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What is Pin Placement in Bowling?

By Edited Dec 18, 2015 1 0

Pin Placement Bowling
The people who think of pin placement are not typically beginning bowlers. It is something the avid bowler, who has their own ball(s), shoes and other accessories meant to improve their games. When pin placement is considered, it is not what the beginner would think of, which would be the pins at the end of the lane.

Rather, pin placement refers to having pins drilled into a bowling ball with the intent of counteracting lane conditions that could be unfavorable to the bowler. Before this is even thought of, usually changing the bowling ball that is used is the first step. It could be the finish on the ball is too dull or too polished. When a bowler has tried all of these adjustments and is playing the same lane consistently, with no results, it may be time for pin placement. 

The pin of the bowling ball is the notch that points to the top of the core that is inside the bowling ball. The core is what gives the ball its weight. In order to keep the core perfectly in the center of the ball, a pin is used to hold it in place, until the ball has become absolutely solid. After that, the pin is removed, as the ball can support its own core. As a result, there is a very thin, small hole that has to be filled. Even when extracted and filled perfectly, where the pin was is still visible upon inspection.

The pin placement in regards to the finger holes, or positive axis point, allows some bowlers to get past some lane conditions that would otherwise be unfavorable. An example is if the pin is 3 inches from the finger hole on the right, it may cause the ball to favor backend play. If in the center of the finger holes, the ball will have even more backend play. This would not be good if the player already had considerable backend play when they roll the ball. The extra speed could keep the ball from hooking the right way and ruin the potential for a strike.

Pro bowling stores have different drilling patterns at their disposal and would be happy to explain how each pattern would affect each ball. Pin placement definitely is important to think about as a serious bowler. Proper pin placement and correct technique can bring very positive changes to a bowler’s game. Conversely, using a ball that was modified or built in a way that does not favor the lanes it is used on can ruin a game very quickly.

The absolute best place to find out what is best for a particular bowler, ball and lane is the local professional bowling store. The salespeople are there to ask questions of and share their extensive knowledge. Even the most experienced players stand something to learn at the bowling shop. The sales rep will likely be the one to do the drilling as well, making it essential to find out as much as possible from them. The busier the shop, the more knowledgeable the staff will probably be.

It is surprising to some that pin placement has nothing to do with the pins that bowlers knock down. Once pin placement is investigated, however, it becomes obvious exactly how important it is for a great game of bowling.

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