View Full Version : Pin Up vs. Pin Down

Duke Harding
09-10-2008, 02:01 PM
I found this article in my bowling archives...Don't know who wrote it.
I think it has a lot of great info:

Pin up vs Pin down

When thinking of ball layouts I don't think of specific layouts making a ball roll a certain way. I think of layouts as tweaking the roll characteristics of the given ball.

When a ball comes off the production line it has as a known chemical makeup and measurable core dynamics, but I always want to spend time with the ball on the lane to get a feel for how the ball reads oil, friction, and transitions. The most important of these three elements to me is transition. Bowling is and always will be about transition. Transitions are different at all levels of our sport and the use of the "Pin up vs Pin down" discussion can be looked at in different ways.

I hear people talk about how they like to move the pin up to make the ball go longer and move the pin down to make it roll sooner. I see the obvious characteristics of what they are saying but in my world I am thinking about how the different positions react to the transitions I am going to see. Because of this I will often choose other options to control the length, in most cases when I am raising or lowering the pin it is to control how the ball reads friction. If I am wanting the ball to read the friction slower or smoother I will likely lower the pin position. If I want to see the ball make a quicker sharper move in the friction I will likely raise the pin position.

All of this is based on a desire to control shapes and angles that I think will match up to the bowler, surface, pattern, field, and transitions. If a bowler, ball, or ball reaction characteristic looks to come off the friction too sharp I will lower the pin. I am seeing the balls motion and I want the bowlers ball rotation, rev rate, speed, and angles to match up to how I think the pattern and field will move around. I see too many bowlers trying to accomplish ball reaction that does not match up to their ball rotation, rev rate, and speed. It seems they are over focused on maximizing hook.

Trying to maximize hook is the first thing that gets a bowler in trouble these days. Most bowlers would benefit themselves by trying to match their ball roll characteristics to their competitive environment (what ever that is) and then choosing a ball that compliments this. In the over-wall environments many compete in today a lot of bowlers are creating what is known as over/under ball reaction because they are over focused on maximizing total hook. Think of the motion your bowling ball is making in the part of the lane you want to attack.

When I say the part of the lane I want you to look at more than the 17 inches of width a bowler has to use as their lateral break point. Think of the 40 plus feet of length they can use (but only a few do). The lower rev players can use a lot more of the length of the lane than the higher rev player. The lower rev player can often separate themselves from higher rev players by using a reaction window closer to the foul line. The higher rev players can not use this part of the lane. This is why we see lower rev rates beating higher rev rates in many environments. The first 30 feet of the lane is difficult for a higher rev rate player to use. The higher rev rate player is typically forced to use the last 20 feet of the lane. This is why professionals learn to alter their rev rate.

The ability to control the rev rate allows a bowler to use a larger area of the lane. This is a very important consideration when thinking of "Pin up vs Pin down" I use pin up and pin down layouts to match up to the bowlers ability to control their reaction characteristics in the friction. If a bowler has too sharp of a reaction in the dry part of the lane ie..the high rev player I will lower the pin position to smooth this out. If a bowlers ball reaction is not aggressive or "quick" enough to the friction I will typically raise the pin. This is contradictory to the typical use of pin up vs pin down theories.

Many times a lower rev player lowers pin positions because he or she can create more hook and as the ball is going down the lane the experienced eye can tell the roll characteristics of the bowler and their ball will not match up for very long. And many times the higher rev player is only making the over/under condition worse thinking they need the higher pin position for length when they could choose a different option to create length and the lower pin position to match up their shapes and angles to the over wall condition.

"Good ball reaction never changes...how we create it changes all the time"

Good ball reaction can be seen before the ball gets half way down the lane. You can see that the bowlers ball rotation, speed-rev ratio, and angles match up. More often than not bowlers are so focused on maximizing hook that they don't even recognize how good or bad their ball roll is matched up.

Try to look past the "hook syndrome" when trying to get matched up. There is more to "Pin up vs Pin down" than one goes longer than the other.

As an experiment take one of those balls of yours that you just hated and ask your pro shop guy to plug it up and go the opposite direction. If it was pin up make it pin down...or vice versa. Then play with the surface friction and I bet you will like it a lot better. If you don't at least you learned something.

Until next week do me a favor and take the time to let somebody know how much you care.

09-10-2008, 03:26 PM
This is a great article and thx for posting it

Duke Harding
09-10-2008, 03:54 PM
This is a great article and thx for posting it

Old-time PBA pro Mickey Higham has started drilling my equipment.

He watched me throw a few balls, and said I was on the side of the ball too much.
He recommended low pin drilling, with MB kicked out to the VAL for my game.
He said this would even out the over-under in my game.
I have a about 70-65 degrees axis rotation.

I'm a lefty and was finding that pin high and stacked leverage drillings were not the best for my game.

I thought this was a good article...after 50 years of bowling, I know it'snot all about hook. :D

09-10-2008, 04:02 PM
...after 50 years of bowling, I know it'snot all about hook. :D
hope we all take something from this ...its not all about the hook ....its the ball shape (roll) down the lane