A Roll Vs. a Flip in Bowling

A Roll Vs. a Flip in Bowling thumbnail
Rolls and flips are both appropriate bowling techniques.

Bowling is a sport enjoyed by the casual recreation-seeker and the dedicated professional alike. Bowling alleys all across the world host all manner of participants, leagues and tournaments. In the past, the primary surface for bowling lanes was wood. Synthetic surfaces are now very popular in more modern bowling alleys. The type of ball throw that works most effectively can vary by player, surface material, and surface conditions.

  1. Roll

    • A roll, or early-roll layout, is a throw in which you approach the pins in straight-forward manner, cocking the ball back in the crux of your wrist, and unfurling and snapping your wrist forward as you release the ball. This motion causes the ball to roll at the beginning of its travel and continue to roll until it makes contact. You can throw a roll in a direct line at a desired pin, or you can manipulate it to arc in a curve on its trajectory.


    • A flip/skid layout is more complicated than a roll in that it requires more technique and practice perform succesfully. In a flip/skid, the ball is flipped with a flick of the wrist, and it typically travels further in the air than a roll, before making contact with the lane. After contact, the ball skids on its trajectory, spinning very slowly. It will then stop skidding, catch the surface and begin to roll in the manner caused by the way it was thrown.

    When do you roll?

    • Rolling is most effective when it is used on a surface that is particularly slick or oily. It is easier to control a rolling ball on a surface where a skidding ball may over-skid. It is also good to use when you need need to hit outside pins, as it can be easier to spin or roll a ball to the outside than to flip it.

    When do you flip?

    • Flip layouts are best when they are performed on drier surfaces or for inside shots. The dry surface will allow the flip to skid along for a bit before it catches and begins to roll. Flip shots are useful for hitting inside shots because the throwing motion is conducive to them.

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