Bowling/ball

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QUESTION: Hi Warren

I’m a casual bowler and my 10 year old son likes to bowl so we’ve been going to the Brunswick Zone every Saturday. I’ve had an old Eclipse 16 lb ball for many years now and I was told it’s basically a “house ball that Walmart sold”. I don’t remember where I got it, but I just throw it straight hoping to hit the pocket, and maybe I'll attempt to throw a slight hook from time to time.

It's always been a little heavy so I am in the market for a 14 lb ball and since the lanes where I bowl are medium to heavy oil, I wanted to get a ball that would benefit from such lanes. I throw a pretty much straight ball, but would like a ball that would have some “built-in” hook or curve potential; if I ever decided to start throwing one. Could you give me two or three ball recommendations? I've been looking at the Pyramid Dark Path, Path Rising and Blueprint Pearl Project 1.618, the DV8 Grudge Hybrid, and several others. Way too many choices out there!

I've been told by several people to have my ball fingertip drilled, but I'm not sure I can get used to throwing that way. Like I said, I'm just a casual bowler looking for a new ball. I bowled a 233 when I was 12 years old and wish I would've stuck with it! I would say my average now is probably in the 160's. Not that scores matter since I bowl for fun, but it would be nice to start bowling in the 200's again.

I've read reviews and seen terms I never even heard of. "I had my balled drilled 30x4.5x70 with pin above the ring finger". Huh?? Lol!

Which of these would benefit me the most? Or do you have any other recommendations?

ALSO----I have a pair of bowling shoes that, because of the way I approach, stick something awful when I bowl. I had to purchase one of those powder pouches and apply it almost every time I bowl so I don't stick and fall flat on my face. I know there's shoe sole covers out there, but because of the way I bowl, I need the heels to be slippery as well; if not more. Do you know of any shoes out of the box that glide without having to use a cover or a metal brush?

Thanks so much!!
Ed



Thanks!!

ANSWER: Ed,
Ball fit is about comfort and a "relaxed" feel. The ball should literally just hang from your hand. An older ball usually reflects older ideas in fit techniques. Modern fitting should vastly improve your feel over the Walmart fit ball.  Ball weight should reflect 10% of your body weight, to the max of 16 pounds.

Dropping, if you must, should only be a pound, or you give up some effect that the weight of the ball provides as it hits the pins. Unless there is some physical problem, a two pound drop will be way to easy for you to "over" control. Your swing should be a synergy between you and the ball. Too light and a small adjustment (a manipulation of your swing direction) of only an inch at the point of release, could cause the ball to miss you target, 60 feet latter, by more than a foot!

The formula you saw is from a technique to lay out and drill a ball called Dual Angle Layouts, but the tech talk often makes the customer confused and uneducated. I prefer you know what you're getting. Like a mechanic that throws out a lot of terminology and then wants $1,000.00 for a repair, I feel some service people hide their actual work in complicated explanations that the customer can't possibly understand, or THEY COULD DO THE JOB THEMSELVES!

Your ball options are a little like comparing a first generation Model T automobile and a current car. The technology is so advanced from the previous ball, you are looking at WAY more ball than you need. Your looking to have fun, but bowling balls are tools, to help you have fun. You DO NOT need that much ball. You are not an experienced bowler so controlling a complicated ball isn't in your skill set, yet. Roll a more basic polyester ball like your old one and you will develop skill through practice and participation. But fit will be HUGELY more important. Find a ball driller that is interested in helping you get better not just sell you an expensive piece of equipment. Have them explain the fit technique and how he does what he does. Ask for some tips.

Shoes should help you slide. Have the potential seller of your new shoes, watch you bowl and suggest options. You may want to alter your current delivery to benefit from more consistent execution.

Thanks for the questions. Hope this guidance helps. Let me know how it's going.






---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for all the info.

I bowled today. After bowling a frame or two, I put my 16 lb ball back in my bag and used a 14 lb house ball. I weigh around 185, but the 16 lb feels like such a labored throw every time. When I used the 14 lb ball my motion and throw were so much more comfortable. I felt more "synergy" like you said. I even tried a 13 pounder just for the heck of it and that wasn't bad at all. I think I'll go with the 14 though. Some bowler I was talking to, who's been bowling many years and has a high average, told me that weight is not that important. He says you'll get good pin action whether you throw a 16 or a 14, if you know how to throw it. I said I always thought and heard that the heavier the ball, the better the pin action and he said no, that's a misconception. I agree with you though, that the extra weight does have an effect.

I didn't bowl that good. I think the main reason was not the house balls I was throwing, but my shoes. Every time I went to bowl, in the back of my mind I was afraid I would stick at the last second. I could always buy those covers they sell to help you slide, but because of the way I bowl, my heels also need to slide and the only thing I've seen to remedy that part of the shoe is either powder or a wire brush. I inquired about even purchasing a pair of house shoes, as they always tend to slide. The guy at the alley said there might be some older pairs no one uses anymore that I could possibly buy.

So at the end of the day, based on your recommendations, I think I'll opt for a not-so-expensive ball and have it drilled to accommodate the way I bowl, the lane surface, etc. The guy at the Pro Shop is very knowledgeable so I talk with him too.

That being said, there still are way too many options out there. If you could, would you be able to recommend at least what surface ball I should go with? I don't know what they mean exactly, but there's Reactive Resin, Hybrid Reactive, Solid Reactive, etc. And, what "Breakpoint Shape"? There's Skid/Flip, Angular, Devastating Backend, and All-Purpose with Backend Flip. All these terms come from the balls I have in my shopping cart at Bowlingball.com!

Like I said the lanes are med-heavy oil so if you could give me your opinion on these two factors, that would help me immensely narrow down my choices!

Thanks again buddy!
Ed

Answer
Ed,
Your old ball probably does NOT fit well, considering where you got it and the house ball gives you a feeling of more control because of the weight (and smaller gripping holes).

You're investing in a tool to help you knock down pins, ask the person drilling the ball if they guarantee your new fit will help you bowl better. They need to be invested in you getting better, if they don't show enough interest to help, they probably won't be open to any adjustments, tips or advice.

Once you get a sense of the new fit and feel, you will START to change your muscle memory. Trying to unlock the bowling ball gibberish (marketing) before you have an idea of how you will be rolling your new weight, new fit, new cover, new BALL, is cart before the horse stuff. There are no magic wands, or magic bowling balls. You will need to practice and improve consistency before the more complex balls can be used consistently, thus effectively.

To get an idea of what surface, ball core, coverstock preparation and ball layout you might need, I'd need to see you roll the ball extensively. Determine speed, rev rate, PAP, axis tilt and axis rotation and overall consistency. Before you can use: "Reactive Resin, Hybrid Reactive, Solid Reactive, AND Skid/Flip, Angular, Devastating Backend, and All-Purpose with Backend Flip, etc." you must know what you do and what's on the lane! Long pattern, short pattern, high volume of oil, low volume, across the entire lane or just in the middle of the lane (as well as what's the lane made of). TOO MANY VARIABLES for someone who's never seen you roll a ball. It's like my suggesting you fix a broken down car with a screwdriver, without knowing what's wrong.

Thanks for the follow up. If you don't start out with a basic plastic ball and work up, you might try a basic three piece urethane ball with a surface that matches your speed (duller the faster you throw). You might even want to start by seeing a coach. Someone working through a bowling alley that gets paid to help. That way, if you get help you can go back and if you do not talk to a manager about the experience. A coach can also begin to educate you about the various options, etc. Thanks again, bowl well.

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