Axis rotation is measured on the

ball’s horizontal plane. We locate a player’s positive axis point (PAP), which is the stable axis upon which the ball begins to initially rotate. To better understand axis rotation, put a small piece of white tape on your ball’s PAP. If your hand is up the back of the ball at release, that piece of white tape will be on the west side of the ball (for right handers). The more your hand moves around the ball at release (or, the more axis rota-

tion you’re able to create), the more that white tape will move eastbound. Adjusting the axis rotation will

Alternate Route

get the ball to react differently to the lane. Generally speaking, balls skid, then hook, then roll. Less rotation will shorten the skid phase and get the ball into the hook phase earlier, while maximum rotation will extend the skid phase of the ball and increase its hook potential down lane. It’s such a valuable tool because it will change the ball’s reaction while still allowing you to stay in the same part of the

lane and use the same break point. Ideally, you would like to limit

lateral moves on the lane because it forces you to make multiple adjust- ments. And often times, particularly on challenging conditions, the zone you’re going to have to play and the break point are pretty defined. This tool will allow you to stay in that area. In theory, the range on axis rota-

tion runs from 0 to 90 degrees. The closer you are to 0 (meaning your hand is almost directly behind the ball), the more end-over-end the ball will roll in a forward direc-

e’ve spent a lot of time at the In- ternational Training and Research Center measuring the range that elite bowlers have on their axis rotation. We measure that by marking their PAP and using a high-speed camera to capture their release. The bowlers are asked to see how far behind the ball they can get and after we tape the shot, we watch it back, taking note of where the PAP is in relation to the horizontal plane of the ball (across the equator). This is considered their minimum amount of rotation they can impart to the bowling ball. Then they’re asked to move to the other extreme and really get around the ball. We repeat the process and determine the maximum amount of rotation they can impart. The difference between these two numbers gives us that bowler’s “rotation range.” Players like Walter Ray Williams and Chris Barnes are generally on the lower side (40

W 16 USBOWLER DECEMBER 2011

degrees or less) of rotation. Walter Ray can really get up the back of the ball and get it to roll end over end. Pete Weber, on the other hand, is almost always at, or close to, 90 de- grees rotation. You see a lot of skid down the lane, and when the ball sees friction you see a dramatic left turn. The difference is that Weber has a tougher time getting towards 0 degree, while Walter Ray can get his hand around the ball. In fact, when tested his range spanned from 35 de- grees to 100 degrees. Mike Fagan also has great range of rotation, measuring from 20 degrees to 85 degrees. The 65-degree dif- ferential for both Williams and Fagan was the highest we measured. Two-handers have the widest range be- cause they can get their hands in such a dif- ferent position, but that’s an entirely different topic!

tion. The more “around” the ball your hand is at release, the more the ball will skid before hook- ing and getting into its roll. The players with the capa-

bility of executing the widest range of axis rotation are con- sidered the most versatile. Establishing and applying that

versatility isn’t as daunting as it might sound. First you need to gauge your PAP. Again, do that by placing a piece of white tape on your PAP. You’ll probably need a spotter behind you (a teammate, coach or pro shop owner

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