Sunday, August 28, 2022

New Bowling Ball Hurts My Hand

Questioner: DaRenda                           Oct 21, 2016                                             

Subject: New bowling ball hurts my hand and would pull me across foul line. 

I bought a new bowling ball Saturday and it hurts my fingers, my longest finger has arthritis & a large 1st joint. That spot hurts so bad and has blisters. My thumb rubs on the outside, top part of my nail and rubs the polish off. My first finger which doesn't even go into the ball hurts at the upper outer part of my nail to the point I can't use it. In addition, it won't release and will pull me across the foul line. I feel better and Safer using the house balls!! When I bought it the man that drilled it said it was a "perfect fit". It hurts to use it. I feel like I wasted my money if I'm using house balls instead of the new one I bought. 

Answer: DaRenda, 
Take it back. Tell the guy what's going on. Try getting him to watch you roll it to him on the carpet outside the store. If you've not had experience with a proper fit, you will struggle mightily because you have been using a really bad fit in a House Ball. House balls are drilled to fit EVERYONE. Yours is drilled only for you. Adjustments can be made.  

House balls demand that you grip them like CRAZY!!! A proper fit means much less grip pressure, eventually to NO GRIP Pressure. But you've taught your muscles to GRIP, GRIP, GRIP using a house ball. You are used to a ball THAT'S WAY TOO LIGHT FOR YOU (most likely). Have the guy walk you through the issues you mentioned and see what adjustments can be made. What weight is the ball? How long have you bowled? Do you want to be better or just tired of tracking down a house ball to use? 

Thanks for writing. Let me know what gets done? Thanks, give it a chance, bowl well. 

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Can I Get Help with Hand Position and Release?

Name: Sam                                                                             Nov 25, 2008 
Subject: Hand position and release

Question: I have problem with my hand position and release. I use wrist support (pro release). How can I practice my hand always in the same position? I release the bowl like hand shake...but not enough spin. How can I improve my game? I had read about 1 o'clock, 10 o'clock positions but I couldn't understand it. Can you help me?

Answer: Sam,

Get a small football, not tiny but regulation is too big unless you have a large hand. Throw the football underhand, to a target. The unique shape of the football will be hard to throw in a tight spiral.

A similar hand action is needed to roll a bowling ball with good rotation. Practice with the football, with and without the Pro Release. Each session should include at least 10 perfect spirals, at least 50 attempts. Work up to 30 perfect spirals. When the non-perfect spirals are few and far between, you've changed your muscle memory, and added the skill needed to roll a bowling ball with better rotation. Impacting spin and rotation with hand action and elbow position is next on the agenda. Let me know when rotation is consistent, also watch ball speed, it should start getting more consistent too. 

On the lanes, isolate the delivery by doing one step drills at your favorite bowl. Stand a couple feet behind the foul line. Set up as if to go into your approach, but don't step. Swing the ball out and down, like in your approach, at the top of your swing push your slide foot toward the foul line, sliding forward, use the same hand rotation you have been practicing to deliver your bowling ball. Again, repeat the practice sessions as above.

Thanks for the questions. Good bowling.

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Finding the Positive Axis Point on a Bowling Ball

Name: Tony                                                                    Aug 9, 2009

Subject: Drilling

Question: How do you find your Positive Axis Point (PAP) on a brand new ball. Mine is 5 1/4 over, 3/8 up.  I'm right handed. I got a new Virtual Energy and I want to set it up myself, it has a 3-3.5 pin 2.78 top weight, 15lbs.2oz.

Answer: Tony,

Your PAP is your PAP (generally). You roll the ball the same (assuming you are somewhat consistent), so the axis should be the same on any ball, but the layout/weight-block influences the ultimate PAP in any particular ball.

I've found the VERY heavy asymmetrical weight-blocks in MoRich equipment (for example) influences my PAP (and I've seen it with customers equipment). Where my PAP USUALLY is 5 5/16 over and 5/16 up, my N'Sane and Sahara have PAP's almost an inch shorter (4 3/4 and 4 9/16 respectively).

What equipment do you roll now? What kind of layouts do you use? What layout do you plan to put into the Storm Virtual Energy? What do you want the ball to do versus what you roll now?

You are setting it up yourself? Why? Will you drill it or are you going to have someone else drill it? Does your driller NOT explain layouts? Please tell me your not a garage driller who doesn't know anything, and plans to learn to drill on the Internet??? Next hobby BRAIN SURGERY??

Just messing with you. Knowing more about the ball and layouts is a good thing.

In my experience, players that get very into layouts assume the ball is the magic wand in bowling (so then you can get a magic layout). But, you could have the best ball, best layout, best lane condition in the world for you (The ultimate MATCH UP) and if you don't roll the ball consistently, you won't score well. So, please fill me in a little on your experience level, how long you've been bowling, ball speed, rev rate and axis tilt, etc.? So I can get an idea of where you're coming from.

Thanks for the question. Let me know more or how the ball works out. Good luck.

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Can You Offer a Ball Recommendation?

Name: Ron                                                                       Mon, Aug 31, 2009

Subject: Bowling Ball

Question: Well my wife bought me a new ball (Hammer Black Widow Venom) 

I was out of bowling for a few years and the ball really doesn't
 work for me. I throw a strong hook and a fast ball.

The Venom definitely has too much hook as I really cannot control it. I am right handed and if I hit the 1-2 pocket I am lucky because it hooks way left. I have used the ball for about a year now on multiple types of oil surfaces.

I have tried changing my position and speed and everything else but I really just think I need a different ball that will hook much less.

Can you offer a recommendation?

I am a average bowler as a sub in a league.

Just looking for some advice on a ball with less hook than the Venom.

I was possibly considering based on reviews I have read. I am considering the Brunswick Swarm which has a hook of a 105 on a scales of 10 - 175 as compared to the Venom which has a hook of 115 based on a scale of 10-160

Answer: Ron,

First change the surface of the ball from the very shiny out of box (4000) to something that will burn energy off (1000) before the big move down the lane. That should help some. A different layout will also get the ball to roll much milder also. If you want to plug the ball.

Not knowing anything about your rev rate, speed (other than hard), tilt, rotation and lane conditions, its near impossible to suggest a ball. Where do you want to play on the lane? Up the boards? swing the ball a little? point the ball to the pocket? Where do you place your slide foot at set-up? RH or LH? Do you drift? Where does your slide foot finish at the foul line? What is your target on the lane from the set-up described? Do you have a previous ball that you liked? 

How much less would you like the new ball to hook? Hook JUST less or later? Earlier? The Swarm is less ball but I'm not sure how much less you'll need. Yet.

Let me know more and I can get a handle on the situation. Thanks for the question.

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Questioner: HERB                                 Date Asked: 2017-01-04 



Actual ball speed, are you measuring with a stopwatch or other device? Or from the score console above the lane? (The ball speed provided by lane equipment is notoriously inconsistent/inaccurate.) Also, the scoring system speed measurement occurs around 40 feet downlane. The ball has slowed significantly by then. 

Where are you trying to play? Straight down the lane or more across the center of the lane, out to the gutter and back? When the ball rolls, is the oil on the ball close to the gripping holes (within an inch or two), further away (3 to 4 inches) or more than 5 inches away? Do you bowl on freshly oiled league lane conditions or are you open bowling on your own? What time of the day do you bowl?

When I get a sense of what your ball does, I can suggest some options. What balls have you tried? Ball weight, pin position, finger tip or conventional? Are you bowling on wood or an overlayment? Most centers are synthetic lanes but some of the older houses have some technology that's more "challenging"!

Let me know as much as you can. Not everybody rolls the ball the same, the balls are dramatically different and lane conditions are strange sometimes. Thanks for the question, I look forward to helping you out.

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

QUESTION: I bowl straight down the boards at times and I swing at times ball speed stays the same. its monitored down lane. oil there is about 10 oil tracks on the resin ball 8 on urethane and 3 on plastic. fresh oil 2 leagues 6pm and 9am. I have 56 balls all types tried almost everything

First, if you swing the ball, it covers more boards and would be picked up by the lane devices as rolling slower than straight down the lane trajectory. If I can't get accurate information, I can't really understand what's going on.

That many flare rings suggest a lot of revs. Where are the flare rings in relation to the gripping holes? That will help immensely. What I asked before was: "When the ball rolls, is the oil on the ball close to the gripping holes (within an inch or two), further away (3 to 4 inches) or more than 5 inches away?"

Second, any reactive ball rolled slowly with a ton of revs, with that many flare rings was drilled by someone who has NO IDEA what you do to a ball. You want a low flare layout. Possibly a more understanding ball driller, or more experienced one, would help you better. Where about in the world do you live/bowl?

I am cautious to ask this because I don't want to offend you, but it seems you are searching for a magic bowling ball. Are you drilling all these bowling balls yourself?

Have you ever had bowling lessons or worked with a coach?  Sometimes, balls do wonderful things but they are tools, like a screwdriver or a wrench. If you can't deliver the ball with consistent ball speed and axis tilt and rotation, you will struggle with over-reaction and under-reaction, often in the same game. How long have you been bowling?

Are you a no thumb or two handed bowler (meaning seriously rev dominant)? What do you average? Since carry is an issue, are you good at your spares?

I commend your persistence with 56 balls. Are they all the same weight? What weight ball do you throw? Same fit? You didn't mention the lanes bowled on, I'm hoping you don't bowl on older wood lanes, or wood with a overlayment of soft plastic.

Bowling is not easy, some types of players make it look easy. Getting an accurate idea of what you do, is crucial. Some videos would be helpful. But I'm not a fan of just guessing. But if you can be more complete with answering my questions, you might have a or several balls I'd recommend already! You might just need a different layout.

Thank for the patience and I look forward to hearing back.

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

QUESTION: I have been bowling for 50 years. my ball speed is always 13.5 to 14. the lanes I bowl on are synthetic. the oil lines on the ball start close to the holes but extend 4 to 5 inches away. I have had balls even drilled negative but still go too early. my driller has been drilling my balls for 30 years and is a respected driller. the advent of resin balls and todays oil patterns is when my problems began. now I seem to be relocated to urethane and plastic. it isn't the amount of hook that's the problem, but that they hook too early even with a 4000 finish. I never have under reaction always over reaction. worked with a coach last year he kept telling me too many revs for ball speed. cant get more speed. I have so many balls with so many different layouts none seem to work. averaging 200 with urethane or plastic, but not good enough today.

Thanks for the follow-up info. Negative in a layout often gets the ball to read the lane VERY early, not a solution, unless you are going for a roll out shot.

Your track flares closer to the gripping holes suggest that you are more up the back of the ball with less axis rotation, meaning the ball will hook earlier and not more boards overall. Does your driller know your Positive Axis Point (PAP)? Does he know the Dual Angle Layout System? Or Storm Layout System?

As a rev dominant guy, your info suggests that your PAP is over more than 5 inches, maybe more.  If this is the case your basic layout should have a pin 5 plus inches from your PAP, maybe MORE and likely the pin below your finger holes. Slower speed suggests that big angles are needed in the layouts (using the Dual Angle System), to compensate. Are the lanes you play on oiled consistently? Because it sounds like using 4000 grit is rolling to soon, maybe there is little or no oil where you prefer to play. Also, your slower speed might suggest a pearl ball (possibly with some surface adjustment to make it less violent in the backend), or shiny hybrid, with a symmetric core would help.

Lastly, some options, drill a mild reactive pearl, with a symmetric core with a big pin (5-6 inches from your PAP), with an 80 degree Drill Angle and 80 degree Vertical Axis Angle. That should get the ball down the lane, if it doesn't hit well change the layout to 80/50 and try again. Or Drill one of the plastic balls with cores, symmetric I hope, with a 5 1/2 - 6 inch pin,  use a 45 degree/80 degree layout and make sure he puts a weight hole on the PSA, to help with carry.

Ball speed could be a key, but if a coach tried to get you to roll the ball faster, and you can't that might be a problem. What did the coach encourage you to do? Try to take your first step short and quick, if you take four steps, first two steps short and quicker if you have a 5 step approach. Increasing your momentum is the easiest way to increase ball speed, and likely easiest way to duplicate the adjustment through out a league set. Always check each shot as you execute (for awhile)! Making this adjustment is easy two, three or four times. Doing it 30 times, will take significant concentration. Changing muscle memory is HARD. Do something 1000 times and you may need 2,3 or 5,000 more to not have to check that you executed properly each time. 

If you have any strong cover, strong asymmetric core balls, you just send them to me. I don't want you to even think about using them again, the lane is just too long for your current game!

If your driller is open to it, let me know, I would like to talk with him about your fit and ideas on how to change your roll, or help with the layout details. Sometimes info passed back and forth gets confusing. I can get a better sense of what you guys have tried, and what he sees from some of the stuff he's drilled.

Or take some vacation days come to Chicago and we can work on your game and your stuff. Thanks for the questions. Let me know more and keep in touch I'd like to hear how things are going. I can use some more nice comments for my testimonials page on my website. Good luck and good bowling. 

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Saturday, August 20, 2022


 AUGUST 19, 2022

The Door Will Support the Industry Leader’s Growth and Acquisition Plans in Exciting Markets as Well as New League Initiatives and Gaming Programming

Richmond, VA - Bowlero Corp. the world’s largest owner and operator of bowling centers, as well as the owner of the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA), announced they have selected The Door as the agency of record for Bowlero and PBA public relations, social media and influencer services for both organizations. With over 300 bowling centers, the industry leader serves more than 26 million guests each year with a family of brands ranging from value-based and mid-range centers to premium, high-end venues.

The Door, with headquarters in New York City, began working on the account in August 2022 with a one-year contract.  The lifestyle, hospitality and entertainment firm with a 15-year tenure creating award-winning public relations campaigns, is also part of the Dolphin Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ:DLPN) super group of companies, comprising a collective of world-class creative, media, entertainment, content, production and digital agencies.

Bowlero began the agency search process earlier this year, reviewing a handful of carefully selected agencies. The leading bowling and entertainment organization ultimately chose The Door for their media IQ, industry connections, entertainment industry acumen and multi-city office locations.

The Door will be responsible for earned and social media services including campaigns for new center openings in key markets across the U.S.  The Door will also aid Bowlero in developing experiential programming and activations around key moments in time, such as support around holidays and product launches. A hallmark of The Door services, the agency will be looking for interesting brand and non-profit partners to connect to Bowlero.

The Door will also work closely with the PBA throughout the PBA Tour season to support awareness for the sport and its athletes, as well as PBA events and promotions.

"We are thrilled to be working with The Door as our PR agency of choice,” said Katie Warner, Vice President of Marketing at Bowlero Corp. “As we continue to grow our footprint and launch new initiatives, this partnership will allow us to capitalize on key moments and grow the Bowlero brand name nationwide, all while elevating the sport of bowling."

“This is exactly the type of work we love at The Door, when we get to put all of our creative, media and digital muscle behind a brand. Bowlero and the PBA have an incredible amount of ownable moments to launch this year and next; we’re excited to be part of their innovative and energetic team,” said Danielle Pagano McGunagle, Executive Managing Director of The Door.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Will A Drilling Layout Work On Any Ball?

 Questioner: Louis                                                  Date Asked: 2017-02-25 

Subject: Drillings

If you gave a favorite "drilling layout" for  Symmetric ball.....Will it work on a Asymmetric ball??? Thanks

Answer: Louis,
No, not really. The whole idea of an asymmetric core, is to have a stronger effect from the core of the ball.

If you put a favorite/strong layout in an asymmetric ball it would be exponentially stronger because of the core. Even a weaker layout can be harder to control or predict the motion, because of the effect of the core.

Remember, also, that any core wrapped in a cover that is struggling to gain friction, too smooth, to weak for the condition volume or length, will be less predictable. So, strong cores must have appropriate cover strength and/or surface roughness to allow the ball to hook where you need it to hook. A favorite symmetric core/ball layout is typically less violent so more controllable and predictable.

Thanks for the question. Bowl well.

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What Happened to My Ball?

Name: Jonathan                                                                  November 2008                                                                                                          

Subject: Bowling Surface Grit

Question: I have had my NVS for about 3 months, probably about 30-40 games or so.  At first it was working really well then the ball just seemed to die on me.  I throw relatively slow, about 10 mph.  I clean it after every use.  It seems that I cannot get any traction, it just slides off the side.  

What grit Abralon pad should I sand it with to make a difference.  I want the ball to be long and have a strong backend.  Also are there any balls that you could recommend that would compliment my game.  I've been looking at Ebonite Striking Motion and The One.  I'm fairly partial to the one.

Answer: Jonathan,
Are you sure you throw 10 miles an hour? that's approximately 4.1 seconds travel time from foul line to pins.

What do you clean the ball with? The surface is 2000 Abralon, shined with Powerhouse Factory Finish Polish. Cleaning the ball every time you use it probably is taking the polish off the ball. Use the recommended cleaner by the manufacturer or an experienced pro-shop associate. Powerhouse Factory Finish Polish will clean and re-polish your ball.

The newly re-introduced One is finished at 4000 with NO polish. I'm a fan of the series, but I'd need more info to give you any real recommendation.

Thanks you for the question. Get me some additional info and we can work on the problem.

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Can I Buy A Little Bit Of Hook?

Questioner: Lulu                                                Date Asked: 2017-01-23 

Subject: A little hook

QUESTION: currently using an 11lb conventional grip ball.    I want to buy a ball that will finish stronger. But I don't  want to go crazy here.  Will they laugh me out of the store or can I buy an 11 lb conventional grip ball to answer my needs.  I am in my 80's now and not wanting to re invent the wheel just carry a few more pins.

My ball is slow but I am always in the pocket. What ball should I ask for?
Thanks,  Lulu

What ball are you bowling with? Is it shiny or dull? How is the grip positioned to the center of gravity, top of the core, and mass bias? (A picture would help, gripping holes to camera).

The major issue you are dealing with is weight of the ball. The weight alone isn't helping enough going through the pins. If your ball can be more helpful knowing that your current ball is TOO BASIC, may help, or a stronger ball might be able to be replaced with a more basic ball (three piece polyester) with a stronger layout.

Im looking forward to hearing back from you. Thanks for the question.

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

QUESTION: I am using a shiny Columbia 300.  I will try to enclose a picture. Hope they aren't too dark

Answer: Lulu,
Can't see how the ball is rolling by the pictures, but it is as vanilla and basic a layout as it can be at first glance.

I suspect that ball weight is letting you down, 35 pounds plus of pins is hard to knock down with an 11 pound ball. Are you rolling the ball down the middle of the lane? Or at an angle from the edge of the lane towards the head pin?

I'd suggest, whatever you bowl with, might benefit from a little more grip of the lane. Would you try to dull the surface of your ball up first. The rougher cover won't deflect quit so easily. If that works even a little better you might want to try a duller surface three piece reactive ball like the Storm Mix series. A little stronger layout might hook, so not sure what your ball is doing now. If your ball speed is better than average, 10-12 mph, you might get away with a label shift. 

Is the ball fitting OK. First thing I'd encourage you to see that the fit of the ball is solid in your hand, so you don't need to grip at all, and it will help with a little stronger reaction, and staying consistent, as you are now. Have the driller check your grip and don't let them skimp. They are not going to see you as a big customer with lots of new ball purchases, so try to get them to help evaluate and suggest what will help you. If you can get them to watch you bowl it will help them customize what you get, given your unique situation.

Thanks for the follow up. Send a video if you can. and let me know what you end up doing. Thanks and bowl well. Enjoy the sport.

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Finger Grips Raised In My Ball

Name: Frank                                                                            November 2008

Subject: Fingertip concern

Question: I just recently purchased a new ball (Brunswick Raging Inferno) and got fingertips for the first time after leaving a conventional grip. The problem is the inserts themselves are flush against the ball but then are raised near the top and are exposed slightly about a few millimeters. Should I be concerned about this or will they wear down, also the pro-shop driller did mention that it was because of my flexibility with my knuckles and I should not worry about the tip being exposed out of the ball?

Answer: Frank,
The grip sticking up is a minor problem. If the grip is sanded or shaved down then rubbed with Acetone (the chemical melts the grip and smooths the surface, they'll be flush with the ball. Careful Acetone is nasty stuff, and flammable).

Apparently your driller pitched the finger grip holes so the angle has a portion of the grip protruding above the ball. A bowler (You) normally doesn't roll anywhere near the gripping holes, but in the journey back from the pinsetter, the ball might roll near or over the gripping holes/inserts. That could cause a problem. Grips could lead to some cracking of the holes the grips are glued into. If the holes are sanded before the grip is inserted there is less likelihood to have an issue.

Thanks for the question. Good luck with the new grip.

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How Is My Ball Drilled

Name: Jacob                                                                           November 2008

Subject: Ball layouts

Question: I was wondering if there was a website that would tell me how my ball is drilled, and what all of those drilling terms mean (Pin Up, MB in strong, Pin above bridge, MB on VAL, etc.).  I wanted to know so I could review my balls on different websites.

Answer: Jacob,
No website to accomplish exactly what you need. But some manufacturer's sites provide a fair amount of information. Check out the Storm Bowling website for their Glossary of terms at: ( or Ebonite International for theirs:

How about talking to the person that drilled your bowling balls?

I wish I had a better feel about some of the Internet chat rooms, but the misinformation in the reviews and forums is scary. Obviously, there are credible people on occasionally, the manufacturers have some staff assigned to post and moderate any information about their brands, but generally, I've found way to little credible info shared actively by bowlers craving knowledge.

Better to seek out individual manufacturer sites some have FAQ sections, some just provide a wealth of information about players, products and the company culture. Or (the International Bowling Pro Shop and Instructors Association) website.

I commend you for finding AllExperts, it is a pleasure helping bowlers that crave the info you do. (Unfortunately is no longer an active site.) Which is why I'm transferring some of my Questions to my blog. But consider asking the person drilling your equipment, they are invested in you doing well (or should be, you pay him/her). 

Some guys aren't very talkative, or are secretive about their expertise (or lack of it). But you want to improve, don't be afraid to ask for and maybe even pay for their time. FREE Info is often worth what you pay for it. (Unfortunately, on here anyway, that includes me!)

Because of the Avalanche of misinformation available on the Net, some info provides a Grand Illusion, I have chosen to write for AllExperts, my store website (, my blog (The Bowling Tree). Also I contributed to Pro Shop Operator magazine (a trade publication) and occasionally in Bowlers Journal International magazine (when they ask). Misinformed bowlers become frustrated bowlers and when their desire to improve is Bashed, they quit the sport.

Our industry is made up of people that love and want the sport to prosper, and others that treat it like the oceans (keep dumping crap into it). But, tens of millions have given up the game in the last two decades, and hopefully the people coming into the sport can find resources for accurate information, effective instruction and educated ball drilling and equipment preparation.

That creak was me stepping down off my soap box. Sorry for the rave. Good luck, bowl well, and thanks for the questions.

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Knock More Pins Down

Name: Bill

Subject: Knocking More Pins Down

Question: I'm 77 years bowling...recently I developed arthritis in my knuckles near the end of my fingers..I went down to an 11 lb ball..that helped...I tried a plain urethane ball..wouldn't carry well..the lanes around here are pretty dry...if I have to move too far left..rolls out at the end..I tried a Brunswick Groove carry..someone suggested go to a slightly shorter finger tip grip..and try a better quality ball for dry a Brunswick Avalanche pearl..a AMF Angle pearl..or one of the Brunswick Groove or Columbia Scout reactives..can you give me any help? Really appreciate it, thanks. Bill

Answer: Bill,

A urethane ball will get you some hit, problem is the ball weight. When you get as light as you've gotten, the ball weight doesn't help much.

Consider a conventional grip instead of finger tip (you might be able to handle more weight). With dry lanes you obviously don't need as much rotation, besides, early rotation is what causes balls to hook early and hit weak.

Length of the grip helps you control the ball, shortening the grip demands more grip pressure and will put more strain on your hand (bad idea). Also, causes slower ball speed from what you are saying. 

The grip change (to conventional) will help alleviate the finger tip arthritis discomfort. You will get less rotation but be able to play straighter but with more angle at the pocket.

When you get light (under 14lbs), you get very little help from the core. The core for a lighter ball often is very different from the heavier weight blocks. Under 12lbs, often is only a pancake weight-block (same as in a basic plastic ball). So "stronger" balls aren't stronger inside in lighter weights.

Thanks for the questions. Good luck.

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Which Bowling Ball Is For Me?

Name: Vikki

Question: Which bowling ball is for me?

I am a female bowler and currently have a 14 to 15 yr old Brunswick 300, 10 lb ball (no other info on the ball).  When I purchased it years ago, I only bowled for fun and was a palm-up, straight down the center of the lane bowler.  I recently had it re-drilled to better fit my hand and began serious efforts to bowl properly.  I line up on the center dot, aim for the second arrow and have a hand shake position release.  The ball goes straight down the lane and begins a slow hook to the 1-3 pocket.  I have finally gotten some consistency with hitting the pocket.  I feel the ball is too light because it seems I have to crank to get any power/speed which causes me to be inconsistent.  I rarely achieve a strike even when I'm not trying for more speed.  My current average is 115.  My house lanes are usually dry to medium oil.  I know nothing about the ball I have now, nor do I know my speed or revs.  Should I increase to a 12 lb ball, or a 14?  Is there a specific bowling ball made now that will mimic my Brunswick's performance?  Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Answer: Vikki,

My guess would be your ball is polyester (plastic) or rubber. The driller who plugged it should be able to verify.

Your ball weight is dictated by your desire to knock down pins. With a well fit bowling ball, the ball lets go of you, so grip pressure is eliminated (thus the strain of gripping). I start bowlers at 10 percent of their body weight up to the maximum of 16 pounds.

Balls, from a bowling store come in one pound increments past 10, usually 6,8,10,11,12,13,14,15,16. Occasionally a brand will include 9 pounds options.

Increase your weight to what you feel most comfortable with, but increase it. Small steps to start! Do not jump up more than 2 pounds at a time and check the fit with each change. You did not mention what kind of fit you have. I'd stay with whatever you are used to now. 

If it is conventional, with fingers in the ball to the second knuckle and thumb inserted to the base of the thumb, you will use the weight and natural feel and swing to improve your scores. The ball should literally hang from your hand with no need for grip pressure. Work less hard as you up the weight. Let momentum and gravity do ALL the work. Once you feel like you have achieved the heaviest weight you would like to use, talk to your Pro Shop/Ball Driller about the benefits of a finger tip grip. 

Throwing a performance ball will be helpful, the urethane base cover (in urethane, reactive resin urethane, and everything in between) will help your hitting power and the surface and core could help your hook potential.

Your Brunswick ball is most likely a three piece, pancake weight-block. The 
Brunswick plastic spare balls, the Zones, would have slightly stronger cores vs your current ball. Bumping up to the affordable Twist series or Rhino series will offer more cover (traction) and stronger core (engine). The Columbia White Dot and Ebonite Maxims have the same construction as the Brunswick Zone and are the same smooth polyester cover (spare ball).  The Storm Mix series mimics the core of your ball but is made of urethane.

Urethane options and other entry level reactive resin urethane balls could offer more performance than you have, but hook is generated by the bowler. The ball augments the bowler with a tool that is more potentially hookable. 

Thanks for the questions. Good luck.

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How Do I Throw a Hook

Name: Samantha

Subject: throwing a hook


I have been bowling since I was 8 years old, I have never been much more than a 120 average bowler. My husband has always called me a backup bowler. I am right handed, I used to stand on the left side and aim for the 4th dot in order to hit the pocket. My ball always would curve to the right. So, enough history, earlier this year I have been trying desperately to learn how to throw a hook. I have a Storm ball (I'm not sure at the moment which one exactly but I've been told it is a good ball.) I've been trying since April and my ball would always spin like a top. My husband tells me it's my release. Now he has me throwing the ball as though I was a straight ball bowler and the ball does just goes straight. I am at my wits end. My husband says that when I release it that my hand is like a claw but pointing upward. I have a 4 step approach, I can never figure out how much to bend down without my husband telling me that I'm dropping my shoulder. Please help me, any advice would be appreciated!!

ANSWER: It sounds like you may have a grip issue. When undo grip pressure is necessary to hold onto a ball, the elbow sometimes comes into play with female bowlers. When tightening muscles in your arm, to help hold onto the ball, your elbow could be tucking in, causing your wrist and hand to rotate left to right. The result, you deliver the ball straight or even rolling the ball left to right (a backup hook).

If you can position the ball in front of your armpit with the thumb at 10 o'clock. Try to swing the ball, straight back and straight forward. Keep the hand position throughout the approach, swing, and delivery. As you roll the ball, continue the hand forward (toward your target)and up, like throwing an imaginary glass of water up and over your right shoulder. Maintaining the hand position will provide the axis tilt you want.

Most bowlers try to turn the ball to much and take much of the needed energy away with too much rotation, overturning the shot. Throw with this hand position for awhile, you need to break down your current muscle memory and create a new and different feel as you bowl.

You will also want to incorporate less bend at the waist and more bend of the knees. Start with an athletic stance, with bent knees helping absorb some of the bounce and wobble, as you take your 4 step approach. A slight bend at the waist, for balance, will help. As you move forward keep the shoulders up, maintain the position of your back, like in the stance, for leverage. Work on your stance, approach and straight swing before you concentrate on the hand position and learning to hook the ball. Your ability to duplicate the stance, approach and swing will help greatly when learning to control a hook delivery.

Working on one change at a time, and throwing at least 30-50 shots, will help breakdown current muscle memory, and allow you to learn the new elements of your game.

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

QUESTION: I first just wanted to say "thank you for your time and advice." I now have realized what the problem is and you were right on about me gripping the ball. I just bought a new ball a "Hammer Anger." I am struggling with the fact of not holding on to it for dear life because I'm afraid it will fall out of my hand on the back swing. I have also realized now that instead of releasing the ball when I come down that I have been releasing it out in front of me, "airborne" if you can get the picture. I am so frustrated right now and for all of you guys out there reading this I'm sure you'll get a good laugh but I cried. I am so very, very, frustrated and I so desperately want to be a really great bowler. When I was a backup bowler I could bowl 140's, 150's, I have probably bowled 3 200 games my entire life. I really, really, want to master this sport. It is such a blow to my pride to watch the "98" pin bowler that we bowl against (who I used to dance circles around) beat my measly 89, 90, 105 games. I am hoping that with alot of practice that I can somehow turn things around and get "back in the game." My thumb has not been coming out first so now that and my release point are the 2 things I am trying to master at the moment. I try so very, very, hard, I know why I grip the ball for fear that on the backswing it will fall out of my hand.

Answer: Without seeing you play, I can't know what is holding you back, or frustrating your efforts. But, remember you are adjusting muscle memory, altering your approach and changing the speed (possibly) and rotation of your shots. It will NOT come quickly.

Work on ONE thing at a time. Please be patient. The game is played on a little more than a 40inch wide playing field. You need to begin to feel yourself duplicating what you do. Consistency is your first objective. So, minimal grip pressure is a huge benefit.

Your ball is probably to strong for what you want to do. A strong cover like the Anger needs oil. Do you throw very hard? With a stronger ball you run into the possibility that you need to overcome your ball reaction, bad idea. Keep in mind that the lane you practice on may be very different then the lanes you bowl league on, too.

Give yourself little successes for Christmas, they will add up to a more consistent game. A world class runner started out with baby steps. Good bowling.

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