Lee Owen: What effect does ball speed have on pin carry?

By Lee Owen

The Daily Advance

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I can remember back when I was about 12 years old and throwing a plastic Brunswick ball from Kmart.

My technique was simple: throw it as hard as I could directly at the head pin.

This worked some of the time, but most of the time, I left pins in the middle.

While it is obvious that an extremely slow delivery is going to limit pin carry, there is also a such thing as throwing it too fast. There is a delicate balance between the correct ball speed and the perfect entry into the pocket.

A normal delivery travels between 15-18 mph, depending on the bowler. These speeds are ideal for mixing the pins in a way that carry is maximized.

When a ball is thrown harder than this, the pins tend to blow past each other, leaving unique splits or pins in the middle such as the 5 pin, or 5-8 and 5-9. Even with a good entry into the pocket, these can still stand.

As for a slow delivery, if the entry angle is good, it can be more effective than a fast ball.

In the case of a slow delivery, if the entry is good, then it still gives the pins time to mix well and results in good pin carry.

Carry, as it relates to speed, also has to do with ball weight. An 8-pound ball, thrown at 20 mph, is going to hit the pins and simply bounce off, where if it is thrown like a child would, at a speed under 14 mph, then it is more likely to drive through the pins and provide a better score.

I had the unfortunate opportunity to find this out a couple of weeks ago while recovering still from my surgery.

I decided to bowl league again for the first time in two months and was forced to throw a 10-pound ball for the majority of the evening.

My speed was too fast at first, and I was seeing the ball deflect off of the pins and not carry at all.

I slowed it down a lot and found that I could drive through and managed to string up some strikes.

If you have no clue how fast you bowl, there are centers that have speed readings on the monitors, such as the center on the Outer Banks.

It would be worth while to make a trip just to see where you stand compared to others.

Don’t forget about the youth tournament this Saturday at the OBX Bowling Center. Singles and doubles will be bowled with the first event at 10 a.m. and the other at 1 p.m. Even if you don’t have a doubles partner, come on out and we will see if you can get paired up with someone.

Hope to see you there.