Well, for those that require instant gratification, the answer is an emphatic yes. For those who want to be convinced, read on and make your own conclusion.
Now for an explanation…
I can tell you from an immediate experience how obvious this became to me. I have thrown other bowlers’ equipment here and there to test. There are a couple of bowlers that have near identical spans and pitches so we got that part out of the way. Most of the time, I found myself matching up pretty well to the equipment that I tried out. Then a few weeks ago, I tried my friend’s recently drilled equipment. He drilled his stuff for tournament play. For the first time, I could not throw his stuff! It was so frustrating. The ball reaction of each ball was so over/under, it was ridiculous. If I wasn’t cognizant of the drilling, I could have easily rated the equipment horribly. But knowing that the drilling was not conducive to my bowling style or that particular condition, I couldn’t really comment much.
Now you might say how could this be. I’ve spoken many times that coverstock/lane surface is 70% of ball reaction. The rest is related to core characteristics. What does this mean? Well think about it. Drilling is related to the core characteristics. That means that you can alter a substantial amount of that 30%. Here’s a plug for your local pro shop. Your success really is in their hands and heads. They need to understand your game, what you bowl on, and the equipment to get you the best ball reaction. They are the experts, give them a chance to help you and you will not be disappointed.
So how to understand drilling? Well it’s really not that easy to be honest. I mean conceptually, it’s not too bad but takes some time. There have always been two ways that drillers talk about drilling. One is with lengths and one is with angles. It took me a little while to get used to personally, but eventually I much preferred the dual angle method as it’s easier to understand the concepts of drilling and its effect. While he is not the first to use it, Mo Pinel popularized the concept.
OK, let’s dig into this a bit. Firstly, if you want to read the full details as written by Mo, here is the link for the Dual Angle Layout Technique. What I want to do here is give you the high level concepts to make this a little more understandable. I’m not here to teach you how to drill but rather better understand what your driller is doing for you.
There are 3 fundamentals to the concept:
1. the drilling angle
2. pin to PAP distance
3. angle to VAL
Take a look at the ball below and we will use this for the example:
That’s the 75 degrees in the picture above. This angle is created by three points or two intersecting lines. For the drilling angle, it is from the PAP (positive axis point) to the pin to the CG (center of gravity) or Mass Bias if it’s an asymmetrical ball. This angle should be between 10 and 90 degrees. What does it do? Well, the smaller this angle, the earlier the ball will want to get into a roll. The larger the angle, the later the ball will get into a roll. This is particularly important. Think about it. If you throw slow, you want the ball to delay getting in a roll otherwise you will lose all kinds of energy. If you throw slow and you throw a ball drilled with a small drilling angle, don’t be surprised if the ball is over/under. Conversely, if you throw fast and have a very large angle, don’t be surprised when the ball seems like a turd.
Pin to PAP Distance
This dictates flare potential. A ball naturally has flare potential because the mass in the center is not circular. That means depending where you put your fingers in the ball in relation to the core, the ball will rotate towards a stable point and as it moves from the unstable point to a stable point, you will see oil rings. So for a symmetrical ball, 3-4 inches will create the largest flare. Farther or closer will be “more stable” meaning less flare. For asymmetrical balls, anything over 3 inches or so will create large amounts of flare. Another factor in flare is how many revs you generate so keep this in mind if you and your friend have the same drilling but different amounts of flare.
Angle to VAL
This is the 35 degrees in the picture above. This angle is created between the PAP, Pin, and VAL (vertical axis line). The impact of this one is a little more complicated than the others. The angle should be between 20 and 70 degrees. The lower the Angle to VAL, the quicker it will rev up and transition faster at the breakpoint. You’re lowering the RG and increasing the differential. The higher the Angle to VAL, the slower it will rev up and slower, smoother transition at the breakpoint. Think of this as increasing the RG and lowering the differential.
That’s a lot of information, now what?
Well there’s a lot more to this like the ration between the two angles, the sum of the two angles, etc. It’s a lot to take in so let’s slow down.
Basically, if you are speed dominant, you will likely prefer lower Drilling and VAL angles. If you are rev dominant, you will likely prefer the opposite. If you are matched, you will have flexibility, but the driller will still need to know your PAP, speed, what conditions you bowl on etc. to match you up to the best drilling.
Here’s a test: What type of bowler do you think the above ball was driller for?