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:
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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!