86 thoughts on “Ask the coach”

  1. Hugh asked,
    Coach T, was not sure where to post this but I read your review of the Columbia Freeze and I have a question. I’m using a Brunswick 3.5 at 15# and I like it very much; however, it is made for heavy oil which I don’t always bowl on so I was wondering what ball you’d recommend that will hook well and is made for medium to dry conditions? I also have my first ball, a Brunswick Avalanche, and it just does not like to hook very well.

    Thanks for the question. The C3.5 you have is intended to be a heavy oil ball so I understand the need for something for lighter conditions. It would be great if I could see a video of you and be familiar with the house you bowl in, but I can try to generalize a bit. If you want to stick with Big B, the Python might work. There are a few that I really like locally. The Ebonite Playmaker has my favorite core of all time and seems very playable for lots of people. Storm Fast or Furious are very playable on medium conditions, Fast more so on drier. As you can probably tell from my review, I really like the Columbia Freeze. It’s less expensive than all I mentioned and really seems to work well in the houses I bowl in. I never have a problem recommending it.
    Check in with a local pro shop your comfortable with. Make sure they watch you bowl and know the shot your bowling on. This will hopefully reduce the chance of getting a ball that doesn’t fit what you are looking for.

  2. I read this in another forum and my reply follows. Can someone answer this?

    I have a couple balls coming next week that are outfitted with the Vise IT system. The middle finger matches my span exactly on both but the ring finger is an 1/8 of an inch shorter. What will be the effect of the shorter span? Somebody told me I will come around the side of the ball more on release…
    I replied:
    I can\\\’t exactly answer your question. I do this exact thing to all my balls,i.e. ring finger is shorter than middle by 1/8\\". I have heard conflicting reasons for as to WHY to do it. For me, it gives me a cleaner release and allows me to either come up the back of the ball or around the ball, whichever I choose. I have heard for years that many top pros drop their ring finger (fit it shorter than it measures). It may help me because I am rev dominant, sort of like a modified Sarge Easter grip,by reducing the angle of axis rotation(not reducing revolutions). Or it may reduce the tilt(increase the diameter of the track). Perhaps someone with IBPSIA training can chime in and tell us what is happening. I just know, I like it a lot better than a traditional fit on the ring finger.

    1. Hi Mike,
      I don’t drill balls everyday for a living like my local pro shop operator, so I queried him to get his thoughts. Generally, there is agreement that it can increase axis rotation, meaning slightly more side roll. 1/8 of an inch is not near the extent of a sarge easter grip, but could impart more side roll nevertheless.

  3. I have been bowling for almost 18 years, and will be bowling full time on the Regional Tour this fall. I’m very familar with Storm/Roto Grip equipment, and I’m also a USBC Certified Coach. If anyone has any questions regarding anything from balls and layouts to sport patterns, I’d be glad to help to the best of my ability. Bowl up a Storm.

    1. Hi Luke,
      Glad you are able to visit the site. It’s great to have a fellow coach looking to help bowlers out with their games.
      Coach T

  4. Just read the article “House Shot vs PBA or Sport Shot “, and want to know more about the oiling terms such as what is forward oil, what is reverse oil, and what is mean by buff? Kindly can you tell me, thank you very much. ^V^

    1. Hi Tony, Thanks for the question! In basic terms, Forward oil is when oil is laid down as the lane machine moves towards the pins. Reverse oil is when oil is laid down as the lane machine is moving back towards the foul line. The buffed area is after the machine stops laying down oil and has a buffer which just progressively “spreads” what’s left. In other words, no oil is laid down in the buff area but it will have less and less oil as it gets towards the pins and away from where the machine actually laid oil down.

      1. Thanks Coach T. So is there any difference between forward direction oiling and reverse direction oiling? If non, why they have to use 2 differnt oiling direction? Thanks a lot!

  5. I have been bowling in an amature tournament circuit and have been struggling with the sport condition that is put down. I have med-high rev rate and speed of 14.5-15.0 mph. I am throwing a Roto Grip Cell with pin directly above ring finger. I have been varying the surface between 1000 grit down to 240 grit and everything in between. None of these surfaces have produced a good reaction on the condition that is out there. The condition is set up with medium/high volume and very long. I can not get a mid lane or down lane read as the ball revs up and does very little if anything down lane. This condition worsens as more shots are thrown as carry down appears. I am not sure if my issue is surface or ball choice. I am getting a “Mission” drilled strictly for tournament play.
    Do you think I will see a noticable difference?
    The past tournament I bowled in I was paired with someone throwing a “Reign” drilled pin just under ring finger and appeared to have some form of side weight. The surface was oob. He had a slight bit more hand than me but not enough to overpower the condition. He had reaction and play area simmilar to a house shot. I am out of ideas other than new equipment and would appreciate your input.

    1. Thanks for your question Ron. Firstly, comparing the Mission to the Cell on the same condition, I found a significant difference in overall ball reaction. The Cell’s cover was more of an “oiler” meaning it dug in and generated lots of friction. As well, the huge core wants to rev all by itself and very early. I can imagine that as much surface as you have on the ball, whether it is 240 or 1000, the ball will burn up and have very little backend reaction. You may want to increase the surface. Probably what you’re finding is more an issue of the front part of the lane breaking down rather than carrydown.
      As far as the Mission, I find it’s characteristics substantially different than the Cell, although it is classified as a med-heavy oil ball. The cover is much cleaner through the fronts than the Cell, allowing it to store more energy for the backends. Also, the core is not as big and I consider it a “medium” core in that it allows more natural length than the very early revving Cell. Those two factors allow the Mission to have different look than the Cell.
      I found the Mission very consistent with more “tournament-like” conditions, i.e., less tapered side to side and clean backends. I could not find success personally with the Cell, even on the Shark because it didn’t provide enough entry angle.

      1. Update:
        First, thank you for your description of ball reaction between the cell and mission. You were dead on accurate with your suggestion of decreasing surface with the cell. I decreased the surface to 1500 abralon and mirror polished it. I could not believe the difference in reaction. I bowled another tournament this past weekend on second squad but started on a fresh pair. The cell reacted perfectly with little to no early movement slight mid lane and strong controlable backend. The second game I had to move to the dreaded 1&2 which had been bowled on the prior squad. I had to put the cell away as the midlane reaction was too jumpy. I took out the mission and started the game well with it but then ran out of room and watched my scores plumet the second and third game. Well I learned alot about surface and now have a much better understanding of how to implement it into my game.
        Thanks Coach T!!

  6. Just wondering what the pitch in the thumb hole affects the release. I am right handed and currently, I have too much spin not enough roll, and my thumb is 1/16 right. I was recommended to go to 3/8 left to get more roll and less spin, but dont know why, can you explain to me why pitches will make so much differnce and why some pro shop likes to use right pitch and other seems to favor left pitch (for right hand player).

  7. Coach T,

    Love your site. I have a question about the flat spot. Great video with Chris Barnes, he really demonstrates the flat spot perfectly. Can you give me any tips on finger and thumb pitches to help create the senstation of the flat spot easier and stopping myself from hitting up so much? When I feel the flat spot on my release my ball really reads the lane better. I am struggling with consistently feeling the flat spot. My PAP is 4 1/2 over and o up. With my lower track and layouts i am using now my ball seems to pick up to soon with not much backend when the lanes are dry to medium and if it is slick my ball seems to never pick up in the backend. I would appreciate any suggestions you might have for ball layouts or pitches. I really think hitting the flat spot consisently will bring my track up. Thanks.


    1. Hi Sid,
      The Avalanche Urethane will most likely play very similarly on the White pattern as any house shot. It will just depend on the length of the condition laid out. You may find a little trouble getting a read on longer or fresher patterns, but once they open up, urethane is a good option.

  8. Hello, I’m looking for a couple new bowling balls, but getting mixed advice. I’m a left handed speed dominant player, approx 20-21 average ball speed, with approx 250 average revs. Right now i’m throwing an Ebonit TPC Player (old) and a polished Hammer rayzer. The player is drilled for midlane hook, arc backend. Is there any products or a spicific drilling instructions you would recommend.

    1. Hi Josh,
      Tell me a little about the conditions you bowl on and what reaction you like or don’t like. Are you happy with the reaction of the Player or Rayzr? What do you like or don’t like about them?

      1. i’ve been using the player across 3rd arrow out to between 5-10 board depending on angle i need to play the rayzr is about same break point just about 5 boards less ball. i’ve always prefered playing straight down 10 but 2 do that i have to throw my old burgandy hammer and have trouble with carrying. lanes are a kegal pattern but not sure of which. i’m looking at buying a slingshot. do you have any drilling recommendations. i’ve been considering pin under ring finger with cg centered in grip.

        1. Hi Josh,
          So you say you use the Player 15 to 8, let’s say. You said the Razyr gets to the same breakpoint, but 5 boards less. So that sounds like 10 to 8 or so. Is that right? You said you like to play up 10, but tell me what breakpoint you like to use. I just can’t tell what you don’t like about the Razyr. I assume your Razyr is drilled with the pin and CG in the palm already, correct. If the Razyr is too much from there, you could try the Slingshot. It will move on the right condition. My house shot sounds very similar to what your seeing and I also prefer to go straight up if possible, however, with my rev rate and ball reaction, I am also unable to get the right reaction going up 10 to 6 or so. One thing I have found to work is to move into the 3rd breakzone, i.e., 10-14 at the breakpoint. This will cut down the entry angle and allow you to throw stronger equipment. For example, you could go 14 at the arrows to 11 at the breakpoint. You may be surprised at what you see if you haven’t considered it. Last year, I used the Natural a lot to to stay outside, but I’ve decided to stick with Ractive equipment and move my breakpoint in. Let me know if that helps.

          BTW, I’ve got an SV650S… Maybe I’ll right something about motorcycles sometime 🙂

          1. Hi Coach T, its been a while so I figured I throw in an update. I now have a completely new arsenal with some oddly drilled balls. I purchased Storm Victory Road solid and pearl. Both drilled the same way pin under the ring finger (lefty), but with the cg kicked to the right for negitive weight. My Tropical breeze is drilled with the pin above my middle finger with the cg in a neutral position. I also have a Rising Star with a modified Rico drilling. This has helped me raise my average nearly 15 pins by reevaluating layouts. Ive noticed that putting the cg in a negative position helps the ball roll up earlier and helps over come my unmatched speed over revs.

          2. Sounds like you are making good progress with your game. Definitely helps to have an arsenal you understand. If you know when to use what ball, that’s more than half the battle.
            Good luck with the new season!

  9. Hi, I have been struggling in the 2nd and 3rd games keeping the ball right of the head pin. I bowl in a league that to me has very dry lane conditions although I don’t know the specifics. I sometimes use my spare ball in the third game, but have to throw a near perfect ball it seems to carry the strike. I was looking for a less aggressive ball and bought a track 300c a few months back but it still moves more than I had planned. What do you recommend? I have been thinking about urethane, but don’t know a lot about them. From what I have read I was considering the Storm Natural and the Brunswick Avalanch. My ball speed is around 15-16 mph. What would you recommend and what should I look at if deciding between these two balls? TIA

    1. HI Andy, Thanks for the question. It’s interesting that the 300C is still moving too much, but not really very surprising. I’ve found most of the balls intended for light oil still move quite a bit because they store a lot of energy which means they will have a big backend. There are a couple of different ways to go about dealing with very dry lanes. One option is going with urethane which will significantly tame the backend reaction down. You can watch the videos of the Storm Natural and Brunswick Avalanche Urethane on my site if you haven’t already. You can put extender polish on the 300C. That will really make it go long before making its move. Another option, which might sound counterintuitive, is trying to sand down the 300C or another more aggressive ball. That might help the ball read earlier and set so that the backend isn’t so aggressive. That will make the ball read the midlane sooner and roll out. It might sound strange, but again, it’s a different option that many don’t consider. The ball always needs to go through its 3 phases, skid, hook, and roll. Polishing will cause the skid phase to be longer while sanding will make the roll phase longer.
      Good Luck!

  10. Do you recommend one urethane over another? My understanding is the pearl will slide a little longer. Otherwise are the natural and avalanche pretty comparable? Thanks!

    1. It really depends on what you feel you need. Whether solid or pearl, Urethane will not give anywhere near the same move as a reactive ball. But yes, pearl will go longer and store a bit more energy. A pearl urethane ball will cover slightly less boards than a solid because solid reads the lane as soon as it’s down. It’s tough for me to make a specific recommendation without watching you bowl but hopefully these notes will help you decide.

  11. why is it that every time i drill up a new ball, i end up shaving the thumb hole. i’m right handed and my thumb pitch is 1/4″ reverse and 1/4″ right. i seem to always shave the inside right and the front left (looking at the grip). please advise

    1. Hi. I’m not a ball driller myself, but I have to assume that your drilling is possibly having you hang up a bit so by shaving it a bit, you allow it to come off your hand a bit smoother. No big deal unless you are uncomfortable with it. If your concerned with your drilling, you can have your pro shop re-fit you and check if it matches up. You can also consider checking out a different pro shop and see if they would suggest a different drilling.
      Good Luck!

  12. Coach T —

    From Spares ‘n Strikes to Strikes ‘n Spares:

    When I first started bowling (in early 2010) strikes didn’t come very often and neither did spares. As I progressed, strikes remained elusive but I got a lot more spares. When my strike count went up and my average hit 150, and with more self-confidence, I decided to get a higher performance ball and stop throwing straight balls. (I even joined a league.) I’m now rolling a Vital Sign. My strike count is higher yet, and I’ve started bowling my first 200+ games. However . . .

    . . . picking up spares has become a problem again. In a typical game, I’ll have up to 4 open frames. (My typical leave is two pins, sometimes three. Splits and standing 10s, not so much.) I understand making the necessary starting position and target adjustments with this stronger ball, but it seemed to me the quickest and easiest solution was to become a 2-ball bowler. So, having disposed of my first ball, I got an Ice for rolling straight balls to get the spares. It was drilled exactly like my Vital Sign, and my thinking was to throw it just like I used to throw the entry-level ball.

    To my amazement, it seems I’ve forgotten how to roll a straight ball!

    With the Ice, I’ve tried different hand positions in my release, holding methods, etc., but I’m not getting the expected higher success rate. Lately, I’ve been wondering about getting yet another ball, a weaker one than the VS though stronger than the Ice. But I think the problem is more with me, though I don’t know what or why. Obviously, I’m not understanding something or have overlooked what a more experienced bowler may take for granted.

    In the meantime, instead of practicing with my Vital Sign, I’m throwing the Ice at specific pin clusters as if at a typical spare. But, given my inaccuracy, it’s like starting all over.

    I’m wondering if this is an unusual phenomena and what your thoughts are?

    1. Hi. I hear you. Believe me, even 200+ average bowlers will get the yips from time to time. To give you an idea, I used to use my strike ball for strikes and spares. That’s because I was able to completely flatten my wrist and throw any ball pin straight. Then I changed to plastic to remove the lane condition from play. I was never particularly confident in plastic, it was more a mental thing, but I stuck with it for sometime. Then last year, I switched to a urethane ball for all spares. That’s just to give you an idea that our games change all the time.
      So hear’s the thing. The first recommendation is usually to throw straight at all single-pin spares. Many people use plastic so that they can maintain a similar hand position as their strike ball, but will not get the hook. Some use their strike ball and break their wrist back to throw it straight. I’ve personnally decided to do something in between by using a low hooking urethane ball and throw it relatively straight.
      You have the right idea with using the Ice for your spares, but let’s consider throwing your Ice for single pin spares. On a house shot, you’ll probably have more forgiveness throwing your Vital Sign at multi-pin spares. Pros will use their plastic balls for multi-pin spares, but that’s also because they are highly accurate. I personally never use my strike ball for any spares, but strictly use my urethane ball, the Natural. I may hook into multi-pin spares, but a very slight one with the Natural.
      Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or have unrealistic expectations. You’ve been bowling for about a year and you are on the right track. WIth your first ball, learn how to get to the pocket consistently. With your spares, keep practicing with your plastic ball, don’t give up. It will take a little getting used to, but remember, with the Ice, you can use your “hook” hand release and the ball will hook very little. You don’t have to exaggerate a weak wrist position on your spares since you are using a plastic ball. You don’t need another ball right now.
      Good Luck!

      1. Coach T: Thanks for your input. Your advice clarifies matters quite a bit. Telling me about yourself made a big difference, too. I thought I was going goofy. So now I feel a lot better.

        At times I feel very confident using a different hand position with my Vital Sign strike ball to grab a multi-pin spare with less hook, but not so much with the single pin leaves. And the Ice can be thrown both straight or with a slight hook. But, like I said above, it seems I have to (re)learn some things now. Funny that you should mention the Natural, because it was the other ball I was looking at vs the Ice.

        That I don’t need another ball right now is also a welcomed comment. You’ve confirmed I need to concentrate on my techniques and that I’ve got good enough equipment that isn’t fighting me.

        I still think my 2-Fast fights me, but I’m not sure what the problem is. I discovered it wasn’t drilled right the first time, nor on the second and third, but I finally found a terrific pro (Wayne Stelleck, Holiday Lanes, Lakewood Colorado) who resolved the grip problems. I didn’t have him check the 2-Fast’s balance nor the layout, though. At the time, I was very frustrated and just wanted another ball. I suppose this wasn’t very fair to the 2-Fast, which still beckons to be used. It’s kind of like being infatuated with a woman who doesn’t seem to like me.

        1. I know how you feel. I really like the Columbia Burst and I even mentioned in my ball review, I find myself using it when I shouldn’t because I love the way it rolls. Unfortunately, at times, I have something else in my bag that carries better. Either way, look at it like this. You now have an arsenal. The Vital Sign is your more aggressive, fresh oil ball. The 2 Fast is your medium to light oil or broken down shot ball. Then you have your Ice for spares. Sounds like a decent arsenal to me!
          Good Luck.

        2. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the Ebonite Ice a reactive resin bowling ball? I mean, it was a ‘weak’ ball, but still reactive resin. Maybe a polyester ball would indeed offer a better look on single pins…

          1. Hi Brad, The Ebonite Ice was a reactive resin ball. If you are looking for a spare ball, a polyester ball would be a good option.

    1. Good question. Manufacturers are always looking for an edge in technology. In the end, sales is the driver for companies trying to distinguish themselves. All the better for us if they actually succeed in making something revolutionary. Regarding the “Self-Righting Core” from 900 Global, I personally think we are pretty far from saying this is revolutionary but it makes for interesting science. In simple terms, they have designed a ball with one stable position so that when you throw it, it always dynamically migrates to that position, supporting the transition from slide, hook, and roll. They claim that this single stable position and moment arm helps the ball lope and transition with less resistance than a typical core. By contrast, try to visualize another core, say the Vibe core. You can easily see at least 2 stable positions. You can roll it end over end or side to side. So it can roll like a wheel or it can tumble end over end like an hour glass. So depending how your driller drills the ball, they can create varying dynamics from very strong and flippy to very rolly. 900 Global claims that due to there being only one stable position, the core will always try to migrate to that stable position, thereby “self-righting”.

      Here is the link to their article.

      Remember, ball reaction is still 70% coverstock. However, that still does leave a substantial 30% to core dynamics.

  13. How can one stopping from tipping (or bending at the waist) during the approach shot? It appears to create a huge difference in leverage when I tip?

    thanks ash

    1. Hi Ash. There are a few different techniques. Some can visualize staying back on their heels. If you can visualize a stick across your chest, it can help you stay back. You might want to work with a local coach. I haven’t seen you throw so it’s hard to say what’s the cause of the imbalance. The modern game has changed from the traditional one. Traditionally, bowlers were told it is important to keep a 15 degree bend or less with the upper body and keep the shoulders straight and closed. In today’s game, the swing slot is the key. That means opening up and dropping the bowling shoulder to some extent, giving room for the ball to fall by your side. That implies that you actually have to move out of its way. In other words, step one foot in front of the other like you’re walking a tight rope. Then we feed the ball into the lane rather than “lift”. You will see even the power bowlers on tour actually open their hand at the bottom rather than pull up and through it. This feeding the ball and flat spot requires more torso bend then the traditional game. There is such a thing as too much of course.

      In the end, you need to assess your physical game with video and possibly a coach. You can see where you can adjust to gain leverage and balance. The foot should arrive just before the ball, allowing you to be balanced and have leverage to get through the ball. I’ve mentioned this before but it is sometimes helpful to simply visualize posting the shot and that could right other things going wrong naturally.

      I hope that helps.

  14. Hi coach
    I recently noticed that my track has gotten lower (further from the thumb hole). Also, it flares quite a bit; is this typical of the new bowling balls?

    1. Hello. It’s certainly possible that a specific core design and/or drilling can affect your track. I’ve noticed that happen to my track on occassion with some of the bigger cores but it really depends on the factors I mentioned. Your ball driller could use specific drillings to affect the track to lower it, get it further or closer to the thumb hole. You may also be sticking in the ball and having your thumb come out too late, causing you to turn it over which can lower the track.

  15. Hello,

    I need a good ball for practice on broken down late night lanes. I’m thinking I need a polished pearl. I’m looking at the Hammer Midnight Vibe, the Columbia Freeze, the Storm 2-Fast, the Roto Grip Rising Star, or any other recommendation for a ball that can be effective on late night lanes. My pro shop said even the 900 Global Bank Pearl could work, even though it’s a high performance ball, it goes really long. I currently have a Brunswick Alpha-Max, and I quickly realized that ball needs oil to work well. I’m having a hard time carrying with it, and sometimes seeing all the hook it’s advertised to have.

    To give you an idea of how I bowl, I’d say I’m rev dominant (although can throw fast if I need to), have a medium tilt, medium axis rotation (sometimes have trouble getting around the ball and the hook suffers). Since I have the Alpha-Max for fresh oil, based on your review, and the fact I want carry on broken down conditions, the Midnight Vibe looks really attractive right now. But, I’m open to any ball from any brand.


    1. HI Sal. Thanks for your question. You only mentioned the Alpha-Max so far in your bag. Do you have anything else? I think it’s a pretty big gap from the Alpha-Max to the Midnight Vibe. I would say though, that those balls you mentioned are possibilities for lanes that have quite a bit of play on them. Personally, I find my Columbia Freeze a step up from the Midnight Vibe. But, if you have it drilled correctly and have it polished, I think you could like it. I personally keep my Freeze at 2000 to 4000 with no polish and very easily use it on medium or higher oil so don’t mistake the Freeze for a weak ball.
      I just posted a video review of the Rising Star so you can have a look at that and see what you think. I will have a 2Fast review in the coming week so you can think about it. From what I’m seeing, the Columbia Freeze is likely the most readable, but most aggressive of all of them. The slight step down would be the Rising Star in terms of consistency. Then the 2Fast, which is also pretty consistent, would be next down in board coverage, followed by the Midnight Vibe which would be used for lighter oil. If the lanes are already opened up and on the drier side, you will probably like the Midnight Vibe a lot. I really like the Midnight Vibe but haven’t been able to use it the second half of the season since my shot has gotten heavier. If you are looking for something a little more versatile, I would say the Columbia Freeze is a sure bet. But it could be quite strong for fried late night lanes.
      I hope that helps!

  16. Coach T,

    Thanks for the reply. Actually, the alpha-max is the first new ball I bought. I had an old Street Rod that I used to learn how to hook. With hindsight it was probably not the best choice to continue to develop my game, but I learned from it nonetheless. Since my post, I now actually have two other balls. One is a Python that was given to me with very little usage. I also noticed you mentioned it as a recommendation about a year ago. The other is a Cell Pearl I got my hands on that is supposed to only have about 40 games of usage. So my Arsenal if I keep the Cell Pearl would look like this..

    Cell Pearl

    I was thinking if replacing the Cell Pearl, but while testing it without even plugging and re-drilling it to fit me, I enjoyed the way it rolled and crushed the pins. I was thinking of another ball to fit in my arsenal. I\’m now looking at something like a Hy-Road, or maybe even the Columbia Freeze would still fit in. Any advice to help me have a well rounded arsenal?

    1. Hi Sal. It really depends on what you are looking for. Your first post indicated you were looking for a ball for late night broken down lanes. Is the Python too much ball for that? You might want to try to polish it to get it too push further down lane on a broken down condition. If that’s what you’re looking to fill and the Python is too much, I don’t think the HyRoad or Freeze will fit down there.
      If you’re looking for a step up from the Python, my guess is the HyRoad and Freeze could fit above that.

  17. Hi Coach T,

    The Python actually works pretty well for what I indicated I needed before. I was looking at what my next ball should be to fill the gap between my balls. It sounds like the Freeze or Hy-Road being a step up would do that. Thanks.

    1. Sure thing. I think there are a few balls that can fit there, but it looks to me like you essentially need a benchmark ball. I think the Python could be, but a step up in my mind could be the Freeze and HyRoad as we mentioned. But you could also consider the Gamebreaker which was re-released as well as the Wicked Siege. I like all 4 balls and aside from the HyRoad which I have not personally thrown, they each have recognizable ball reactions and are very consistent in the midlane/backed reaction. Any of the 4 are go-to balls, first out of the bag. Then you can step up to the Alpha Max or down to Python.

  18. Hi Coach,

    Would like to start by saying great site with great info! I’ve got a couple of questions.

    1) Any tips on what to do during bowling if the thumb hole starts to get to tight after a bit of bowling? On my ball I feel like this vacuum effect and it can be quite difficulty to get my thumb out and when I do there’s a popping noise from the air!

    2) On a somewhat related note, my ball was drilled with no inserts. What’s your take on finger inserts and thumb inserts? Would a thumb insert help that problem?

    1. Hi Larry, thanks for your comments!
      Regarding your first question, you might want to consider opening up the thumb a little bit and using tape. This will allow you to remove tape as your thumb swells over the course of the night. That will probably also solve some of the vacuum effect that you are having. Using tape will allow more air movement, creating less suction.
      For the second question, it is related. Straight drills do tend to create a little more suction. It really depends on what you’re comfortable with. I personally use thumb slugs with Switch Grip. This allows me to have the same feel from ball to ball. I also use inserts for my fingers, using vacu-grips style. It allows my fingers to still fit comfortably over the session, even when they swell a bit. Some people like the fingers with no inserts to allow for less grab. It’s personal preference.
      Good Luck!

  19. Hi Coach T,

    I noticed you got to try out the Hy-Road. I was wondering if you could do a review on it, even though its older. If not, maybe a mini-review on here. It’s a ball that will probably be considered one of the best Storm has poured to date. Does it live up to its “Hall-of-Fame” status? I’m asking cause I’m still interested in getting one, but I don’t see that much interest in it anymore in my area.


    1. Hi Sal,
      I will try to do a review on the Hy Road. I haven’t had a chance to use it much as it has been too strong for the conditions I’ve been facing. I know it may not seem like there’s a lot of interest in it, but the reason it is still in production is because it remains a best seller for Storm. It’s still that good.

  20. Is there any way I can come in and get a bowling lesson with the Digitrax report? I’d love to see how my game looks with all the statistical data from digitrax.


  21. Thanks for the advice from before. Had my thumb whole opened up slightly and things are working great. Now my problem is I’ve developed some wrist pain and am thinking about using a wrist device/support which I’ve never used. Have any opinions on them and/or recommendations?

  22. Im a fairly new bowler with a lot of frustration within myself for the game right now. I used to bowl in high school with a prett decent average. I’m back in it now and I’ve been learning to throw hook balls. Since then my scores have dropped below 100 but I think I’ve finally grasped the concept of how t ACTUALLY hook the ball which was my intent. Now I must work on picking up spares…..only problem is, I can’t seem to roll straight anymore since learning to hook. I normally use my lighter ball which is a columbia jazz to try picking up spares but it hooks a little too. I use my heavier 13 lb root grip Venus to try for my strike…..and I recently purchased a storm frantic (only because I adored the colors) 14 lb but I haven’t tried it out yet. Do I have the right equipment to improve my game and are these good balls?

    1. Hi Jennifer. Thanks for your message. I understand the frustration during this time of transition. It’s not always easy and the “fundamentals” that you learned when you were throwing it straight seem to shift a bit when throwing a hook. It’s not uncommon at all for bowlers who throw a hook to have trouble throwing it straight again.
      There are probably a few things you should do. First, I would suggest figuring out what weight you will throw. You implied you have 14, 13, and 12 pound balls. I am not a proponent of throwing different weights. It physically confuses your body and your timing will be off. You should pick up the heaviest ball that you can hold down next to your body. Bend your wrist up. If you can comfortably do that and hold that position for several seconds, than the weight is reasonable. If you pick up the 14 pound and you can not bend your wrist as I indicated, then it is too heavy.
      Once you do that, you should begin to look at some basics of the approach. Read this article: how many steps is your delivery. It will help you understand about some basics of timing.
      Then you can move on to the following article: What is your targeting system?
      Good luck and let us know how it goes!

      1. We’ll since the last chat I have moved on to the 14 lb without any problems. I have a new ball and every time I get ready to throw it…..my Finn gets stuck and I nearly fly down the lane with it. (how embarrassing) I am NOT gripping the ball or holding it too sug which the pro shop guy tends to think I am. He refuses to make m thumb hole bigger because he feels he’s drilled it to the right fit and that I’m just used to my my old ball fit. I don’t think that is the case. I need your advice ;(

        1. Hi Jennifer. Did you ever do the weight test I suggested? Hold the ball with your arm down at your side. Try to lift it by bending your wrist up. If you can’t hold it more than a few seconds, than the ball is too heavy. The reason why I would suggest to check this is that if the ball is too heavy, you may unknowingly be trying to hold onto the ball which means you are squeezing. This could cause your hand to feel stuck.
          The other test you can try is to hold the ball at your side. Do this on a couch or put a pillow under your hand. Relax your hand including your thumb, but keep your index finger on the ball. If the ball falls off, it’s too loose. Now lift your index finger. If the ball falls off now, then the fit is good. If it doesn’t fall off, then the fit is not right. The thumb could be too tight.

  23. We\’ll since the last chat I have moved on to the 14 lb without any problems. I have a new ball and every time I get ready to throw it…..my Finn gets stuck and I nearly fly down the lane with it. (how embarrassing) I am NOT gripping the ball or holding it too sug which the pro shop guy tends to think I am. He refuses to make m thumb hole bigger because he feels he\’s drilled it to the right fit and that I\’m just used to my my old ball fit. I don\’t think that is the case. I need your advice ;(

    1. I had the same problem and when they ddrilled it bigger I droped 20% of the shots. I decided this was not going to work, so I called other ball drillers and went to them to show my problem. They all came back with thumb pitch. They would change my thumb pitch to 1/16 reverse and 1/8 away. I had a ball drilled by 1 and it worked. They all believe they need to see you bowl some before they drill your ball.

  24. I only bowl senior leagues in 2 AMF houses. The average of house to house differ by 15 or more pins with the bolwers that bowl both houses. Here is my problem I can only reach 14mph ball speed. This makes it to hard to bowl down and end, and not enough revs, to play enough inside. I am left handed and have been bowling for 5 years with the new balls, but I bowled for 30 years with rubber balls to yellow dots, from 1955 to 1985. I average over 200 for 16 years with accrease, never a lot of area. Is there a ball that will help seniors be able to compete with less revs or speed?

    1. Hi Roger, Thanks for your question. Just for clarification, is that 14mph at the pins or off your hand? How did you get the measurement. 14 mph at the pins is fine. I realize it may not be as much as you want, but we all slow down over time. What pieces are you using these days? What type of conditions? Do you find lots of friction? Is there a lot of friction to the outside? Let me know and maybe we can put some options out there.

  25. Coach T
    My son is a 225 average high school bowler. One of the balls in his arsenal is an Ebonite Mission 1. Unfortunately, the ball just got a deep series of scratches in the track area. The pro shop owner is not sure that it can be fixed. From the current ball offerings, all manufacturers, can you recommend a ball with a similar reaction. His ball speed =17.5 mph and he is a power tweener.
    Other balls in his arsenal include:
    Storm Tropical Breeze pearl
    Brunswick Avalanche
    Columbia Burst
    Storm Tour IQ
    Storm Virtual Gravity Nano Solid
    Roto Grip Defiant Soul

    Thanks, Brian

  26. Coach T, I was just wondering if you guys are going to do a review of the Roto Grip Wrecker? I’m thinking about purchasing it to replace my Fringe which I think isn’t as agressive as I would like now that I’ve improved since purchasing the Fringe.

    Thanks for all the great tips and reviews!

    1. Hi Matthew. I’m not sure if we’ll get to review the Wrecker, but if it rolls anything like the Rising Star, it will be awesome. The Rising Star was one of our favorites and the Wrecker uses the same core with a hybrid cover as well. Take a read of our Rising Star review and it will likely give you an excellent idea of what the Wrecker will be. I just don’t know for certain if there is a major difference in the hybrid covers between the two, but I highly doubt it.

  27. Coach T, I’m looking for a ball to be my strong/fresh oil ball for college. I love my hyroad, but I need something a tad stronger overall. I drilled an IQ Tour solid and absolutely hated it. It was the epitome of over/under, and I think I need something that flares a bit more and/or has a stronger cover. I throw it roughly 14-15mph with matched revs and a PAP of 4 right and 1/2 up. The house our sectionals tournament is at is notorious for having worn out heads, so while I need something stronger than the Hyroad I’d like it to be versatile and usable for more than just one block. Considering my specs and the characteristics of this house, I think I’m correct in concluding that I need something that gets through the heads relatively easily but has a strong midlane read. Based on what you’ve seen from these balls and people similar to my style, would a Lucid, Defiant Soul, or Marvel Pearl be best for me and my style, or do you think something else would work better? The pattern will almost certainly be 38-41 feet. Thanks!

    1. Hi Pete. Thanks for your message. My favorite of the options you put out would be the Defiant Soul. It’s a strong hybrid so would be really nice above the HyRoad. Marvel Pearl will not be stronger than the HyRoad. Generally, Storm equipment does get through the heads nicely, but the Soul will be strong in the midlane and backends. I can’t tell how long you can use it before you have to switch to the HyRoad, but expecting a ball to be strong and usable for a long time could be a tough ask depending on how the pattern breaks down where you bowl.

  28. Am I missing the point here? Storm is releasing the Fringe in a new color and calling it Freak n Frantic. Both balls use the NOS core and R2S Pearl cover. They also seam to be retiring the Tropical Heats and replacing them with the one Lights out.

    Is this a marketing thing or is there some other performance differences that I missed?

    1. My take is this. The Freak’n Frantic is a new color combination with same specs as the Fringe. My guess is that the Fringe color combo was not particularly attractive and the Frantic was such a popular ball, it made sense to rebrand. That part is marketing. Storm is a very smart company making excellent equipment.

      With the Lights Out, this one is actually new in the purest sense. This is the first time the Turbine core has been put inside the R2S Hybrid coverstock as far as I’m aware. Yes it’s very similar to the Tropical Heat Hybrid, but that one used the 1st gen Reactor cover. R2S will be a bit stronger. When I think back about how much I liked the original Fast and Furious which used the Turbine core along with R2S Pearl and Solid cover respectively, I can’t believe the Hybrid was missed. This one is going to be a great piece.

  29. Coach T. I am left handed fast throwing tweener and I am going to the USBC in May. I am looking for a new ball to use. I have an old Columbia Action Attack and a Lane Masters Black Pearl. I am trying to decide between the Columbia Enigma, Storm Sync, and Track 811 CT. What would you suggest and also would you consider the pattern for the 2013 USBC to be a heavy or medium oil.

  30. Coach T,

    I recently started bowling 2 handed due to thumb issues. Because of this I’m starting to build a new arsenal of bowling balls since the others were drilled incorrectly. I currently have a Columbia Oath, a DV8 misfit pearl, and a blue urethane hammer. My new rev rate is increasing every day but I’d estimate its around 400 at this point, and my ball speed is around 14mph. I have noticed that on higher volumes of oil, my Oath and Misfit do not make the turn and I end up having to move all the way down to my hammer and move far right to get to the pocket. When I do this though, I usually sacrifice carry since the hammer just skids all the way there since it is urethane. I think I need a ball for heavy oil so I can move left and post up where I’m now comfortable. I was looking at the Defiant Soul, the Aura Paranormal, and the Sync. Which of these would you recommend? I read your reviews but I feel as though I stand farther left than your tweeners but I have a lower rev rate than your cranker. Thanks for all the great reviews!!

  31. Hi,

    I own a DV8 Marauder, and am looking for a ball that I can use on our fresh league shot (41′ described to me as medium/heavy in volume). Would a Marauder Madness be enough ball for this condition, or should I go with something like the Defiant Soul or IQ Tour? The pro shop guy is trying to push me toward a Reign of Power but I am not 100% sold on it.

    My speed is 15-16 mph with average revs.



    1. Hi Jim,
      I think the DV8 Brutal Nightmare or Roto Grip Defiant Soul will cover that condition while still offering strong movement down lane. The Madness and Reign of Power will be strong but not as strong at the end of the pattern as the first two suggestions.
      Good Luck!

  32. Coach T, I was wondering what will give me a better reaction down lane and more pin carry, a pin up columbia 300 enigma or a pin up storm lucid?

  33. Coach T,

    Can you give me some pointers on how to keep my spine angle from leaning to far forward in my backswing? I read the article that you wrote, and that is me to a T:)

    So I need a drill or some feeling ro get me in the right direction.



    1. Hi Jake. How close do you finish to the foul line? If you are finishing more than 1 foot behind the line, you will certainly lean as your body will subconsciously want to get the ball out and over the line. Knee bend is another way to combat too much forward lean.
      Best of Luck!

  34. I have slow ball speed and low revs, having trouble getting the ball to react down lane it tends to go straight. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Hi Lee. Would be easier if I could see you bowl to make a suggestion. Slow ball speed and low revs isn’t a problem in and of itself. It is possible that you could use more axis rotation. I believe I wrote an article about this but you want your fingers to come around the ball a little more instead of very up the back roll. You can work on various things that also increase your speed and/or revs but understanding rotation is more doable that increasing revs by a lot.

  35. Coach T,
    My question is: How does the Storm Optimus compare to the Storm Marvel Pearl? As much detail would be appreciated. Keep up the great videos!

    1. Hi James, The Optimus is quite similar to the Marvel Pearl. Our thoughts is that Storm is intending to replace the Marvel line and the specs of the Optimus are so close. What we saw was a very similar ball with the Marvel Pearl being a tad bit smoother off the spot.

  36. Coach T, I recently bought a Hustle Ink bowling ball. I find I get too much hook on a 42 FT house pattern. If I try to play to the right the ball hooks and slightly glances the headpin or catches too much of it. If I play left, and angle towards the right side, the ball goes through too much oil and doesn’t have enough to come back. If I try to play in between I get the same issue as playing right, the ball hooks too much.

    What adjustments should I make, such as aiming advice? Also, what alternative ball would you recommend? Thanks!

    I am a no-thumb cranker. I am trying to get use to bowling with a thumb, but struggle with wrist strength right now.

    1. Hi Matt,
      Are you new to the game? Do you know your speed and rev rate? Your brief description tells me you are likely rev dominant. That basically means that your speed doesn’t match the impact the rev rate has on the ball motion. If this is the only ball you have, I would suggest to put some surface on the ball and move left. Get a 4000 abralon pad and scuff the ball up then try and see what happens. I think you will find a happy medium between 2000 and 4000 abralon and will be able to move left. The surface will slow down the ball a bit and not let it skid so long in the oil down the middle. Let me know how it goes.
      Good Luck!

  37. Hey Coach T,

    I am looking to add a new ball to my arsenal and enjoyed watching your review videos. I’m looking at the Intense or the SoniQ. From your reviews the Intense seems like the better match but wanted your take. I’m a righty tweener with a very similar game to yours. I almost exclusively use my Hy Road pearl but will have issues as I move to far left. I also carry a Chemical X and an old Bullet Train and will occasionally use the Chemical X when the Hy Road just isn’t reacting how it should to start on a normal house shot. Hopefully those are enough details but just looking for your opinion on the Intense vs. the SoniQ.


    1. Sorry for the delayed response Chris. Was having trouble with spam. The Intense will let you open the angles but it’s quite strong. If you haven’t looked at it and you haven’t picked something up yet, the Intense Fire could be a good step up. There’s a pretty big gap between the Hy Road Pearl and these balls though.

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