The Age Old Question, How Do I Make My Ball Hook More?

Feels like every few days someone comes in complaining that their bowling ball isn’t hooking. In fact, I’d argue it is the single most common complaint we receive in the shop.

And don’t get me wrong, if the PSO didn’t do their due diligence, it could 100% be on them. But, more likely than not, from my experience, the customer had unrealistic expectations from the beginning.

Part of the problem is that customers hear about how much “ball x” hooks compared to others on the market, and they instantly assume that that’s going to let them get in and hook it like “the guys in TV.” I get that one a lot too.

Sure, in theory, these balls hook a lot. They’re very strong compared to other balls on the market. And if you throw the ball in a similar manner to “the guys on TV,” you too can get in and hook it. But that’s the part people seem to be missing.

Just because you’re throwing the same ball as them or had “the same layout you saw on TV” doesn’t mean your ball is going to do what theirs is doing. Partly because you aren’t bowling on what they’re bowling on. But, mostly, because you don’t have 600 RPMs.

Just because you buy an aggressive ball doesn’t mean you’re buying “hook in a box.” Yes, it’s true that — in a perfect environment — today’s balls hook a ton. But that doesn’t mean you can just throw the ball the way you were throwing your conventionally drilled TZone and expect to look like Jason Belmonte; it just doesn’t work that way.

And if I’m not hearing about the ball not hooking enough, it’s usually the layout. Guys, USBC and many, many others have done tests on layouts. Layouts are — especially at that level of bowling — a VERY small part of the equation. In fact, depending on who you ask, some would say it accounts for about 20-25% of overall ball motion.

And I’m not saying that their isn’t a difference between a 2″ pin and a 6″ pin. Obviously you’re going to see some variation their. But it isn’t very often that I — or other PSOs — am giving a customer a 2 or 6 inch pin.

What I mean is, if your pin is within .5″-.75″ — heck, maybe even an inch — the average bowler is not going to see the difference. And that isn’t the difference between your ball hitting the 6 pin in the face and your ball striking at will. It just isn’t.

More often than not, it’s something the bowler is or isn’t doing. Too much ball speed, not enough revrate, axis rotation and tilt aren’t conducive to what the bowler is looking for.

But it’s hard to say that sometimes. And when you do, it’s almost never listened to. But, more often than not, it’s true; your PSO isn’t lying to you. They want you to succeed just as much as you want to. If you have success, you’re going to keep going back to them. Therefore, it’s in their best interest to guide you in the right direction.

My advice, if you have or are experiencing this, look into some lessons. It is far more likely that those lessons will help increase your score than a new ball will. Because if you get a new ball with the same expectations you had with your last one, and they aren’t met, you’re going to be just as upset, just as frustrated, and just as disappointed.

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