Recently, I came across an interesting piece of software. Since I already have Digitrax which was licensed to Ebonite, I was curious about this new software they have developed. On the surface, it seems aimed at the pro shops and ultimately intended to help sell Ebonite International brand bowling balls. However, it is still fascinating in it’s own right so wanted to touch on it for those who haven’t heard of it yet.
So what is it?
Ebonite Blueprint is a software intended to allow the ball driller to evaluate the ball reaction for a given bowler prior to ever actually punching any holes in an actual ball. In simple terms, you use this computer software to virtually punch holes in a given ball, tell the computer detailed specs about a bowler and the lane condition and it will then draw a ball reaction for you. It’s sort like getting a CATS reading but not off of an actual toss, but a simulated one.
How does it do this?
- First, it needs to be told very specific information about the bowler. This includes a detailed drilling sheet, your speed, tilt, rotation, rev rate, etc.
- Second, it needs to have information about the condition. It has a bunch of preset conditions including typical house shots and sport shots.
- Third, it needs to have very detailed specifications for the bowling balls. It’s clear the the bowling specs, including RG, differential, mass bias, exact weight, pin to CG distance, top weight, surface data, and coverstock final finish, are critical to getting this right.
Here’s the catch. It’s preloaded with Ebonite International balls and only them. This means Ebonite, Columbia, Track, and Hammer. This is where the system is held back from very broad use. I see it as a very clear way to help market Ebonite International equipment. I can’t blame them at all but I have to just temper my enthusiasm as a neutral observer by this fact. It would mean I would get no use out of this software if my student did not have current Ebonite bowling balls or weren’t considering a new Ebonite International bowling ball. It also comes at a steep cost to pro shops or other potential buyers when considering its limitations.
Once you enter the bowler information, this is stored in the program. Now, you select a ball from the lineup and virtually punch it up. The user will enter the specs for a drilling, say 50 x 5 x 50. The program will then drill it and tell you if the static weights are still legal. It will also show you the affect of the drilling on the RG, differential, and mass bias. So you can see if the drilling has decreased or increased the differential, for example. You can drill weight holes as needed. You can change depths of holes, etc. One particularly interesting aspect was being able to see the change in pin location based on drilling. What we don’t realize, particularly with assymetrical cores, is that the pin, or the top of the weight block, can actually shifts when the ball is drilled. So you may have intended to drill a ball with a 5 inch pin to PAP distance, but the pin could move as far as an inch, leaving you with a 6 inch pin to PAP. Now, the driller can see that impact before putting holes in a ball to ensure they get the specs they intended.
Once the ball is “drilled”, you can just select the ball you want to drill and the condition you will bowl on. Then you will select the laydown board, launch speed, target, etc. Then the system draws a ball reaction for you. It can also take into account the level of the bowler using standard deviations to show you the variations in ball reaction over several tosses. Then, you can compare different bowling balls. The view is endless really.
Further thoughts to consider…
There is a demo of the software available at powerhousebowling.com. I haven’t downloaded it yet, but one of my readers did. He mentioned that he tried 2 substantially different drillings and saw little change in the overall ball reaction. I can imagine this observation will be pretty typical. I mean how different can a software demonstrate a relatively small change on a scale version of a lane that is max, 8 inches on your screen?? In the end, a substantial amount of knowledge is required to put this software to use. It doesn’t take into account that if you drill a low speed, high rev bowler Drilling and VAL angles that add up to less than 50, that ball will likely have a pretty awful ball reaction; not on a single shot, but from shot to shot. That’s because the bowler is not a machine. So the software might tell you here’s what a single ball reaction will look like to hit the pocket. It could also tell you how many balls thrown may be scattered based on standard deviation, but it doesn’t account for the fact that when a bowler sees a certain ball reaction, they make adjustments. When a ball over reacts, we do something to adjust and that tends to lead to an over/under in the example I gave specifically. So here, this bowler may be able to get one ball to do this for real with this drilling, but will hate how hard he/she will have to work to hit the pocket with any frequency. An experienced ball driller would know not to put you in that drilling.
It would be even more interesting if it showed that your error rate would increase because the drilling is not appropriate for the bowler type, but I doubt it’s that sophisticated.
This looks to be a pretty sophisticated software and very interesting. I think it’s quite visionary and is a good marketing tool to drive increased market share for Ebonite International. On the merits, it offers something never seen before. I think it can only be effectively used by an experienced ball driller, coach, or bowler. Seeing some lines on a computer screen is not going to help the average bowler feel like they will like or not like a bowling ball’s reaction when they actually throw it. However, their driller could get a better sense if the bowler will like the reaction or not. From a neutral perspective, it’s unfortunate that it is limited to one group of balls. I have to imagine that Ebonite International is banking on the assumption that if a pro shop operator spends the money on this software, they will likely steer bowlers towards balls they can visualize using this software.
To check it out, go to PowerHouseBowling.com.