What do the Colored Dots on a Bowling Ball Mean?

Getting yourself familiar with the items used in Bowling is the first thing you need to know before diving into the gameplay itself. At least that’s what most bowling novices did when first starting with the sport, and so we’re going to introduce you to the main instrument used in Bowling: the bowling ball.

You might have seen and wondered what the colored dot is found on the bowling ball and why it’s there. This is actually the ball’s ‘pin,’ which is an important mark for players to determine how to throw the ball effectively into the lane to achieve the ball motion they want.

What is a Bowling Ball Pin?

Marking the top of the bowling ball’s core is a colored dot called the ‘pin.’ Knowing its location gives the player an idea of where the ball wishes to rotate. After a certain amount of time after being thrown, the ball eventually rotates around it, with the pin either on top of the ball or facing down on the lane.

Usually, a 60 feet long bowling lane does not give enough time for the ball to shift its rotation around the pin if we assume it’s thrown at a moderate speed, but regardless, the ball is always trying to do so. Knowing this gives you an immediate advantage, given that you can manipulate the placement of your holes for your own benefit.

How is it Made?

Marking the bowling ball’s pin is crucial for manufacturers because they must ensure that it is placed accurately. To do so, they have to precisely place the cores of the ball at the middle by suspending the core in stationary as the mold continues to harden.

As soon as it completely stiffens, they remove the small pin and fill in the hole with a color that is in contrast to the entire ball. That is the colored dot you see on the bowling balls’ surface.

Also, another marking on the middle of the pin will tell you where the center of gravity is. Most of the time, this does not have any drastic effect on the ball’s motion, except for highly skilled bowlers. Both the pin and the center of gravity are the ball drillers’ references to know where to drill holes on the ball.

Bowling Ball Pin Placement

The pin placement determines the distance from the ball’s core and its center of gravity. Depending on how far they are from each other, it reflects the ball’s lane reaction.

Shorter pins at 0-1 inches far, rolls up on the lane faster with a smoother arc as it rolls towards the pocket. On the other hand, longer pins at around 4 inches and beyond roll farther down the lane before it starts to have an arching motion towards the pocket.

The longer pins are also known for having a more exaggerated movement towards the pins, which is somewhat similar to a hockey stick shape. The 2 to 4 inches long pins are debatably the best choice to layout. This is because it enables ball drillers to control the ball’s roll-up either later or earlier, depending on their preference.

Difference Between Pin Up and Pin Down Layouts

Compared to pin down layouts, Pinup layouts go off the breaking point a lot faster and are better in pattern depending on the location of the pin to PAP or the positive axis point. On the contrary, pin-down layouts focus the weight block onto your palm more, resulting in lesser flare rings on the ball.

The weight holes cause high flare and add to its differential and balance to achieve a certain ball reaction. It is recommended for those without any weight holes to choose between aggressive asymmetrical weight blocks or, for symmetrical balls, layouts with a closer distance between pin and PAP.

Because the ball’s reaction is not very aggressive, pin-down layouts allow players to remain in one area and give you a more controllable and slower ball reaction. For flat patterns, starting with pin-down balls on a straight angle would showcase better results because of its smooth motion.

Pinup layouts are more suitable for oil patterns that are higher and longer, like sports shots and house shots. These balls react hard enough and are a better choice for a deeper play.

What is a Positive Axis Point (PAP)?

The PAP refers to the point on the ball that is of the exact same distance as the point of the track. If you look at the ring of oil around the ball and see a spot that is equidistant from every piece, then that is your PAP.

Every bowler differs in their Positive Axis Points, and the imitation of this for bowlers is simply detrimental. A complementary relationship between your pin and your PAP enables you to maximize the potential of your ball. Besides, the last thing you want to happen is to have a drilling layout that puts the pin in a bad location from your PAP.

The placement determines the ball’s reaction. This is something that should suit your style because just because a certain layout works for other players doesn’t immediately mean that it suits you as well.

Importance of Pin Placement

For best results, the balls’ natural reaction to the lane should complement the drilling pattern you choose of the ball itself. For instance, even if the ball is drilled to roll up later, it will do so earlier if it has a short pin.

In this case, you would need to push harder and go the extra mile to achieve desired ball motion. It is important to choose the right pin distance and drilling that go with one another to ensure smoother throws and better scores.

Final Words

Basically, the colored dots on bowling balls will tell you where it’s more likely to rotate. The ball’s rotation is important to ensure that it goes straight to your target.