Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Best Ball Weight

Many bowlers motivated to knock stuff down, use the heaviest ball they can handle. As I have mentioned before on this forum, if grip pressure is minimized, the ball lets go of you. If the ball doesn't pull you around, there may be something else keeping you down.

If your game is built around solid execution of spare shots, improving your first ball carry and strike percentage will raise your average. Less pins to knock down or NO pins to knock down make the second shot easier. The weight of the ball may cause you to have slower ball speed, requiring a ball, layout, and surface prep to compliment your game.

Your speed and rev rate helps create the path to the pocket. Matching the two provides the effect you desire at the pins. If the ball hits weakly, or rolls out before hitting the pins, you may need to address where you play on the lane, whether you need a smoother/shinier surface or even an easier ball to get down the lane (higher RG - Radius of Gyration, or higher RG drilling).

Weight is one element of your ball that helps knock down the full rack of pins. If the ball fits, your swing is easy and free, and the ball provides the skid, hook and roll needed for a good angle to the pocket and continuation through the pins, you will improve. If better form would help, seek out a USBC or IBPSIA Coach in your area. Check their websites: or

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Bowling Ball Fit

Your grip should allow your hand to lay flat on the ball (or as flat as physically possible), with the pitches of the holes for your fingers/thumb, allowing the ball to hang from your hand, without substantial grip pressure (NO Squeezing).

If stiffness doesn't allow for "normal pitch", adjusting the thumb pitch, towards the fingers, as the finger pitches must be adjusted away from the thumb, should help control the ball with minimum grip pressure. Think of the ball letting go of YOU.

The pitch in your thumb can be increased, more angle toward the fingers, to improve control, as long as you can deliver the ball comfortably. If you are experiencing any discomfort try small adjustments (1/8) until you lessen or eliminate the discomfort and gain more control.

Lastly, adjust hole size so you feel slightly snug in the holes. The lateral pitches and hole sizes shouldn't bind the fingers. Adjusting angles of the holes and hole sizes are the last adjustments for your optimum fit. Don't be afraid to make small adjustments actively. As your hands change and are affected by temperature and humidity, often tweaking the "feel" is needed to maintain consistent execution.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Bowling Lanes

USBC CERTIFIED 115,197 lanes at 5,571 bowling centers for the 2006-07 season (includes Puerto Rico and military bases in foreign countries). The average lanes per center were 20.67. PA had the most centers with 388 with WI second at 363 followed by MI at 357, NY at 351 and OH with 345. MI had the most lanes with 8,172 follow by NY (7,658), OH (7,554), CA (6,692) and IL (6,630).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The "Personal" HouseBall

In a seminar last year, a Brunswick representative shared that pro shops sell almost 85% of bowling balls in the US. 5% right here in Chicago. The good news, mass merchants are selling fewer, less expensive balls, while the BAD NEWS, the Internet is selling more, expensive balls. Market shares have for each, for all practical purposes, all but switched.

While, over the years, retail businesses like Sears, JC Penny, and Kmart sold hundreds of thousands of bowling balls each year and league bowling decreased. (Sears and JC Penny's DON"T sell bowling balls. One reason I shop at these stores.)

Brunswick’s last contract with Kmart, when the retail giant was selling bowling balls made in the US, was for about 400,000 balls a year. And new league bowlers were lost at a rate around 70%.

Is it likely that the dissatisfied bowlers did not like the house ball option? Or picked up an inexpensive new bowling ball at a mass merchant? But did NOT like the results?

Don't blame Brunswick, Kmart now sells pre-drilled balls manufactured in China. Essentially personal house balls! Have any of you ever thrown a house ball?

Nothing like selling something potentially hellaciously
bad, to unsuspecting customers, except when selling it as cheaply as possible to the massively inexperienced, and least knowledgeable, nets you Millions of dollars. While effecting the newest of the sport's participants, looking for an inexpensive way to be more involved, by providing inexpensive equipment built on a system of drilling holes that is probably more than 30 years old. Does your houseball hurt?

Does your Dick's Sporting Goods, KMart,
SportMart, Sports Authority, Wal-Mart* or other mass merchant's bowling balls allow you to bowl, without pain or fatigue, at a 160 average or more? 140? (*oh wait, Sam Walton's company decided not to do this. They researched how easy having balls drilled in their store would be -NOT.

Could they send the balls to local pro shops, tried it. Would some bowling stores offer an inexpensive package (as a trial of the concept) of balancing (not done at mass merchants including Wal-Mart), drilling, and engraving balls, YES. Did the customers find buying a ball and going somewhere else to get it professionally, custom drilled was convenient. Not so much. The added expense to get the ball drilled was unexpected. Finding bowling stores open to match the 9am to 9pm typical big box retail hours of operation. Not many open even seven days a week. Not convenient. Could they get a program to accommodate all their stores all over the WORLD. NO. Wal-Mart opted don't drill, don't carry balls, bad idea, unhappy customers don't come back and buy more).