can see, knowing the PAP is more critical when the ball“s differential is higher.
In the Ball Rating Matrix, I rate the RG on a scale of 1 to 10 with the pin in the leverage position. This is the most popular pin placement for the average bowler. Even standard label drill patterns with the pin at 1:30 from the CG place the pin very near almost everyone“s leverage point. The leverage point is halfway between the PAP and 6 inches away from the PAP. This distance is 3 3/8 inches and is the strongest pin position, generating the most track flare and the most violent release of energy. Track flare enables the ball to expose fresh surface with each revolution, maximizing friction potential. Track flare potential is determined by the pin position, core differential, friction on the lane, and the amount of RPMs provided by the bowler. In heavier oil conditions, leverage is the preferred position. Faster ball speeds and those with higher degrees of axis tilt (vertical spin) will also prefer the leverage pin position.
Drier lane conditions, slower ball speeds, and lesser degrees of axis rotation (up-the-back releases) will find that the leverage position will expend energy too quickly, causing hook-out. They will need to use a lower flaring pin position, enabling the ball to expend energy at a slower pace. This will retain hook longer, providing for a better angle of entry into the pins. Moving the pin away from the leverage point reduces flare. Minimal flare results from placing the pin in either of two positions, on the PAP or 6 inches from the PAP. Moving the pin closer to the PAP will result in a more even, continuous arcing hook pattern. I prefer this position on over-reacting backends (fresh) and for those slower speed bowlers who like to throw the ball from inside to outside and have it return smoothly. Moving the pin further from the PAP, closer to 6 inches, will cause the ball to straighter down the lane with a hook and set reaction. This position is best when throwing the ball straight up the lane and for controlling the hook in the backends. Power players prefer pin positions 5-6 inches from the PAP because it stops on the backend, generating a strong angle of entry accompanied by enough deflection to reduce splits.
Choosing a pin position when drilling a new ball should not be taken lightly. Although we provide drilling instructions with each new ball for you to examine, it is best to consult with your local Striking Effects Pro Shop or IBPSIA certified pro shop rather than deciding by yourself. They have a thorough understanding of matching your unique bowling style with the lane condition that you compete on.
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