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Understanding Asymmetrical Bowling Balls: Benefits, Characteristics, and Choosing the Right One

  • Reading time:13 mins read

In the world of competitive bowling, asymmetrical bowling balls have gained immense popularity among professional and amateur bowlers alike.

Unlike traditional symmetrical balls, asymmetrical bowling balls feature a unique core and weight block design that creates more lane reaction and hook potential.

As bowling technology continues to evolve, these specialized balls have become a game-changer, allowing bowlers to achieve greater control, increased entry angles, and improved pin carry.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the intriguing world of asymmetrical bowling balls, exploring their benefits, characteristics, and how to choose the right one to elevate your game.

What are Asymmetrical Bowling Balls?

Asymmetrical bowling balls are characterized by their distinctive core and weight block placement, which deviates from the traditional symmetrical design.

Unlike symmetrical balls where the core and weight block are evenly distributed, asymmetrical balls feature an off-centered or asymmetric core and weight block configuration. This intentional asymmetry in the ball’s design is specifically engineered to create more dynamic and aggressive ball motion on the lane.

The core of an asymmetrical bowling ball plays a crucial role in determining its overall performance. Manufacturers employ various core designs, such as pancake cores, asymmetric cores, and dual-density cores, each offering unique characteristics and performance attributes. These cores, combined with strategically placed weight blocks, create an imbalance that generates a stronger hooking action and increased entry angle as the ball travels down the lane.

Benefits of Asymmetrical Bowling Balls:

Increased Entry Angle and Backend Hook Potential:

One of the primary advantages of asymmetrical bowling balls is their ability to generate a more pronounced backend hook. The off-centered core and weight block design allows the ball to create a stronger entry angle into the pocket, resulting in increased pin carry and strike potential. This aggressive backend motion is particularly beneficial for bowlers seeking more powerful strikes and higher scores.

Better Traction and Control on Various Lane Conditions:

Asymmetrical bowling balls excel in providing enhanced traction and control on a wide range of lane conditions. Whether the lanes are dry, oily, or have varying patterns, these balls can adapt and perform consistently. Their unique design allows them to maintain a predictable motion and provide bowlers with greater control over their shots.

Enhanced Rev Rate and Overall Ball Motion:

Asymmetrical balls are known for their ability to generate a higher rev rate, which refers to the number of revolutions the ball makes on its way down the lane. This increased rev rate, combined with the asymmetric design, results in more overall ball motion, enhancing the ball’s ability to create a powerful and aggressive hook.

Improved Pin Carry and Strike Potential:

Due to their increased entry angle and backend hook, asymmetrical bowling balls have a distinct advantage when it comes to pin carry and strike potential. The aggressive ball motion helps clear away remaining pins more effectively, resulting in higher strike counts and better scoring opportunities.

Characteristics of Asymmetrical Bowling Balls:

Core Designs:

    • Pancake Cores: These cores feature a flattened, pancake-like shape, which creates a strong asymmetric core design. Pancake cores are known for their aggressive hook potential and are often used in high-performance asymmetrical balls.
    • Asymmetric Cores: As the name suggests, these cores are not symmetrical, with varying densities and shapes throughout the core. Asymmetric cores offer a unique blend of control and hook potential, making them versatile for various lane conditions.
    • Dual-Density Cores: These cores feature two distinct density levels within the same core. The combination of high and low densities creates an imbalance that enhances the ball’s overall motion and hook potential.

Coverstock Types:

    • Solid Reactive Coverstocks: These coverstocks are made from a solid material and are highly responsive to friction on the lane, allowing for increased hooking action and backend motion.
    • Pearl Reactive Coverstocks: Pearl reactive coverstocks have a semi-porous surface that creates a smoother and more controlled reaction on the lane. They offer a balance between hook potential and controllability.
    • Particle/Hybrid Coverstocks: These coverstocks combine solid and porous materials, creating a unique blend of traction and backend motion. Particle/hybrid coverstocks are versatile and can perform well on various lane conditions.

Levels of Asymmetry

Asymmetrical bowling balls are available in different levels of asymmetry, ranging from low to high. The level of asymmetry refers to the degree of imbalance in the core and weight block design, which directly impacts the ball’s overall hook potential and motion characteristics.

    • Low Asymmetry: Balls with low asymmetry offer a moderate hooking action and are ideal for bowlers seeking a balance between control and hook potential.
    • Medium Asymmetry: These balls provide a more pronounced backend hook while still maintaining a good level of control. They are suitable for bowlers looking to increase their rev rate and ball motion.
    • High Asymmetry: Highly asymmetrical balls are designed for maximum hook potential and are often favored by bowlers with high rev rates or those seeking an extremely aggressive ball motion.

Weight Block Shapes

The shape of the weight block in an asymmetrical bowling ball plays a significant role in determining its overall performance and ball motion characteristics.

    • Oval Weight Blocks: Oval-shaped weight blocks create a smooth and predictable ball motion while still offering a moderate hook potential.
    • Elliptical Weight Blocks: These weight blocks feature an elongated, elliptical shape that enhances the ball’s overall hook potential and backend motion.
    • Asymmetric Weight Blocks: As the name implies, asymmetric weight blocks are strategically placed off-center within the ball’s core, creating a distinct imbalance that results in increased entry angle and a more aggressive backend hook.

Choosing the Right Asymmetrical Bowling Ball:

With the vast array of asymmetrical bowling ball options available, selecting the right one can be a daunting task. To ensure you make an informed decision, it’s essential to consider several key factors that align with your bowling style, skill level, and desired ball motion characteristics.

Bowling Style and Rev Rate

Your bowling style and natural rev rate play a crucial role in determining the ideal asymmetrical ball for your game. If you’re a high rev rate bowler, commonly referred to as a “cranker,” you may benefit from a highly asymmetrical ball with a strong backend hook potential. Conversely, if you have a lower rev rate or prefer a more controlled approach, a ball with a lower level of asymmetry might be more suitable.

Lane Conditions

Asymmetrical bowling balls are designed to perform optimally on various lane conditions, from dry to oily patterns. However, it’s important to consider the specific lane conditions you typically encounter at your bowling center or tournament venues.

For example, if you frequently bowl on drier lane conditions, a ball with a higher hook potential and aggressive coverstock may be beneficial, while oily lanes may require a ball with a more controlled backend reaction.

Desired Ball Motion

Evaluate your preferences for ball motion and desired hook potential. Do you prefer a smoother, more controlled ball reaction, or are you seeking a more aggressive and dynamic motion? Asymmetrical balls offer a range of options to cater to different preferences, from moderate hooking to extreme backend hook potential.

Recommendations for Different Playing Styles:

    • Straight Bowlers: For bowlers who prefer a straighter ball path, a low or medium asymmetry ball with a less aggressive coverstock may be the best choice. These balls can provide a moderate hook while still maintaining control and predictability.
    • Tweeners: Bowlers who fall between straight and cranker styles, known as “tweeners,” may benefit from a medium or high asymmetry ball with a pearl or hybrid coverstock. These balls offer a balance between hook potential and control, allowing for a more dynamic ball motion without sacrificing consistency.
    • Crankers: High rev rate bowlers, or “crankers,” often excel with highly asymmetrical balls featuring solid reactive coverstocks. These balls are designed to maximize hook potential and provide an aggressive backend motion, allowing crankers to unleash their full rev potential and generate powerful strikes.

Asymmetrical Ball Drilling and Layout:

Proper ball drilling and layout are crucial for maximizing the performance of your asymmetrical bowling ball. It’s recommended to seek guidance from experienced pro shop operators or knowledgeable coaches to ensure your ball is drilled and laid out correctly.

Common Asymmetrical Ball Layouts:

  • Pin-Up Layouts: These layouts position the pin (or finger holes) above the ball’s vertical axis, promoting an earlier and more aggressive hook potential.
  • Pin-Down Layouts: With the pin positioned below the vertical axis, pin-down layouts encourage a smoother and more controlled ball reaction, ideal for bowlers seeking a more moderate hook.

Seeking Professional Guidance:

While understanding the basics of ball layouts is crucial, it’s highly recommended to seek guidance from experienced pro shop operators or knowledgeable coaches when it comes to drilling and laying out your asymmetrical bowling ball. These professionals have the expertise to analyze your individual bowling style, rev rate, and desired ball motion, and can recommend the optimal layout to maximize the ball’s performance and cater to your specific needs.

Maintenance and Care for Asymmetrical Bowling Balls:

To ensure your asymmetrical bowling ball performs at its best and maintains its longevity, proper maintenance and care are essential. Here are some key tips to follow:

Proper Cleaning and Resurfacing:

Regular cleaning and resurfacing of your asymmetrical ball are crucial for maintaining its traction and overall performance. Use specialized ball cleaners and resurface the ball at a pro shop to restore its original reaction characteristics and remove any built-up dirt or oil.

Avoiding Chemical Damage:

Certain chemicals, such as harsh cleaners or solvents, can cause irreparable damage to your ball’s coverstock. Always use bowling-specific cleaners and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to avoid compromising the ball’s integrity.

Storing Asymmetrical Balls Correctly:

Proper storage is essential for preserving the quality and performance of your asymmetrical bowling ball. Store your ball in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures, which can cause the coverstock to deteriorate or become brittle over time.

Famous Asymmetrical Bowling Ball Brands and Models: As the popularity of asymmetrical bowling balls continues to soar, major brands have introduced a wide range of successful and innovative models to cater to bowlers of all skill levels and preferences. Here are some notable examples:

Storm Bowling:

    • Storm Phaze III: A high-performance asymmetrical ball with a potent backend reaction and impressive continuation through the pins.
    • Storm Eternal Cell: Featuring a unique dual-density core and asymmetric weight block, this ball delivers a strong mid-lane read and explosive backend motion.

Roto Grip:

    • Roto Grip Halo Vision: Known for its aggressive hook potential and impressive length, this ball excels on medium to heavy oil patterns.
    • Roto Grip Hustle Ink: A versatile asymmetrical ball designed for bowlers seeking a balanced reaction with moderate hook potential.


    • Motiv Trident Nemesis: A highly successful asymmetrical ball with a strong backend motion and exceptional pin carry, making it a favorite among power players.
    • Motiv Venom Shock: Featuring a unique core design and hybrid reactive coverstock, this ball offers a smooth yet continuous backend reaction.


    • Brunswick Melee Jab-Ur-Ado: A high-performance asymmetrical ball with a potent core design and solid reactive coverstock, delivering explosive backend motion.
    • Brunswick Twist-ed Fury: A versatile option with a medium asymmetric core and hybrid coverstock, suitable for a wide range of lane conditions.

These are just a few examples of the many successful asymmetrical bowling ball models available from top brands. Each model offers unique features and strengths, catering to various bowling styles and preferences.


Asymmetrical bowling balls have revolutionized the sport, offering bowlers unprecedented levels of control, hook potential, and striking power. By understanding the intricate designs, core configurations, and coverstock materials that make these balls truly unique, you can unlock your full potential on the lanes.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or an aspiring bowler, exploring the world of asymmetrical bowling balls can be a game-changer. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different models and seek guidance from professionals to find the perfect ball that complements your style and helps you achieve consistent strikes and higher scores.

Remember, proper maintenance and care are crucial for preserving the performance and longevity of your asymmetrical bowling ball. With the right ball in your arsenal and a deep understanding of its capabilities, you’ll be well on your way to unleashing explosive hooks, unbeatable pin carry, and ultimately, unmatched scoring potential.

Embrace the cutting-edge technology of asymmetrical bowling balls, and prepare to elevate your game to new heights. The future of bowling is here, and it’s time to unleash the power.