Understanding You as a Bowler | Bowling Ball P.A.P.

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As a coach, understanding a player’s P.A.P. helps them to understand what type of player they are dealing with, which in turn allows them to offer more individualized coaching instruction.

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38 Comments on “Understanding You as a Bowler | Bowling Ball P.A.P.”

  1. This was Awesome information!!! I learned so much about understanding my P.A.P. It has never been explained to me like this before!

  2. Vernon: how about 70×3 3/4×40. That will be late and probably not straighten out. I drilled a Track LX05 today 70×3 3/8×50 with x-hole in P2. It rolles great!

  3. This P.A.P to pin thing now really make sense to me 😉 I tried to master it myself with a (Roto Grip) bowling ball manual with examples with pin layouts. I did understand that the pin placement had something to do with an early or later ball reaction but this was my missing link. Thank you for explaining this. As allways, you are never to old to learn something. 😀

    1. MrZocor Does it have to make total sense or even a bit of sense when all you need to see is that a particular layout for instance produces this specific reaction on the lane condition for what the ball and layout was chosen for. If you have a pin to pap of 5 1/4 on a symm medium reaction ball then you will get length and some backend movement. Longer pin to paps on symm cored balls reduce flare and push the ball down the lane before it starts reacting for 1 example. What is so hard about seeing this? 

    2. Longer pin to paps on symm cored balls reduce flare and push the ball down the lane before it starts reacting for 1 example. HUH?

    3. Ever see someone role a ball with a 5 1/2″ pin to their positive axis point compared to a 4″ pin to their pap? Which ball wants to start hooking sooner? 

    4. Ok Thanks. That makes it very easy to understand. I like your uncomplicated simplistic approach to ball layouts. Most of these pro shops make it very complicated with a lot of technical jargon. Thank you for putting it in layman’s terms that any dim bulb can understand.

  4. Vernon, with your closely matched revs to speed, a benchmark layout similar to what someone else previous suggested. However, he did not take into consideration of your low axis rotation and your SUPER low tilt. On a symmetrical ball such as the sky rocket, low tilt and axis rotation is going to burn both halfway down the lane. With that ball I’d highly suggest 55-60 X 4 13/16 x 35. That will help retain both the axis tilt and rotation you impart on the ball, therefore going long, and snapping extremely hard once it encounters friction. Good luck buddy


    1. +Sean Mullins  You are talking in a language that I don’t understand. Could you talk in more riddles?

  5. I am trying to get back into bowling since taking off a 10 year break, so would changing the finger placement affect your P.A.P? I need to figure out the best finger placement for myself when I have my new ball drilled.

    1. No. After you’ve thrown it a few times I would suggest taking it to a local pro shop and have them check it. Unless you have the tools to check yourself. Chances are, unless you guys have identical balls and layouts, the ball will react differently, but not because of your pap.

    2. Yuma Scott
      ok cool I think I understand it a bit more, the reading for the PAP is all in how you throw it and not much to do with any other things like oil and stuff. The ball I am using right now to get my PAP is a light oil ball and I am using it on a medium oil track so it does not get much hook lol, the ball does seem to have a lot of flare when I look at the oil line on it though it tends to have a lot of lines as if its always changing the part of the ball its rolling on.

    3. +Tj1056 Yep those are flare lines you are seeing. That’s when the ball is transitioning from hook into roll phase trying to stabilize itself. This is controlled by pin to pap distance, mostly. The more unstable the layout, the more flare. I hope this helps.

    4. +Yuma Scott …so more flare is bad then? specifically for consistency? my Track is the same distance from the index finger as the one in this video, but no matter how i throw, my track is running over my thumb hole, so my track has a larger radius due to it being more toward the middle of the ball (angled more like this when looking at the finger holes:
      i am having serious issues getting the ball to hook in heavy oil and i am keeping my hand behind the ball the entire time. in very light oil i throw 200 average, but every league night the oil is so heavy (even at end of third game my ball is soaked in oil, with a massive flare, and track over the thumb hole, or slightly left of it.
      Arsenal: DV8 Outcast (doesnt move at all unless lanes are dry, but when it does move its very violent and during the last 10 feet)
      Venom Shock: (my first and still my “baseline” ball to determine lane conditions (also my spare ball)
      Energy Source: in light, fresh oil this ball is amazing, but despite relaxing and rolling it with hand behind the ball, low-medium revs, it just skates. i throw slower? skates still. track still over thumb hole,

      Oh, and all three balls were just baked & resurfaced, and the energy source was polished, and performed well until about two weeks later… (seems to be very odd considering that my problem is skid..)

      Bottom line: in fresh oil, the ball doesnt reach the hook phase until its getting to the pocket, regardless of MPH. Im new to this game, any thoughts?

    5. +MeCalFury™ Although this suggestion may invite comments from those who don’t agree, you may try a little finger weight either by having your ball drilled a little differently or by a counter weight hole. The reason behind this is, the added finger weight (if you stay behind the ball) will actually turn your fingers as you come through the ball and give you a little more lift which could help the tracking issue. However, there are a lot of “ifs”. Finger weight will help some and not others. You really need someone to watch your game and see exactly what you are doing. Also, talk to your pro. If they are good, they will watch you bowl and drill your ball for your release. Any monkey can drill three holes in a ball, but a good pro takes a lot of time and watches and recommends what is best for your game. If the guy at your local lanes doesn’t take the time, find someone else who will. It is well worth it.

  6. this is great info but i have a couple questions. How do you know how to drill the ball in the first place as far as where to put the pin placement etc? Are those extra holes allowed by the USBC and PBA?

    1. +Christopher Black For the pin placement from your PAP or positive axis point, longer pin to paps on symm cored balls from 4″ – 5 1/2″ above the fingers reduce flare allowing the ball to have a longer first transition or skid phase before saving more energy for the backend, going shorter pin to pap on a symm cored ball from 3″ – 1 3/4″ also allows less flare, but produces an earlier smoother ball motion so a shorter skid phase and a longer hook zone or arc. For asymm cored balls, longer pin to paps of 4″ – 5 1/2″ above the fingers produce good flare, but towards 5 1/2 the ball will want to hook and role forward much sooner when encountering friction good for longer heavier patterns, shorter pin to paps of 4″ – 2 1/4″ and going towards 2 1/4 reduces the flare, pushes the ball down the lane creating a longer first transition or skid phase shorter hook phase or more of a hockey stick type reaction. Each one has its purpose, but each layout chosen is based off a bowlers specs and lane condition and can also be tailored to a specific ball as well.

    2. +Christopher Black Extra holes or specifically a balance hole ( only 1 allowed) can be used to make a ball legal so just a bit under 1 ounce, finger, side and thumb weight, or can be used to further strengthen or weaken a ball if the ball motion needs to be tweaked some. Surface also plays a role in strengthening or weakening a balls motion.

  7. I haven’t bowled for 30 years, purchased a used bowling ball from the pro shop, have bowled maybe a dozen practice games, first game 103 next game 160, next game 223, last game bowled 234. the pro shop must have know what he was doing ! So next time i purchase a new bowling and will incorporate this info. for my new ball. Thank you for posting this technique, I will review this with my pro shop.

  8. The Bob Ross of drilling. “Here we have a happy little core and he’s just heading for the center of the lane.”

  9. To determine the PAP don’t you have to have the ball drilled first and roll it to determine your track? How would you determine the PAP before the ball is drilled so they know where to locate the pin when drilling?

    1. Your most used ball is used to track the P.A.P. Then that is applied to the new ball. If it is your very first ball, then I don’t know.

  10. Hi new to the game and only been playing for about a year I average about 176 some times higher and sometimes in to the 200s I have always been a straight ball player but have started to do the hook and finding it much better, anyway I have been watching your videos and very interested it what yous guys say and teach as I love the physics of the hole thing very interesting thanks for your videos will keep watching

  11. Can you look at the track and get an idea of what degree your axis tilt is? Mine looks like the track on this ball but I don’t know what to do with that info.

  12. So much more to it than i thought holy crap. I have a Brunswick Exile that someone gave me on league 2 yrs ago and ive been ripping strikes with it. I cant imagine the damage i would cause down lane with a ball drilled for my hand. Guess its time to find out. Amazing video by the way. Great explaination of everything and easy to understand. Rock on fellow bowlers 🤙

  13. The point he made of manipulating the distances from PAP(pos axs pnt) to the pin ,to the beginning track line gives a science to it. You can move leverage on the surfaces to get a ball to stretch it hook start area or shorten it up closer to you. Closer to you might be for a heavier oil pattern. Stretching out the hook start area might be for a more friction condition.(less oil volume.) Then you come to the surface of the ball you can change too.Uuugh! Ball Speed!
    Hand release angles. On and On and On. Confucius says, yeah lets do all that!

  14. I’ve got a question… I have been out of bowling for years, since 2004 to be exact. But I heard someone earlier this bowling season (before the Covid 19 crisis) that the rules had changed and balance holes are now illegal and the side/finger/thumb weight limits had all changed too. But I have not been able to find the answer to this; what about people who owned bowling balls that had balance holes in them prior to the rule change? Would those balls be grandfathered out after a certain amount of time or would they be illegal right from the start?

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