What Is Flare Potential In Bowling How Does It Affect Your Game

What Is Flare Potential In Bowling? How Does It Affect Your Game?

When you’re competing at the highest levels of the sport, even the smallest adjustments can make a big difference, and flare potential has a big role in this regard.

But what is flare potential in bowling and how it affects the ball’s movement?

Flare potential is the ability of a bowling ball to rotate as it moves down the lane. This rotation creates a track on the ball’s surface, which can help bowlers achieve a better hook and increase their strike rate.

It’s not unusual to hear bowlers talking about the latest balls on the market and their flare potential, or to see them tweaking their release and ball speed in an effort to maximize their own flare potential.

So if you’re serious about enhancing your expertise, understanding and optimizing your flare potential is definitely something you’ll want to pay attention to.

Factors Affecting The Flare Potential In Bowling

Flare potential can be greatly influenced by various elements which need to be considered. Taking into account the following factors, you can build up a desired flare in your ball.


This is the difference in radius between the maximum and minimum points of the ball’s core. A higher differential can lead to more flare potential.

Mass bias

This is a weight distribution technique that involves drilling an extra hole in the ball to adjust the balance of the core. Placing the mass bias in certain positions can increase or decrease the flare potential.


The coverstock of a bowling ball- the outer surface of the ball, can influence the amount of friction generated between the ball and the lane. A ball with a rougher surface will generally have more friction and a higher flare potential.

Lane conditions

The type of oil pattern and the amount of oil on the lane can also affect the flare potential of a bowling ball. A higher friction lane surface will normally allow for more flare potential.

Rev rate

The rev rate of the bowler can affect the flare potential of a ball. A bowler with a higher rev rate can generate more flare potential, while a bowler with a lower rev rate may not see as much flare potential.


The speed at which the bowler throws the ball can also contribute to flare potential alteration. A slower speed will lead to less flare potential, while a faster speed can generate more flare potential.

Axis tilt and rotation

The way the ball is released by the bowler can also affect the flare potential. A higher axis tilt and rotation can lead to an increased flare potential.

Advantages of Higher Flare Potential

Higher flare potential is useful in many situations and for certain tricks. Some of it’s benefits are as follows.

Increased hook potential

Flare potential is a measure of how much a bowling ball can hook as it travels down the lane. A ball with a higher flare potential can create more hook potential, which can be beneficial for bowlers who want to create a wider angle of entry into the pocket.

More pin action

When a ball has a high flare potential, it can create more pin action on impact with the pins. This means that the ball can create more strikes and spares, as well as more pin carry on off-center hits.

Improved ball motion

A higher flare potential can help a ball transition more smoothly as it travels down the lane. This can result in a more consistent and predictable ball motion, which can be important for bowlers who want to control their shot.

Better ball reaction on heavy oil patterns

A ball with a high flare potential can create more friction on the lane, which can be advantageous on heavy oil patterns. The increased friction can assist the ball maintain its energy and hook potential as it goes across the lane.

More versatile arsenal

Bowlers who have bowling balls with varying flare potentials can create a more versatile arsenal of equipment. This can be particularly helpful on changing lane conditions, where different balls may be needed to adjust to the changing oil pattern.

Disadvantages of Higher Flare Potential

High flare potential may have some drawbacks as well along with it’s various upsides. They are as follow:

Loss of Accuracy

The greater the degree of flare, the more difficult it is to predict the ball’s trajectory, resulting in a decrease in accuracy.

This can make it harder to consistently hit the desired target and increase the likelihood of leaving open frames.

Increased Lane Breakdown

A ball with a high flare potential puts more stress on the lane surface, resulting in greater lane breakdown.

It can cause the lane surface to become uneven, which can impact the consistency of ball reaction and make it difficult to repeat shots.

Ball Maintenance

High flare potential balls require more maintenance, as the greater degree of hook can cause the ball to absorb more oil and dirt from the lane surface, resulting in a faster rate of degradation.

It means that the ball may need to be cleaned and resurfaced more frequently to maintain its performance.


High flare potential balls tend to be more expensive than other bowling balls due to the complexity of their design and construction.

This can make it difficult for beginners or recreational bowlers to justify the investment.

Difference Between Hook Potential And Flare Potential

Both the terms are somehow interconnected but they should not be confused as identical factors.

The “hook” is a general term used for a bowling ball when it curves or change it’s path when thrown. It is essential to get a good shot and deliver the ball like a professional.

Hook is needed to hit your desired aim, which is usually the pocket.s direction is not straight to the lane but it is at some angle which requires the ball to enter the deck from an angle to hit it.

On the other hand, flare potential is a technical term that defines the practical rotating action of the ball. It is somehow a natural phenomenon that is contributed by the spinning movement of the bowling ball.

Every time you throw the ball, it gonna show some flares but the amount can be decreased or increased by taking into account various factors.


When should you use a low flare bowling ball?

You should use a bowling ball with lower flare potential when the condition of the lane is dry because there is less oil on the lane to help the ball hook. So a low flare ball can help you maintain a more consistent line and prevent the ball from overreacting to the dry conditions.

Can you control the flare potential of a ball?

While you can’t fully control the flare potential of a ball, you can influence it to some extent by altering the surface of the ball or adjusting your release technique. For example, a higher rev rate can increase the ball’s rotation and therefore its flare potential.

How do I choose a ball with the right flare potential for me?

The ideal flare potential for a bowling ball will depend on your individual bowling style and the conditions you commonly bowl on. It’s a good idea to work with a knowledgeable pro shop operator or coach to help you choose a ball with the right core and coverstock combination for your needs.

What does high flare mean in bowling?

High flare means that bowling ball is rotating more aggressively and hooking or curving it’s path more frequently while moving down the lane towards the deck.

What is pap in bowling?

Positive axis point abbreviated as PAP is an imaginary line or point through which a bowling ball revolves while it rolls down the lane.

Final Words

So, what is flare potential in bowing? I hope I’ve explained the query very well and cleared your concern about its upper and lower limit.

Flare potential is a technical aspect of the sport and many bowlers give it additional importance. Although it is not the only aspect that should be focused still, it has a significant role in changing your overall performance.

Thank You For Reading!

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