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Questions on coverstocks, lowering scores and ball speed – April 2009

Q: What is the difference between “pearl” bowling balls and “solid” bowling balls?

A: For the most part, and assuming similar layouts and drilling patterns, “pearl” bowling balls tend to skid farther in the head portion of the lane and hook sharply in the backend. “Solid” balls tend to have a more even roll, with a little more hooking action in the front portion of the lane and sharp hooking action in the backend. I find that the “solid” balls seem to be a bit easier to control, while the “pearl” balls seem to hit a bit harder and create more pin action.

Q: Many bowlers in my area feel that the way to lower scores and make the game fairer for all would be to raise the weight of the bowling pin. What’s your opinion?

A: While I agree with your assumption that scores would go down if heavier pins were used, I do not agree that it would negate the effect of the new bowling balls or make the game fairer. I believe that the strong hitting balls would have a greater advantage against the heavier pins, and bowlers who throw the ball slowly or with less lift would suffer much lower scores in comparison to the power players. In my opinion, if the goal is to lower scores evenly throughout the spectrum of bowlers, you must come up with a complete spectrum of changes in lane conditioners, balls, lane surfaces and pins.

Q: How do I get more revs on the ball?

A: Hold your ball in a slightly cupped position with the wrist firm. Maintain that wrist position through the release, with the thumb exiting the ball first and your fingers lifting upward on the holes during the release. If you want to increase the revolutions even more, work on developing timing whereby your slide foot arrives at the foul line ahead of the armswing, and you use the slide foot as a pivot to increase leverage, thus creating revs. Watch Pete Weber the next time he’s on TV. His slide leg arrives almost one full step ahead of his armswing.

Q: I’ve always been a speed-dominant bowler (18.75 to 19.25-mph) and feel good about it. People tell me my speed overpowers my revs so the ball does not read the mid-lane. I took my
pro shop tech’s advice to back down on the speed, or try to match my revs and speed evenly for a better read. How do I take away the muscle and let gravity work?

A: In the past, 19-mph was excessively fast because the harder shell bowling balls did not have a chance to create
friction with the lane surface. Today, however, the ball creates a lot more friction, and throwing it in the 19-mph range is not excessive, assuming you are playing the higher friction area of the lane. On some conditions, it is beneficial to have the highhard one in your repertoire, so I wouldn’t totally discard it. As for slowing down, use a straight forward or slightly downward pushaway. At the pushaway’s end, simply let the weight of the ball swing the arm downward, and this will reduce the speed naturally, without muscle control.