One of our friends recently wrote the following comments. I thought it was poignant and worth a more in depth look.
David H wrote:
Coach, first off, let me compliment you and everyone at TamerBowling. You and your staff do a great job of reviewing equipment. You have made yourself available to me to bounce ideas off of and have given us all a ton of expertise that is just not available anywhere else. Having said that….
Storm is killing us with all their balls. I am all for Storm and other ball co’s releasing a whole bunch of stuff so we as bowlers have more tools and options.
But it’s almost becoming paralyzing the number of choices we have as bowlers. How does one even begin to determine whether to buy a Nano, Nano Pearl, Vivid, Marvel, Modern Marvel, Victory Road Solid, Manic or IQ Tour? I mean, all of them are relatively early, relatively hooking. How to choose between them. And for heaven sake, that is just one line from one company. There’s Ebonite brands, Roto, Global 900, Brunswick, etc etc.
Storm and other ball co’s have produced these wonderful tools, but have given the bowler no way of determining which one to buy. I cannot afford (in time and money) more than a few balls a year.
I subscribe to Bowling this Month which has reviews and CATS data. I read this site, which has excellent quality info. I read other websites, watch youtube reviews. And yet when I find myself unable to kick out the soft 10 on a house shot and want a new rock, I really have no idea of what to buy.
And I do not buy the company line, “please talk with your proshop operator”. That’s bull****. I know just as much if not more about how stuff reacts for me and others than my pro shop operator does. I think the ball co’s are doing themselves a disfavor by not giving us a way to evaluate equipment for appropriateness. There is nothing as unsatisfying as getting a new rock to solve a problem in your carry only to find out that your choice was way off the mark. I have attended demo days from Ebonite. Too bad both times they did the demo, the lanes were not oiled and played different than the typical house shot. So the feedback was not reliable.
Keep up the good work that you are doing Coach. Your site does it better than any other. With your info, I can at least narrow my choices down quite a bit and know that whatever ball I choose will not be TOO far off the mark, if not the perfect choice.
Why do the ball co’s not understand this problem? Or maybe they do, but what stops them from offering better info?
Here are my thoughts:
Hi David, I feel your pain. It’s painfully true that manufacturers are putting out an obscene amount of equipment per year. Like any other business, product drives sales. Keeping things fresh helps drive sales. Yes, there’s a ton of re-use of technology which tells me that that much new equipment per year is not really necessary. But, it is what it is.
There are a couple of ways to combat this, some of which you attempted.
- You could opt to stick with one brand. Generally speaking, it’s pretty easy to see the purpose of the equipment as you go up and down a manufacturer’s lineup as opposed to trying to fit a piece from this brand and hope it fills a gap from another. I know some of us like a certain piece from a mfg, but then don’t have interest in other pieces. You can do what you want, but you will be adding to the confusion.
- Take advantage of demo days. It’s unacceptable that lanes aren’t oiled properly for a demo day. However, assuming this is not an issue, it’s one of the better ways to get a feel for the ball roll and whether you will like it or not. I’ve found it difficult to determine how a ball fits in my arsenal this way since the physical fit of demo balls tends to be off. Most of the time, I found a ball to be much stronger than I expected once it’s actually drilled for me.
- Watch videos and read about the balls. I know you have good experience. While we may not be the ones actually throwing the ball, if the bowler has similar revs, speed, tilt and rotation, you are likely to get a good feel for the ball roll. I could usually tell if I’m going to like the ball based on that. Again, it takes a bit of an experienced eye, but we can try it.
- Ebonite Blueprint. Ebonite happens to try to solve this problem for us by offering a software that can let you see what the ball will do through simulation using your specs. It’s not the same as throwing it nor will it give you a “read” on the ball roll. It’s also only available for the Ebonite International brands. Maybe a good reason to stick with their brands for those that are already using it.
- Ask. We at TamerBowling are available to you. Your proshop operator is available to you, hopefully. Manufacturers are very open to taking technical questions about their equipment.
- Stick with what works. Yes, new equipment comes out all the time. However, given the amount of reuse of technology, you can almost always find what you’ve thrown before.
- Stick with drills that work for you. Experimenting too much could simply lead to frustration over a ball’s motion. Even if it may have been the right ball if drilled correctly, most of us are soured on a ball after first impressions.
Personally, I’ve had various ways of putting an arsenal together. I have to give credit to a couple of astute pro shop operators. They were able to pick out a couple of pieces that would work for me on that condition, in a particular house. The drilling matched up perfectly. I may not have realized it right away, but over time, it was proven over and over again that these couple of balls with certain drills work and are extremely versatile for me.
Now I know the core shapes that tend to work for me, the drills, and types of covers. It still doesn’t always work, but we try our best.
For example, I had a lot of success with the Storm Furious. The same core is now in the Tropical Heats. Guess what, the new Tropical Heats still work amazing for me. Why not get one? My old Ebonite V2 was my favorite ball of all time. Gamebreaker was re-released and I picked one up. Guess what, it still works.
Sometimes reducing the variables is key.