Factors That Affect Your Bowling Ball
Center of Gravity (CG) simply refers to the heaviest
part of the bowling ball. Talk to any seasoned bowler,
and he or she will nod sagely when you inquire about the CG
There are a number of factors that affect your CG, and if
you are aware of them, you will be able to spin them to your
advantage. Not all bowling balls are created equal, and
seasoned players are actually quite often going to great
lengths to alter their balls so as to squeeze the last ounce of
performance out them.
Nothing affects the CG as much as the top and bottom weight
of a bowling ball. Granted, the ball is perfectly round
and it is hard to imagine that there might be different weights
that could even be discussed, yet did you ever consider that
there is a little bit of extra weight added to the ball to make
up for the material that is discarded when the finger holes are
Failure to add this counterweight would result in your balls
rolling down the lane with a quite noticeable wobble.
Novices do not usually consider the fact that there are a
couple of ounces of material missing in the top of the ball,
yet when it is rolled it traverses the lane in a smooth
fashion, as though the sphere were unbroken.
If you take a close look at your bowling ball, you will
actually be able to see where its CG is located because it is
marked with a small dot. The counterweight that makes up
for the weight lost when the finger holes were drilled is
placed underneath this dot.
The weight of the ball encompasses everything from the
coverstock to the core, which contains the weight block.
The core of a bowling ball is the part of the ball with the
largest concentration of mass. The sophistication and
position of the core of a bowling ball are key features in the
dynamics of a bowling ball.
The sophistication and position can be explained by the
Radius of Gyration (RG), which is a property used to determine
how fast the ball begins to rotate after leaving the bowler's
hand. RG is the measurement of where the weight is
located inside of the ball (relative the ball's center).
The core position, size, shape and density can adjust the
For example, a centralized core locates the weight in the
center of the ball resulting in a low RG ball. If the
core is placed off-center, the weight of the ball is shifted
resulting in a high RG bowling ball, or what is known as a
cover-heavy ball. Generally, the lower the RG, the
quicker the ball will pick up its revolutions.
Experienced bowlers have figured out that they can alter the
performance of the ball by drilling the holes into one side of
their bowling balls, leaving the directly opposing side
slightly heavier. This will affect the CG in that it will
cause the ball to travel closer to that direction than toward
the other one.
Of course, the alterations you will be able to make with
these subtle shifts do not make up for skill and excellent lane
conditions; conversely, if you make your changes ill advisedly,
you may actually hinder your game rather than improve it.
Thus, it is imperative that you are completely certain of what
you are accomplishing before beginning to drill.