With bowling alleys installed in every corner of the world and with bowling equipment sold online and in every major shopping outlets, people have become huge fans of bowling because of easy access.
What makes bowling so popular is also the fact that it can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. We have truly come a long way since the inception of the first-ever indoor bowling alley in 1840.
Amateurs would say that bowling is easy while the experts would stress the complexities of the sport.
Bowling is more about skill than luck. For a bowler to be considered good, he/she must have the right bowling equipment, especially the correct bowling ball with the appropriate ball layout.
Although many play the sport, each bowler is unique and possesses a special style. There will be variations between players based on their throwing techniques, release, approach, and artistic flair.
Now, it is possible to categorize the players into three groups according to style: stroker, tweener, and cranker. All three style categories in bowling have their fair share of advantages and disadvantages.
However, as the title suggests, I will be focusing more on the stroker style today.
The Stroker Style – What’s Good About It?
A stroker style is a flexible style that emphasizes control, finesse, and accuracy.
Strokers generally move towards the center of the lane and go for the pocket behind the headpin. They mostly play off the right side of the lane, downplaying power and focusing on the shot’s accuracy instead.
The forward throws and small hooks enable strokers to easily improve their averages. Centered around aim and accuracy and with its adaptability, the stroker style does an exemplary job of helping bowlers of all levels develop and grow as bowlers, allowing them to learn new adaptations and techniques as they learn the tricks of the game.
That’s why it is considered the easiest and most popular style of bowling.
What is the Best Bowling Ball Layout for a Stroker?
Before deciding on a layout, it is of paramount importance for you to identify if you’ve picked an asymmetric or a symmetric ball.
In most cases, a symmetric core produces a balanced ball reaction with the motion being more controllable while in the mid-lane. On the other hand, an asymmetric ball is known to create a more angular motion as it goes down the lane.
Compared to the symmetric core, it also has an increased backend reaction.
Generally speaking, strokers tend to opt for a control layout drilling into their bowling balls.
A control layout works exceptionally well at helping a bowler control and determine the ball hooking period and its location. This enables the stroker to time their bowling approaches better and accurately aim the shots toward the pockets.
Control layouts also help decrease the chances of over-reactions on different lane conditions. For instance, under unfavorable conditions, a control layout can prevent strong mid-lane motion and stop your ball from either hooking unpredictably or over-skiing in oil.
Thankfully, most house conditions provide an easy oil pattern; all you need to do is not work against the oil pattern.
Control layouts will ensure that you are the most consistent shot-maker as it helps prevent overreactions on a variety of lane conditions, enabling you to keep a steady aim, irrespective of the oil patterns.
Lastly, it is possible to slightly alter a given ball reaction with control drilling and it can be done by decreasing or increasing the skid distance. All that’s required is for you to either add or reduce texture to the ball surface.
This type of adjustment can be made as required after you drill the ball based on the reaction you are looking for.
Why not use a Strong Layout?
Many bowlers often make the grave mistake of using strong layouts on every ball they drill. Doing so tends to result in unwanted and unpredictable ball reactions on different lane conditions.
Although strong layouts can be advantageous on certain conditions through a particular delivery style, it is not recommended to drill every ball with a strong layout.
If you consider yourself as someone who falls in between the power game and the stroker style of play, you shouldn´t use bowling balls with strong drilling layouts and aggressive coverstocks.
Conclusively, it is always a safe choice to have control drilling layouts in your bowling arsenal. They will help you perform consistently regardless of the lane conditions.
If you intend to get yourself a new bowling ball and are confused about choosing a drilling layout, you should consider consulting with a professional and discussing your current ball lineup.
Bring in your bowling ball as it is, no matter its dirt, oil rings, and taped gripping holes. An experienced pro will be able to get a good idea of how you throw the ball just by taking a look at the oil rings and wear track, and, thus, advise you accordingly.
Putting it simply, I would recommend the stroker in you to go for a control layout drilled into your bowling balls. Control layouts help decrease the chances of over-reactions, will allow you to control and decide where and when the ball will hook, and let you maintain a steady aim.
A control layout will help make you a consistent bowler regardless of the lane conditions. Cleaning your bowling balls frequently also won’t hurt.
If you don’t have the time to decide on a bowling ball for a stroker and would rather have me point you in the right direction, I would suggest the Pyramid Antidote Bowling Ball. Available for purchase in various color patterns, it boasts a perfect scale rating of 201.60, comes with a GPS navigational coverstock, and is perfectly adaptable to medium-heavy oil conditions.