When to use which ball???

 

We all love to see that big hook. When that ball goes down the lane and just makes a left (or right) turn. It feels good to be able to do that, if you can. Or you just love to watch it. But is it really the best ball reaction?

An all too common phenomenon happens to league bowlers all the time.  Here’s an example:

Bob: How’d you bowl tonight?
John: Eh, OK.  I shot 650
Bob: Hey, what’s wrong with that, your average is 215?
John:  I’m just frustrated.  I shot 220 out of the gate, then shot a measly 180.  Then ran it off with a 250.  I just can’t seem to put a series together to get to a 700.  I always feel like I can, but something goes wrong.  I felt like I was throwing the ball well all night, just didn’t have the carry.  The ball was acting kind of funny in game 2.
Bob:  That transition game gets us all some nights.

 

So what is going on here?  It happens to even the best of us.  Let’s investigate this a bit.  I want to focus on ball reaction in this example.

For simplicity, let’s just compare a skid/flip and a smooth reaction. Skid/flip will generally not have much reaction in oil, but react quickly to dry conditions. Smoother ball reactions will generally start up earlier and react more slowly to oil because either the core has turned over already or the cover is designed to react a little less quickly to dry. Sometimes the skid/flip reaction is preferred while other times, smoother reactions are preferred. So when is that?

Here are a few keys:

  1. When there is a defined breakpoint on a typical house shot — you can your skid/flip ball.
    • This situation happens on a fresh tapered house shot
    • It also happens after a house shot has broken down and the shot becomes “redefined”
    • These conditions allow you to take advantage of the natural tendencies of a skid/flip ball to provide good carry
  2. When the lanes are in transition — you should use a ball with smoother reaction
    • After a game or more, where the breakpoint is no longer very defined, due to transitioning.  Different bowlers with different equipment and lines are spreading oil left, right, and back, while breaking down the pattern.
    • The lanes become more sensitive and thus, will require the ball to create the margin for error.
    • Smoother balls will provide larger margin of error in these conditions
  3. Fresh sport shots — Generally prefer smoother ball reactions
    • As sport shots give you less margin for error, even though the breakpoint may be defined, it will require you to be very accurate.  Why not use a ball that will add some margin of error?  Even a board or two will give you an advantage.
  4. Broken down sport shots — You can use your skid/flip ball
    • These will be similar to house shots in that as the sport shot breaks down, it naturally provides more margin for error allowing you to use your favorite ball reaction

Remember, this is a general guide.  It should give you an idea why it’s pretty typical that people may score higher than average in the 1st game, much lower in the second game, and much higher in the third game.  This is an all too typical night for many league bowlers.  I hope this quick tip helps you prepare for the upcoming season!

 

Comments

  1. You may have to work back and forth w/ me on this Coach.
    I am consistently leaving flat 10′s. I’m right handed.
    So picture this. STrike, strike, flat 10. OK I move right a bit. Then strike. Then 4 pin. Well then I decide that maybe I should be lined up deeper. Throw a strike or two then another flat 10. Move left far enough and I will even get blower 7-10′s. So I am pounding the pocket but getting outscored by a few others because they are carrying and I am not.

    I have been using primarily symetricals. Gamebraker, Columbia Eruption, Marvel Pearl. all pretty shiney. Storm Reign Supreme and Tropical Heat Hybrid are worthless on this shot. They hit like a turd on this surface/shot. I have a TAboo, which I cannot use because it starts up too early and also flat 10′s. Virtual Energy also rolls too early.

    I bowl on a fresh xmas tree type THS. 40ft.
    It’s a smooth surface, pro-anvilane, maybe 6 years old.
    I’m pretty good. Avg 225 on THS. Sport shot league Avg is 195.
    Cats has me at 300 RPM. PAP is 4 3/4 over, 7/8 up. Axis rotation is 30-45
    degrees. I have a CATS readout if that would help.
    Generally standing w/ me left toes on 20 or so with a breakpoint around 5-7 board.

    Thanks for playing along. Looking forward to your input.

    • HI David. Sounds like my life :-)
      What you described is not uncommon for bowlers averaging what you do, especially when the condition is a medium-light house shot. The lanes break down relatively quickly and we don’t tend to stay in front of the transition quick enough. One way to combat this, if you’re confident in your shot-making ability is to not wait for the flat 10, but get a shot ahead.
      What is your ball speed? One possibility is that the equipment you are using is too strong. I have a Gamebreaker which I love but it is not weak. I find that my Marvel Pearl has been simply too strong on medium THS where it was awesome on Kegel Autobahn Sport shot. However, what surprises me is you say the Reign Supreme and Tropical Heat Hybrid don’t work well as they would be the natural step down balls in my mind. Why don’t you send your CATS readout to coacht@tamerbowling.com and I’ll take a look.

  2. I will email you the CATS sheet. meanwhile….

    Marvel Pearl seems too strong for me also. Forces my feet too far to the left and then also will flat 10 or oddly solid 8 on me. The ball just feels like it’s too much. The GAmebreaker and Eruption have a nice shape to them on this shot, just not seeming to get the carry consistently. And I guarantee that I will miss 1 ten pin per night if I leave enough of them :-(

    The Supreme and Heat just react very arcy and do not have enough back end to kick out that 10. I understand that those balls are supposed to be tamer (get it, ha ha) but they just seem to start early and not hit hard enuf. Those balls react well to the shorter sport shot patterns.

    I have tried moving deeper, with just about all of the balls but that seems to put me in too much oil. It takes away margin for error when missing left. Puling it a board or 2 left make the ball skate too far. And if I miss, I usually miss left.

    Now one thing I have not tried (it just occurred to me) was putting a little surface on my Eruption and moving deeper inside. It could be that I am getting an over/under reaction with my symmetricals. And maybe a 3000-4000 pad would calm that down.

    Also the shot actually does not change very much over the course of my 3 games. So it’s not like I have the carry and then it goes away. Rather the ball just doesn’t seem to attack the pins hard enough from the get go. Then throw in a solid 8 every so often to boot.

    I also found your entry angle article interesting. You were suggesting using a weaker ball outside. I have another Gamebreaker that has been plugged twice. It goes much straighter than my Gamebreaker that I usually use. But alas this ball has even less backend pop to it and will not carry consistently.

    Best Regards!

  3. I will email you the CATS sheet. meanwhile….

    Marvel Pearl seems too strong for me also. Forces my feet too far to the left and then also will flat 10 or oddly solid 8 on me. The ball just feels like it\’s too much. The GAmebreaker and Eruption have a nice shape to them on this shot, just not seeming to get the carry consistently. And I guarantee that I will miss 1 ten pin per night if I leave enough of them :-(

    The Supreme and Heat just react very arcy and do not have enough back end to kick out that 10. I understand that those balls are supposed to be tamer (get it, ha ha) but they just seem to start early and not hit hard enuf. Those balls react well to the shorter sport shot patterns.

    I have tried moving deeper, with just about all of the balls but that seems to put me in too much oil. It takes away margin for error when missing left. Puling it a board or 2 left make the ball skate too far. And if I miss, I usually miss left.

    Now one thing I have not tried (it just occurred to me) was putting a little surface on my Eruption and moving deeper inside. It could be that I am getting an over/under reaction with my symmetricals. And maybe a 3000-4000 pad would calm that down.

    Also the shot actually does not change very much over the course of my 3 games. So it\’s not like I have the carry and then it goes away. Rather the ball just doesn\’t seem to attack the pins hard enough from the get go. Then throw in a solid 8 every so often to boot.

    I also found your entry angle article interesting. You were suggesting using a weaker ball outside. I have another Gamebreaker that has been plugged twice. It goes much straighter than my Gamebreaker that I usually use. But alas this ball has even less backend pop to it and will not carry consistently.

    Best Regards!

    • I can see what you’re saying with the Marvel Pearl. I think it works better if you have more speed or higher volume of oil. I also know exactly what you mean with the Gamebreaker. I love that ball and its shape. It is a very versatile piece in that you can get to the pocket with it on almost anything. However, it will not always carry. It is a benchmark reaction in my mind. If it is carrying, great. If it’s not, it tells you what’s next.
      What I am surprised about is the Supreme and Heat. If drilled correctly, especially the Heat, that ball can really flip on the backend. It has a higher RG and really does store energy well, with a nice move on the backend. I’d be curious to see how these balls are drilled for you.
      For an entry angle perspective, it really depends on what you’re getting now. If you wanted to cut it down, you could open up your angles or close them down. If you close them down, sometimes a lower RG ball will be better because it will turn over quickly, thus cutting down on the entry angle. In other words, use a strong ball to control the lanes rather than overpower them.

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