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How Hidden Technology Transformed Bowling
- Published on Sep 24, 2021 veröffentlicht
- Bowling has been reinvented many times over the past seven thousand years but especially in the last 30. This is the fascinating physics of balls, oil, lane and pins. A portion of this video was sponsored by Salesforce. Go to salesforce.com/veritasium to learn more.
Huge thanks to Steve Kloempken and all of Storm Bowling for letting us visit and get a glimpse into the crazy world of bowling.
Huge thanks to legends Chris Barnes and Pete Weber for taking the time to bowl with us.
Huge thanks to Creative Electron for their help with getting the bowling balls X-rayed. Check out their work here: creativeelectron.com/
Thanks to Ron Hatfield and James Freeman for their help with research. Check out their great book, Bowling Beyond the Basics: ve42.co/HatfieldFreeman
Thanks to the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) and Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) for their help with accessing archival data and footage.
Special thanks to Rod Cross for physics consultation.
Thanks to Bill Guszczo for giving us the idea to make this video in the first place.
Freeman, James, and Ron Hatfield. Bowling beyond the Basics: What's Really Happening on the Lanes, and What You Can Do about It. BowlSmart, 2018. -- ve42.co/HatfieldFreeman
N. Stremmel, P. Ridenour and S. Sterbenz. “Identifying the Critical Factors That Contribute to Bowling Ball Motion on a Bowling Lane.” United States Bowling Congress, 2008. -- ve42.co/BallMotionASQ
USBC Equipment Specifications and Certification Team. “Ball Motion Study: Phase I and II Final Report.” United States Bowling Congress, 2008. -- ve42.co/USBCBallMotion
Brettingen, Patrick, and Nicki Mours. “USBC static weight limits remain relevant.” United States Bowling Congress, 2011. -- ve42.co/USBCStaticWeight
Article on lane oil origins -- ve42.co/OilOrigins
Luna, Richard. “Bruce Pluckhahn says there's a little bit of bowling…” United Press International Archives, 1984. -- ve42.co/BowlingHistory
Johnson, Brody D. “The Physics of Bowling: How good bowlers stay off the straight and narrow.” St. Louis University. -- ve42.co/JohnsonPhysicsPpt
Talamo, Jim. “The Physics of Bowling Balls.” -- ve42.co/TalamoPhysicsPpt
Thompson, Ted. “Breakdown and Carrydown - Then and Now.” Kegel. 2012. -- ve42.co/ThompsonKegel
Frohlich, Cliff. “What Makes Bowling Balls Hook?” American Journal of Physics, vol. 72, no. 9, 2004, pp. 1170-1177., doi.org/10.1119/1.1767099. -- ve42.co/FrohlichHook
Article on bowling’s ranking in participatory sports -- ve42.co/BowlingRank
Speranza, Dan, and Dave Nestor. “Initial Oil Absorption Results.” United States Bowling Congress, 2016. -- ve42.co/USBCOilAbsorption
D. Benner, N. Mours, and P. Ridenour. “Pin Carry Study: Bowl Expo 2009.” United States Bowling Congress, 2009. -- ve42.co/USBCPinCarry
Hopkins, D. C., and J. D. Patterson. “Bowling Frames: Paths of a Bowling Ball.” American Journal of Physics, vol. 45, no. 3, 1977, pp. 263-266., doi.org/10.1119/1.11005. -- ve42.co/HopkinsPath
Normani, Franco. “The Physics of Bowling.” Real World Physics Problems. -- ve42.co/NormaniPhysics
Horaczek, Stan. “The insides of pro bowling balls will make your head spin.” Popular Science, 2020. -- ve42.co/HoraczekSpin
House shot oil pattern -- ve42.co/HouseOil. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0.
Special thanks to Patreon supporters: Andrew, Diffbot, Micah Mangione, MJP, Gnare, Nick DiCandilo, Dave Kircher, Edward Larsen, Burt Humburg, Blake Byers, Dumky, Evgeny Skvortsov, Meekay, Bill Linder, Paul Peijzel, Mac Malkawi, Michael Schneider, Big Badaboom, Ludovic Robillard, Jim buckmaster, fanime96, Juan Benet, Ruslan Khroma, Robert Blum, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Vincent, Marinus Kuivenhoven, Alfred Wallace, Clayton Greenwell, Michael Krugman, Cy 'kkm' K'Nelson, Sam Lutfi, Ron Neal
Written by Derek Muller and Emily Zhang
Animations by Mike Radjabov and Ivy Tello
Filmed by Derek Muller, Trenton Oliver, and Emily Zhang
Edited by Trenton Oliver
SFX by Shaun Clifford
Additional video supplied by Getty Images
Music from Epidemic Sounds
Produced by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev, and Emily Zhang
Comments • 9 056
I thought I was bad at bowling personally, but now I know I'm bad at bowling scientifically. Thanks!
Why not both!
@ThisIsRalph You ruined it.
@WiZarD You ruined his reply.
Heh, me too! I wish I had known as a kid that there was a possible future in coaching the actual talented people!
Two-handed bowling is the best.
As someone who has bowled all their life, this is by far the best explained, most accurate, representation of the factors that affect the game. Well done to the Veritasium team.
And he got Pete Weber and Chris Barnes to talk bowling!!! That's like having Sandy Koufax and Fernando Valenzuela in your daggum Clip-Share video
He even got the LT-48 in there!!
I don't think so. He didn't talk about beer.
I like how stressed Weber gets when asked to bowl on the dry lane.
his cocky demeanor and swagger has only been surpassed by buddy rich😆
it's probably like nails on a chalkboard to him. painful.
Why does a guy like Weber have to stay in that I’m a hard guy attitude, why would he think this guy is thr to bust his 🏀⚽️⚾️ no he’s thr learning about a sport or hobby that he is great at. So just answer a question or just do whatever the guy needed you to do. It’s like he asked him to bowl a 300 on a lane that wasn’t oiled
I think he was just confused about why they wanted him to do it. If they had said, "We just want you to do it so our viewers can see the difference between a lane that's oiled and one that isn't," he might have been like, "Oh! Sure."
@All American Slacker He obviously know they are doing this for a video, the whole damn crew is back there but he still didn't want it to look bad on him lol
As I was cleaning out my mothers house after she died, I was really surprised by her bowling trophies. I never once saw her bowl, or do anything “sporting.” But apparently she had a 175 league average and a 200-something game. But his was in the late 60’s. After watching this video, I’m even more impressed.
175 is great - one of the goals in league bowling (back when i did it long ago) was to average a 500 "series" (score over the three games).... basically 166/167 per game. Well done mom! With a 175 average she would have bowled many 200+ games.
I know an older gentleman that averaged 201 back in the late 60s. Newspapers came to interview him and take pictures. 175 was a very good average back then.
And to think, she did it without the technology of today 😎 .
Bowling was much harder back then. There was one type of ball and pins were usually heavier. My father was a PBA member in 65 and 66. His league bowling average was 198, which was practically unheard of back then.
I love how the pro bowler was practically insulted by Derek's request that he try bowling on the unoiled lane.
yeah, you could tell he was bothered by not hitting a strike, right after he seemed almost mad. 😂 Mans got it down to a science, and asked to essentially miss on purpose.
Totally. Really put me off the guy. It's for science dude, not ego polishing.
I think you guys mis interpreted. I don’t think he was mad just that for him the results were so obvious that it seemed silly to do. I imagine it’s like asking a physicist to drop something so we can observe this “gravity” they’re talking about….
@No adv my degree is in physics and applied physics. Had to drop things all the time to test and measure gravity hahaha but I know what you mean.
This is absolutely wild. The idea that the technology behind bowling is as advanced as it is is fascinating and makes me rethink the sport. Different oil patterns, different balls, different internals, different surface materials. Awesome!
Lesson learned: next time I go bowling, I'll ask the facility what their oil patterns are to optimize my strategy, and then after making a big show of that, subsequently lose.
They usually have the house pattern online, and it's dead easy. Stand left, throw right.
If you're finding it hard to get enough spin. I started throwing 2handed like Jason Belmonte and it really improved my game.
As is tradition!
Then ask to raise the bumpers.
before every throw, you gotta bend down and look down the lane with a face as if you know what you're looking at
I worked evenings in a bowling alley in 1978 & 79 and learned lots of things that were surprising. One was the cost for fire insurance for a building filled with lanes made of oak, surfaced with 7 coats of lacquer, and kept oiled daily with a light coating of oil. All of these were quite flammable which made the insurance bill the largest expense that owners had. I was involved with laying the 7 coats of lacquer during that time and was very happy once we had finished because we pulled 1 coat every 4 hours with the fans turned off which meant the air became heavy with the vapors. As the years passed and balls were made from new materials, the lanes were made out of nonflammable materials coated with safer coatings.
Can't believe you did all this stuff with Storm and didn't once mention how they make their bowling balls scented. Each model has its own scent (vanilla, cinnamon, apple, etc.)
That's the reason I stopped using their gear. The pong!
Mine smells like blueberries and is dark blue.
@R. J. Martin ngl kinda want one to smell like blueberries. I've got an old one that used to smell like "Pear Berry" and the 2 current ones I use smell like cake and orange cream soda (though to me it smells more like root beer)
I can't think of few things more annoying than smelly bowling balls. So I know the brand to avoid now.
After rolling, will you be smelling some cooking oil?
When I was a kid, my neighbor use to take us bowling. Maureen was a big lady, and when she would roll the ball down the lane, the pins would jump out of the way of her ball. I can’t count how many 300 games she had but it was in the thousands. She could’ve been a pro, but she loved being a stay at home mom. Bowling was just a hobby for her.
I used to bowl a lot and in 28 minutes you have explained the game and technology very well. Kudos.
Getting to bowl with Big Pete is a peak experience
He really did not want to throw a bad strike on that dry lane.
It really sounded like playing on a dry lane is blasphemy and would land you in hell.
Probably the first gutterball he had thrown in years.
Yeah he looked almost offended.
He shuddered to think there'd be video of him throwing a gutter ball
Wars have been started over dry lanes
This is awesome and super interesting. I'd love to see the same analysis done on disc golf... recently took that up as a hobby and the way disc edge shapes affect aerodynamics and flight paths are really incredible.
I used to be on a bowling league and went to tournaments, and you nailed this video! A lot of the stuff you mentioned were the same stuff my coaches would always talk about. Your form and consistency is the biggest, no ball is gonna fix bad aim lol
I watched this a year ago as a non-bowler and was fascinated. Now a year later I joined my first league and have become obsessed with learning more to get better, knowing much more on the subject I watched it again and am so impressed with how accurate the information is and how well organized it is for non-bowlers to understand. Love your videos, keep up the great work!
I'm impressed. As an experienced engineer, I thought I was going to get bored with this topic in the first minute.
Your presentation is OUTSTANDING!!
I would never have thought that technology like this would have been used, and all for a series of cascading reasons.
How do you know when somebody is an engineer? Just wait, they'll tell you.
Honestly this might be my favourite Veritassium video I’ve seen. I love the exploration of all aspects of bowling technique and technology. I never knew most of it before and tbh its increased by interest in bowling as a sport. Interesting topic and Very well executed, the perfect combination for an excellent and enjoyable video
I feel like this should become a series. I would definitely watch more deep dives into sports like this.
I wanna see one about tennis. Specifically why its scoring system is so fucked up.
How Hidden Technology Transformed Rochambeau
@Blood Bath and Beyond - Pop Goes Metal Covers We need to see Derek's demonstrations on that one!
Fascinating! My bowling ball is a gyro-balanced 'Don Carter Gyro 2'. It's now 49 years old! I bought it and had it fitted in 1974 when I was 18 years old, and it cost me £21 back then. I've rarely used it since the end of the 70s. I'm old school and prefer manual projection scoring on league games.
The angle-of-attack breakdown at 8:30 in this video explains why I've never been good at bowling strikes. I always rolled a very straight ball. I could hit the 1-3 pocket pretty consistently, but the strike was still kind of rare. So a common game for me was 10 spares plus whatever that final ball was. And as such, I've never broken 200, yet there was a span when I'd routinely score in the 170-190 range.
What bowling balls do you use?
I'm a pinchaser and mechanic for an 18 lane Brunswick converted-A2 pinsetter alley. I was really hoping for some dive into the world behind the masking unit. Take the trip through the mechanics door, walk down the isle of improvision, and take in the mechanical wonders and principals that have also majorly impacted the sport of bowling.
As a Bowling Center mechanic since the early 80's I can tell you ABC ( American Bowling Congress) allowed us to change the way we oiled the lanes, it use to be no more than 3 units difference between each board of the lane or the award score did not pass and you had to oil the lane so far down. They changed it to allow us to do shorter oil patterns and then quit checking altogether after award scores were shot. Once they quit checking everyone changed the oil patterns to a "blocked shot" which is usually hardly any oil on first 10 boards of the lane then a large wall in the middle of lane so the ball rolls along the wall to the end of the oil then hooks into the pocket. It is like rolling your ball on a railroad track to the pocket. They still use blocked shots almost everywhere today. A blocked shot makes it super easy to score high, yes the bowling ball technology has increased since the 80's. I will tell you this , put out a difficult pattern where it is more a crown shot with no more than 3 units of oil difference between each board and most bowlers averages will drop by as much as 30 pins a game. In the end making the game easier was the death of the sport as most bowling alleys have closed in this area, there use to be 4 more than there is today and league bowling is at a all time low even before covid.
I would argue that it was reactive resin that allowed scores to soar like they did in the 90's and not house shots. However, your point about sport and "crowned" shots are valid. You put a 2-0 average league bowler on a sport shot and they get humbled really quick. Even with that said scores are still too high due to ball technology, some houses are actually drying out the lanes to keep scores down because a lot of people can adjust "downward" which is why urethane is making such a comeback, and why the ABC is talking about not allowing resin/urethane changes mid set.
Also what "killed" the sport wasn't scores being too high, it was matter of cost for houses. Say you have a 30 lane house in 2023, more than likely all of your equipment is probably from the 80's, and to retro-fit into new pin setters, ball returns, and scoring equipment costs over 1mil, you simply aren't going to re-coupe that cost at $3.00 a game and $25.00 line fees. So what happens? You start to have breakdowns, and you start to have issues with ball damage, and unreliable setters etc etc, so your leagues leave, so you have to start relying on open bowlers, which means you have to add things like "glow bowling" which further distracts from league priorities, combine that with the rise of corporate "houses" like Lucky Strike (who don't care about shot quality, in favor of making things look shiny) and houses die.
In 1980, I was 18 and moved from the youth leagues to adult leagues. That year, the highest average in the men leagues just barely broke 200, he was a regional pro. He was also the only one who had rolled a 300 in our area. The top 20 bowlers averaged between 180 to 200. I was fortunate to have a good mentor, so I was averaging in the low 180’s. Those scores are a joke now, but those top 5-10 bowlers were damn good bowlers. Unfortunately, I am no longer able to bowl and didn’t get to experience the blocked lanes and the reactive resin balls. It makes wonder if I could still bowl today if I would have been averaging in the 2 teens and shooting 3s. I sure do miss it. 🙁
Sport bowling is bigger than it's ever been and the scores are higher than they've ever been and that's on shots harder than what you're saying. AVG house bowlers and you are correct.
Humans true super power.....taking something simple and making it as complicated as possible.
I know it would be a nightmare for the lane owner, but it would be really neat to use dyed oil to see how the pattern smears over time.
Some professional tournaments actually use dyed oil. You should check it out. :)
Also a nightmare for the hands and clothing of the bowlers
@Jon Wick No kidding? I’ll definitely try finding some pictures and videos. Thanks!
To go along with what Jon Wick said, if you look up PBA tournaments on Clip-Share you will see that they use an oil with a blue hue to it for the people watching to better understand the oil pattern on the lane.
@Steven Z Wow, this shows how long it's been since I've seen any pro bowling. haha 😅
That's also why pros will have strike and spare balls. Strike balls are meant to try to curve and hit the six degree angle, while there are quite a few balls that have a perfectly spherical core, so they curve very little. This allows much more accuracy, especially when you want to hit just one leftover pin (or if the pin is on the edges, and you can't curve it, or it would go in the gutter)
Please do this for disc golf!!!! There is so much physics behind the sport and it would be wonderful to see a deep dive from you! Loved this video
I was familiar with some of these concepts, and i do throw curving balls, but this is much more detail than i knew. I usually try to aim for roughly the kind of curve shown here, but adapt to the conditions of the lane as i discover it through the first series. I've had 3 games in the 220s with standard house balls, and i suspect the lane conditions were very good coupled with a decent amount of luck on top of good shape those days.
I don't bowl competitively or in any league, so i suspect my scores are dominated by the dice of public bowling lane oiling and the state of the house balls that day. In general I've found low friction (too much oil or smooth balls) to be my main problem. Though i did once bowl on an almost dry lane, which was horrible and no matter how calmly i tried to spin the ball it always went in the left gutter. When there's way too much oil in the "dry zone", i move the initial position of my curve further right, and possibly even slow down the speed of my ball. In the other case of a dry oiled section i move longer left and throw harder or put less spin on the ball.
When I was a kid my dad rolled 17 strikes in league play, and did not get a 300 game. He got a trophy for a .733 winning percentage, I think. The whole alley stopped after the streak got long, imagine being that close to two three hundred games in a row and just missing both cause of the timing of the steak. Had he gotten that 300 they'd have put his name above the alley, much like Get Smart, he was that close.
Have bowled since age 5 and now that I'm old and disabled, I find I really miss going out for a few games now and then. Almost as much as I miss running. C'est la vie!
Try a quest 2 with fore bowling. Can play Sat down and feels great!
I'm honestly surprised there's room in the bowling industry for 11 manufacturers. Insane.
Which is actually really good for competition and innovation. I wish more sports, or product categories in general, had such vibrant competition.
Every small poor city of the world has at least one alley, someone must provide
11 on different parts of the world, those 11 monopolise the market where they are located, check earlier bits of this where he mentions it,
The world is a pretty big place, my guy. Yeah, pro bowling isn't that big, but a lot of people bowl.
A friend of mine did Beer bowling every tuesday when studying on university: Each missed pin...was a beer. He told me after say 2 turns missing several pins everyhthing went exponentially worse from there and after 1.5 hours or so You definetaly needed 2 lanes AT LEAST!! Making the 6 degree approach angle very easy ..( on your neigbhours lane 🤣🤣🤣)
The bowling alley owner was always prepared on tuesdays...
Great explanation of how much bowling balls have changed. No question that people are bowling better now. That Weber guy is amazing. When he was getting 300's, people would only get them very rarely.
Great video! Glad I found it. On my first 300 game, I went to the lanes late in the morning, asked for the freshly oiled "virgin" lanes, asked for a few practice shots, started my game and kept throwing strikes. I took a break halfway through the game, talked to the attendant, he said start adjusting the hook & slightly slow the throw while reducing the spin, it worked! I got to frame 10 & the final throw was pretty slow but the 10 pin shook a little & fell. I went to collect my game score printout! 😁
Good one! I knew there was more to the discipline than a ball thrown down the lane but never cared enough to research it. You brought it packaged and placed a bow on it, thanks brother.
Keep on keeping!
Bowling's cool because it's one of the few sports out there where the governing body doesn't try and suppress innovation.
The oldest sport with the most flexible meta.
It don't? So... No more counter holes, or "two handers" not being allowed to have three holes in the ball isn't messing with innovation? The ABC is one of the most out of touch governing bodies in sports.
Years ago, at my office, we had a league bowler who seemed an absolute marvel to the uninitiated. There was a bowling alley across the street, and once in a while after work we'd all go over, ostensibly to bowl, but mostly to watch him.
To his coworkers, he appeared as good or better than the pros on TV, and newcomers would always ask why he himself wasn't up on the screen. He'd laugh and explain how we were all bowling on a "house shot" - i.e., a recreational oil pattern - and that house shots were easier to score on. He said this was no secret, that most regular bowlers were aware of the difference between patterns used for customer play - even league play - and those used for pro play. He assured us that if he had to bowl on pro patterns, we'd soon see the difference between him and the pros.
I think it was pretty classy of him to be honest. I'm afraid that if I had been he, I'd have been tempted to describe myself as an undiscovered Don Carter.
That was well-written and a pleasure to read, thank you.
@Ethan Leapley Thank you very much for taking the trouble to say so.
in 2014 I bowled a game at the local alley and got 183 and I thought I was awesome at bowling. Then on a different night they had the lanes oiled like the pros and I bowled 102. The oil is important.
I like to tell people house shot is essentially bumpers for competitive bowling. Sport shot is incredibly more difficult to stay consistent. On house shot you have about 5-6 boards of error, where sport shot you have maybe 2-3 boards to hit to strike. On top of this lane conditions are constantly changing and the only way to know what they are is to bowl and correct it in the next shot, which very well be a different condition due to having other bowlers on the lane. In tournaments you can sometimes have 10-12 people on a pair of lanes (switching lanes every throw). That amount of bowlers, usually at higher rev rates absolutely destroy lane conditions making it almost impossible to throw a consistent shot
@Boomfly There is also a difference in bowling on an end pair. The lane next to the walkway will get goofy oil movement due to the airflow up against a wall. This can cause drastically different shots between the two lanes. Especially if the right lane is the end.
I always wondered what the point of those 4 ball bags was. I just assumed it was so families could go bowling without having 4 different bags. I didn't realize the pros used different balls for different oil patterns. Makes a lot more sense that way.
and it seems you have to be crazy to just look at a lane, and know exactly which ball you will need
I remember growing up and seeing pictures of some of the people in the 900 club and was just in awe how someone could pull that off and how stress filled it must have been to come down to the remaining frames in the last game.
36 consecutive strikes is insane.
From 1973 to 1977 I was a Brunswick Automatic Pinsetter mechanic at a bowling alley near Pittsburgh. Sometimes in the afternoon I'd work behind the counter when the little old ladies leagues were bowling. The only three hundreds that I saw were an occasional 300 total for a three-game series.
My grandfather bowled several 300 games in his long life, but he was always part of a local bowling team/league. Whenever I visited we'd all go to the bowling alley and bowl. But I have a weird thumb so your general balls are hard for me to throw, short thumb, very wide it would always get stuck inside the thumb hole xD I had a wicked spin when I did release it, it'd go all the way around xD Having fucked up thumbs sometimes helped haha.
The most important factor is bowler applied force. How a bowler rolls the ball is more important than what the cover is made of, the core of the ball, the finish of the cover, or even the oil on the lanes.
I love how offended he was when you asked him to make the bad shot on purpose. The man loves his job for sure.
"can you shoot it how you would on the oil, but on the dry lane?"
"but its gonna go in the gutter"
"yeah thats what i want"
"...but its gonna go in the gutter"
So hear me out. What if the pro bowler came in on the condition that they wouldn't show him missing a strike. We never see him miss in the video, and the first clip of him throwing they didn't show the ball hitting the pins (because he missed). So that was why Derek (veritasium) kind of hesitated to question if he would throw the ball on the dry lane. And thats why the pro bowler hesitated to throw there.
Saw that too! He is definitely a little bit full of himself but in that video, it looks at least good hearted.
It's like asking an NFL Quarterback to throw the ball end over end just to see what happens, or telling a MLB player to hold the bat upside down... it's just the wrong way to do things.
WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE - I AM!!!
I love how enthusiastic professionals are at this. they get as hyped from a strike as anyone else and I think that's amazing
Played on my high school team. I vaguely knew about most of this stuff before I started but once I learned a lot of the specifics I got significantly better. I’ve technically scored a 300 game with a consecutive 12 strikes just over the course of 2 games. The score of the better game and still my current record is 278. Got it at when I was 20.
This video was absolutely excellent .
Informative , visually engaging and just thoroughly enjoyable to watch.
A sincere "thank you" for having such exemplary knowledge and skill at your craft.
I've always been fairly good at bowling, but never knew what I have learned here today.
Always wondered what could increase my average closer to 300. Curved shots were something I always thought was just like a party trick, no one ever told me it was the difference maker.
weirdly enough the most detailed and well put together Veritasium video I have seen. No clickbaity. Facts felt like a 10 min video. Props. Often you seem arrogant or ill informed even tho your a Physicist but this was very concise and to the point. Big up
As someone who has bowled for 15 years and averages over 220 in league, I want to say this video is incredible! It goes into so much depth but still explains every concept correctly and simply. If you watched this video you know so much more about the science behind the sport than a majority of regular league bowlers. Most bowlers can not tell what the rg on a ball actually means
For me whats missing, is how to improve on the regular bowling alley balls. Like, im never going to buy my own bowling ball, and im never going to bowl league.
What i do from time to time, is bowl on a public alley with some friends. And i guess they use the solid core balls there. Any tipps on those?
@Toffsen100 From now on you can pose questions to the alley staff...."what's the oil pattern used here?"...."do you have the core types documented?" "can you get me a ball with this specific rg?"...
I am sure as hell gonna do all of the above and still roll my ball in the gutter HAHAHAHA....and then loudly proclaim that the 'cores are off here' HAHAHA
@Omni Curious my dad works at amf!
most players of most games don't know anything about the calculations and science behind their game.
@Keshuel The funny part is that they know a ton about the game but nothing at the same time
This video explains what I think most of us have wondered about those crazy bowling balls (eg., why some shots look awesome and get strikes, others are just blah). It's not silly for a weekender to pick out "favourite" balls when bowling. thanks for posting! :D
Been bowling for almost 50 years now. Just learned more about the ball, the lane, and how best to use them in the last 28 min than I did in all 50 of those years. Haha. Wicked cool!
i knew most of this but could never explain it as articulate as you did. I sent this video to my son who is great bowler and said the is the most amazing bowling video explaining the physics, theory and technique I've ever seen. Amazing job Sir. I'm born and raised St. Louis and followed Pete and his Dad Dick.
I love this game! My favorite passtime sport. Grew up playing in leagues pretty much all my life. It's funny how easily an oil pattern can defeat even the best bowlers. You can easily shoot 20-30 pins under average due to not understanding an oil pattern. Nevermind not using the right bowling ball to begin with. You combine the two, and that's when league bowlers start cussing and drinking more than usual.
I absolutely loved this video, i've been bowling for about 16 years now, and im 19 in a few days, im in a few leagues, including the youth league at my home centre.
It's a YBC bowling league (Youth Bowl Canada) and i went to provincials a few weeks ago, ended up winning with an average of 222 over 6 games, and now im going to nationals to compete Canada wide, and internationals to compete across all of Canada and the United States
it's gonna be a blast
I’m a bowler and the knowledge I’ve accumulated over 2 years is condensed into a 28 min video. This would have been helpful when I started 😂. Awesome video
It seems like after moving to Europe from the USA, a lot of my team getting out events have involved bowling. It’s always kind of weird to realize that bowling isn’t just like _there_ in the background for everyone. Like, I knew about skid, hook, roll at least in part, because I’ve _seen_ it well before I had to ever do anything of it myself. So, I understand the “ideal” throw even though I couldn’t perform it.
Props to you anyways, bowlers are pretty amazing, and I think it’s an incredible skill, especially since I have some practical experience knowing that I’m not good at it. It’s like watching a speedrun, and going “that looks complicated” but then actually getting into it, and you’re like, “oh wow. This is _way_ harder than I imagined,” and you can come back to the speedruns with a grasp of how things would play out if things weren’t done right.
It definitely feels like this should be required viewing before even just bowling for fun! No wonder I always hated bowling haha
@puellanivis same thing with billiards! Way harder than one would imagine
@DUK 703 same thing with pretty much any skill. There’s much more nuance behind most things than people who aren’t into them can fully comprehend.
@Noah O'Donnell absolutely
Bowling was my favorite sport to take part in as a kid and me finding all of this cool information when I’m older really makes me wanna get back into it.
Being a regular bowler and having my own vlballs, this video helped me understand how bowling is even more
The most important factor for me is usually to find the line between putting too much spin on the ball and too little. My biggest weakness is that Im very inconsistent.
I'm only a minute in but this is going to be one of those treasure YT videos. My company"s holiday party is at a bowling alley on Saturday and I was already pumped but now that the Universe... or the algorithm sent this my way I'm extra fired up to hopefully bowl over 100!!!! I love bowling but have been maybe a dozen times in 41 years
If you bowled over 100 you got lucky lol. He didn't mention house balls don't carry a core so you aren't gonna go hook a house ball into the pocket at 6 degrees like a pro.
@George Finney IV Never hooked a ball or even tried
In that case this video would be totally irrelevant for you my brother !
I've never seen a video about bowling this in-depth. Thank you!
".. We need the oil. If there was no oil, nobody would have fun."
That's the most American thing ever said coincidentally
Damn. This would be hilarious if it wasn’t so true.
American forces proceed to liberate bowling allies to topple the bowling regime
@Mischievous Cow *bowling ball coincidentally crashes into the twin towers just before invasion*
Just wouldn't be fun because they'd all be worse players. Well and the shots wouldn't be impressing too.
They should have a non oil class for those who want more challenge.
Compared to other sports, bowling is relatively easy as it is.
Great video! I'm just getting back into bowling and about to order a new ball. Good to know that I have a better chance at strikes hooking the ball. Keep up the awesome vids!
When I was a kid my aunt had an indoor toy bowling kit with two plastic balls and pins. I finally understand why it sucked so bad: no oil makes bowling a boring chore. His face when he was asked to bowl on an un-oiled lane was the same face we made when my aunt set up the pins up on the carpet. ;)
Try it on the lawn instead. That makes it interesting all over again. ;)
In British pubs people used to play skittles, like a mini version of bowling. You sadly don't see skittle lanes in pubs any more but it was a staple feature once. I haven't seen one for years. We have bowling alleys but they're really base quality.
I,ve been bowling for most of my youth and my entire adult life. I quit about 8 years ago because our local bowling alley shut down. I tried to bowl out of town but it was to much of a hassle. Back then when I purchased a ball, I knew what I wanted the ball to do and how I wanted it drilled. I was pretty good at bowling, with multable 300 games and 800 series games. The technology that came around over the years, made everyone a better bowler. These days it is very common to see a 175 average bowler shoot 300. The 300 game is pretty common all over the U.S. For every 300 bowled in a sanctioned league makes you eligible to buy a gold 300 ring a the market rate of gold. They are fairly expensive. I bowled my first 300 when I was 20 years old and back then, the 300 game was rare so the gold rings were at no charge to the bowler. That is the one that is very special to me because It cost me nothing. every one after that, I had to pay for it if I wanted to. Bowling in a league was like going to church. You would see each other once a week. I have made many friends as a result of bowling but since the closure I hardly see the people I used to bowl with anymore. It was a wonderful time in my life. Oh and by the way your video was outstanding. The best video to date regarding how technology has evolved in the sport.
Last time I went bowling I bowled a pretty good game. I think I threw about 5 or 6 strikes, and knocked down at least 9 pins in every frame if I didn't pickup the spare. I was playing with the lanes balls and I was making no attempts to hook it. Just chuck it a to the right of the center pin as straight as possible. It was a great game and made me think "maybe I should take up bowling in my spare time."
What I got from this was that I got that amazing score using the wrong type of ball and the wrong technique.
Well if I can do that being wrong, I'm not sure I want to be right.
Working around the bowling industry for the last 15 years or so, this actually is the most informative video I've seen on the subject. Plenty of pro shop guys could use to explain things this clearly.
How much cost one bowling ball is??
I agree. All the knowledge I've picked up over years of bowling was summed up so easily
I had no frigging idea bowling science was this involved.
@Arul Jebin D T they vary in price considerably with ‘starter’ plastic balls about $50-$70 the reactive resin sort shown in the video start around $150 but the good ones are $230-$280. If you’re shopping for a ball, alstroemerias keep in mind that the prices you see in bowling center pro shops are often a little higher than what you can order one for, but most shops include the drilling in the price and charge a good chunk to drill balls they didn’t sell.
@Arul Jebin D T depends. Performance of the bowling ball can make them cost around 220-240 at your local shop.
The best video of bowling that I've ever seen. Now I know the science of bowling, I never gave a thought to the difference between bowling balls. This was incredibly informative.
If I had been taught this when I was in grade school I would be a pro-bowler by now.
I seem to remember an episode of Hill Street Blues where Stan Jablonski bowled a perfect game, but it ended up being disqualified because the league examined the lane and found the oil used on the wood caused the ball to be allowed to slide, giving him an unfair advantage. Jabo was furious.
Seems he was just ahead of his time.
Love this video! You should do a scientific video like this analyzing skiing or snowboarding!
This is definitely one of the coolest videos on Clip-Share always wondered these things about bowling and sure learned a ton
My takeaway from the section at the end about advancements in bowling technology is this: I'm getting better at bowling every year without actually bowling. Thanks, science!
The Dude abides! 🎳
@Bruno Recalde OOOOOhhhhhh! A verbal pratfall! Touché! I am wounded!
(sly wink to those following along)
🔹 SERCH ADITYA RATHORE-HE ALSO MAKES INFORMATIVE CONTENT LIKE VERTASIUM
I filled my plastic toy bowling ball 1/3 water and solder closed the hole. Set the plastic pins on the linoleum bathroom floor. The water gave the ball an off center weight and a spin sent the ball skidding across the rug hitting and gripping the bathroom floor right into the classic pocket shot. I figured out bowling ball science around the time they started adding weights inside them. Had the rug as my oil. On snowing winter days we bowled in my home instead of trekking through the snow to the real alley 2 miles away.
as a bowler, seeing non-bowler's be surprised how intricate bowling actually is
Its so crazy that bowling became such a skilled and interesting game just because they wanted to protect the floor. Humanity is beautiful.
Never thought much about the physics of this sport. I assumed it was like a dead straight three point shot, based on mechanics of the release and angles. If one practiced the correct launch, so to speak, they’d be a great bowler. Just like a professional basketball player that can shoot in practice or competition without a defender. They can stroke several in a row. Like Klay Thompson making 24 in a row the other day. Now I see I was way off. Bowling is a true science. That many variables to a strike is crazy! And it seems like pro bowlers just figured out a cheat code. Great vid!
someone made 24 in a row?
Great video. Just wish there was a segment about the creation and explanation of the pins. And then how different angles and contact would be used to hit pins that are split
The production quality exceeds many TV shows at this point! Well done Derek and everyone involved in the production.
Not just many but most. There's a lot of trash on TV.
Fascinating. The only thing you left out is the amount of finger digits that go in the ball (zero, 1, or 2). 2 is what house balls use at alleys. 1 (fingertip) is what most pros use. And zero is those weird folks that don't put their fingers in the ball at all.
Thank you very much for making this video! I have bought alot of bowling balls over the years I bowl a few times a week so im a junkie and the pro shop guy is able to explain some of this stuff but you explained RG perfectly along with alot of other things. I really appreciate the chart of what changes ball motion the most. So much good information here!
I like how the pro bowlers know so little about how bowling works. They're just good at doing it.
I went to a friend’s house tonight and played Wii sports and I absolutely demolished them in bowling because I remembered the technique in this video. Physics really is useful, thanks Veritasium.
Unbelievably fantastic video on everything about... bowling. Life changing!!! Thorough, beautifully presented, produced. Thanks so much!!
As a bowler for 32 years, this video made me extremely happy. I had never had a perfect game in my 32 years until last year. I ended up with three 300 games within a two-month period last year. This sport can make you feel on top of the world, but I've been at some tournaments where nothing went right and it felt like I was wasting money and the worst bowler ever.
Thanks for the great video, Veritasium. And thank you for showing that there's more to our sport than just getting drunk and throwing a ball down the lane :)
well if they’ve reinvented the weight distribution this many times it feels like you’re getting cheated a bit! I feel it should be a singular type allowed
Who do you think you are? I am!!!
dudes legit btw has a 15 year old bowling video on his channel
most people didn’t even youtube existed at that point!
@CosmicMario I sure do! My first YT video was taken at work when I was a pinsetter mechanic at the college I attended :D
sounds a lot like golf in that aspect, it's so hard to be consistent and easy for it all to go sideways and look like your first game
I feel one of my greatest bowling accomplishments is that I managed to get a gutter ball on my first turn of that round with bumpers on
I always just played the sport, I never knew how much science went into it! I'm pleasantly surprised!
I never thought I would want to know the science of bowling but this video peeked my interest. It seems that now I like bowling more!😂😅 good job doing the video, keep at it! You deserve a like
Thank you soooo much for making a video like this to express how technical the sport of bowling can be
Never crossed my mind that bowling could be this technical. Very interesting
Amazing video, it was awesome learning the complexity of a sport that looks "simple"
Joder shadoune q haces aca jaja
A la madre JAJAJAJJA QUE HACES AQUÍ
Did it for years and thought it was too. But never understood why I could not stay consistent even though I was good. Because I never understood the science (and so much of it, my word, I never realized) behind lane condition changing in relation to the ball etc. And I'm quite scientifically minded too, but this was something that never really crossed my mind. When I was doing bad, I would change it up and do better, now I understand why those changes in approach and throw etc. worked. Because I tapped into the right lane condition, unknowingly. Gives a new meaning to being "in the zone" eh?! lol.
@Bill Does Stuff mucho texto xd
Its a lot of research to learn on its own doesnt begin the small adjustments you need to make constantly
I actually started bowling as a hobby because of this video.
Our class once went bowling with our physics teacher.
I had just written my paper (that is an important part for your german "high school" diploma), and my teacher had some questions.
And while we were discussing my enigmatic writing, in between my friends just called "Stefan, your turn", and I went over, hit what was left (we were bowling as team), and went back discussing.
In the moment we were done, and I had time to concentrate on the game, it was all over. It got mediocre.
So obviously it is largely a thing of instinct, of NOT thinking about what to do.
Just to say it, the times I was bowling are probably not more than two hands. Before that event, I think (that is more than 35 years ago) maybe 1 or 2 times.
7:35: It's amazing how accurate some things are that humans do. Modern "shooter" video games are a good example of this. When I was first getting serious about my aim, I started doing things like measuring my sensitivity, how big targets were in respect to mouse movements, etc, and it's astonishing how fine and accurate those movements need to be. Even with a very low sensitivity, it's not uncommon for a person size target at a medium distance to require mouse movements more accurate than a half a millimeter to hit the shot. And considering that this often all unfolds in under a second between noticing the person, snapping the crosshairs on them and then shooting, it's an astonishing thing.
I like the way you think
@Ararix Good news! I have a whole channel devoted to the topic! :D
This is an argument I get into all the time with RC car racers. When talking about things like servo speeds and latency, someone always comes along with "the average human can only..." BS. Problem is, the professionals are NOT average.
@wingracer 16: Yuppers. I suspect you'd sort of "feel" a kind of instant visual feedback if it's anything like the gaming thing. And it IS true, humans can only react so fast, but I have to wonder if maybe the R/C thing is similar where that latency (which IS *far* below human reaction times) is what feels janky or not quite "immediate" or real. A friend and I have actually been working on an aim trainer lately and while playtesting and such, I've realized that even tiny delays for inputs makes it feel super weird. It's almost like you're not quite the one in control, or maybe it feels "sloppy" or less precise maybe? Hard to put into words. All I can say at this point is that even with an ultra high framerate, a bit of input/rendering delay can really reduce how immediate and accurate it feels. It's interesting enough, I'm still considering doing formal research on the topic. It's almost like the brain has a secondary "shortcut" past conscious control for doing very fine, accurate split second decision updates. When shooting in the trainer, even that latency (Which I'd estimate at around 30 to 40 milliseconds total which is like 1/5th typical reaction times) easily cuts my hitrate in half for flick shots that are themselves only around 50 milliseconds total from the start of motion to hitting the shot. It's crazy enough I'm considering doing formal research on the subject. I'd really like to know if we have some secondary "shortcut" in the brain for ultra fast, non conscious decision making or if it's just a case of the lack of feeling immediate just makes it feel confusing or what's going on. In my case, I've actually measured my own reaction time extensively and I CAN push it down to like 180 to 200 milliseconds, but these ultra fast aim corrections are like 5 to 10x as fast which is what kind of boggles my mind. With the racing thing, is it a "feel" sort of thing as well?
Thanks for this vídeo. Common sense adjustments agree with scentific studies. Less oil makes you adjust your throwing more to the center of the lane to hit the pocket. For a dry lanes the aim zone will be narrow and to the center ( mark 10 to 17 right hand and mark 30 to 23 left hand). Two handed throwers need more power and will follow similar aim zone release adjustments. No nightmare , a dry lane is a challenge to make adjustments for pros and amateurs alike. Thanks and have a great bowling day.
the amount of bowling balls that are in dumps is astonishing not to mention how dangerous they are. Had a situation at one of the dumps where one of the loaders ran over one and it shot out like a cannon ball. Now if you are caught dumping one your banned. They stack all of the balls up out front and there are thousands of them.
I remember fondly when my dad told me of a story once when he partook in a perfect game competition back in the '80s which awards the winner a car. He said that the more strikes he got the more judges sat near him to observe his throws. He said that he lost his streak at the tenth throw from the pressure of being observed closely by so many people. Having watched this video, I'm guessing that the factors related oil had more to do with him losing the streak than the pressure. This video gave me a new appreciation for that story
It's so common for people to blame themselves for everything bad that happens to them, when, typically, factors outside of out control influence our failures (and successes) more than we realise.
All we can ever do is give it our best, and hope it works out. There's no point worrying about our past results
Actually maybe it was the pressure . As a bowler too for me it’s really all about the mental game . For the oiling u could adjust to its changes. If every single one of ur shots r consistent it will be easy to predict wat changes to make on the lane(moving right or left), and how the ball will start moving, relative to the oiling pattern and the amount of times the ball goes over the same line.
Yeah, the pressure and mental aspects are still huge parts of the game. It’s hard to be that consistent, especially with the changing oil patterns, as you mentioned.
It was appreciably harder to throw a perfect game back in the 1980s...ball technology was not as advanced as it is now and few balls had a core, lanes were typically still wood and thus were more variable than modern synthetics, and oil was still often applied by hand and thus was less consistent. Pressure certainly would have been a part of it but overall bowling conditions being less forgiving played a big part as well
That is undoubtedly the best video for demystifying bowling, that I've seen in over a decade of playing bowling. Fantastic production
I grew up with bowling from the point of view of helping with my father's invention. Automatic Scoring. Playing was never my focus. This was a great introduction to the rest of 'mechanics'.
“I didn’t know they put oil on the lanes”
They absolutely do! As someone who accidentally slightly stepped over the line as a child I figured that fact out the hard way XD