Carrydown: Fact or Fiction Continued

Here is the link to the hot topic today, which is the article by Joe Slowinski talking about whether carrydown is prevalent in today’s game, or whether it is a myth:

Ed and Scott have done a magnificent job of refuting what Joe has said, which was that carrydown does not occur in today’s game, and rather oil depletion is the key.  I am in agreement with Ed and Scott on this one, in that there are so many factors that contribute to lane transition, that carry down has to be included in that argument.

Do I feel that Joe is correct in that oil depletion is probably the main culprit in lane transition?  Absolutely!  The raw data from his experiment proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt.  I am going to go by Joe’s graphs and mathematical data to help show that carry down does exist.  Here are the charts showing the % difference in the amount of oil taken by the tapes at differing intervals from before warm-ups to after game three:


The first chart in the upper left shows oil depletion after game one and warm-ups.  He contends that oil is depleting, which it is, but also notice how some of the figures show a (+) increase in the amount of oil on them.  All of the (+) numbers come further down the lane (between 22-38 ft.), which means that the oil is being pulled from the heads and transferred to boards further down the lane, which is the definition of carry down in bowling terminology.  Is oil being depleted as each ball rolls down the lane?  I am sure it is, but the lower % down the lane, and the (+) numbers on the graph also show that the oil is being transferred, or carried down, the lane at the same time.

Also, look at the difference between the first and second game graphs.    On the 2nd game graph, there are still a few boards that show (+) numbers overall, even though the vast majority of the boards are (-) values.  Also notice the trend of oil % decrease being the greatest between 15-30 ft.  What this tells me is that the oil is being pulled out of the heads and transferred down the lane, but not past the 38ft. mark, which is where Joe stopped the taping process.  You do not have to have measurable oil at 50ft. to say there is carry down, carry down simply means that oil is being transferred from a point closest to where the ball encounters the oil, to a point further down the lane where there was less oil to begin with.  Now this can mean the oil is being placed in a spot where there was previously no oil, or it can simply mean that oil is being transferred from a spot of heavier concentration to a spot of lighter concentration, which is clearly what these figures show.

Now, the graph for game three helps to validate the carry down argument.  Look at the values at 22ft. and compare them to the values at 38 ft.  Every board (with the exception of board 7 and 20) show less oil depletion at 38ft. when compared to 22ft.  This, to me, means that oil is being picked up from the heavier concentration at 22ft. and transferred further down the lane at 38 ft., thus showing at least some form of carry down.  If it were as simple as oil depletion, we would see a steady decline in oil % across all boards and footages.  We do not see that, as it is a blend of carry down and depletion which lead to the different % from board to board and down the lane.  This helps to rebut Joe’s statement that oil carry down is a myth.

Here is another graphic from the article helping the carrydown argument:


This is a graph from Joe’s article where you are looking back at the oil pattern from the pins toward the approach.  It clearly shows the depletion on the right-handers side, but notice how the lane oil between the 15 to 25 board looks to have a heavier concentration down the lane in the latter graph, which is after 15 games plus practice.  While the head oil has gone away, it appears to me that the oil down lane is still very much there, which means that at least some of the oil in the heads has been transferred down lane, thus creating some carry down.  Also of note there was only one left handed bowler, and they did not take tapes on that side of the lane.  It is my feeling that lefties encounter more carry down than depletion, when compared to righties, due to the lesser amount of traffic on that side of the lane.  Look at the lefties side on the graph, and compare the fresh shot to the broken down shot.  You can clearly see that the lone lefty has pushed oil from the front part of the lane down from 15ft. to 38ft.  This shows a form of carry down which was not discussed in the article by Joe.  No mention of any change on the lefties side of the lane was mentioned in the article.  I feel this was ignored due to the fact that the graph from that side of the lane clearly shows oil transfer, or carry down, on that side of the lane, and refutes the premise of Joe’s article, which is that carry down is a myth.

In closing, I feel that I have shown through Joe’s own data that carry down is real, and it does exist to wreak havoc with bowlers everywhere.  There was also no mention in Joe’s article about the type of balls used by the bowlers, which has a big affect on how the oil moves, but that is well covered by Ed in his piece on this article.  I, for one, know that carry down exists, and now have proof through Joe’s research.  I agree with Joe that depletion exists, as there is no arguing that from the raw data, but to ignore the effect carry down has on ball reaction, to me, hurts your ability to correctly read and adjust to oil patterns as they change game to game, and frame to frame.  As always, we are welcome to comments and suggestions on the blog post, and hope you can see both sides of this argument, and make up your mind for yourself on the correct way to read what is happening on the lanes, and attack the pattern accordingly.

-James Goulding III

3 responses to “Carrydown: Fact or Fiction Continued

  1. Mr. Slowinski also ran a test with advanced bowlers using modern equipment. How would the numbers change for the league environment in which 99+% of bowling is done? Throw a couple of inconsistent bowlers using plastic balls and the numbers and you would see different “after” data.

  2. J.Anderson, thanks for the comment, I will give my take on what you stated. I agree with you that the transition we all see in a typical league night is much different than what Joe performed in a controlled testing environment with very accurate collegiate bowlers.

    I think you will see more dramatic carrydown effect with bowlers using plastic and urethane (which we all see every league night), and less of the depletion that you saw with his data. We all have those “spray and pray” bowlers who throw it all over the lane, which makes getting a consistent read on the lanes darn near impossible at times. I like the test he performed, but would have liked to have seen it expanded to include different types of bowling balls and lines played, like your average league bowler would see on a consistent basis. Also, like I stated above, there is no tape taken on the left side of the lane where there was the lone lefty bowling in the study. It is my belief that you would have seen more carrydown and less depletion on that side of the lane.

    This study by Joe was a good start to get bowlers thinking more about what happens on the lanes, but I think there is more mis-information about what really happens out there, than information about lane play. Hopefully another study can be conducted that builds off of what this one started, and expanded to get real time facts for what your average league bowler will encounter. Thanks for reading!

  3. Slowinski testing is flawed in that he never took tapes past the end of the pattern. 1 tape @ 44ft. don’t tell the full ‘carrydown’ story either way.
    This James Goulding article is also flawed in that he sees a few positive numbers but only in the center of the lane between 14-20 bds. and does NOT take into account that these are better bowlers shooting full games and shooting SPARES w/ plastic balls???? @ 9 pins or right side spares that could account for any increase in those numbers??? They are exiting the pattern on 9 bd., 14-20 bds.@ 38ft. is a BIG miss for these players. So it isn’t carrydown from 1st ball STRIKE line shots. ( I doubt they use plastic/urethane for strikes but who knows?) The conclusions drawn by both sides are inconclusive bcuz ALL facts & factors are unknown & untested! I.E. = FLAWED

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