There is a lot of misunderstanding about “Ball Surface”. Todays balls come any where from “Glossy” to a very “Dull” finish. Most bowlers think what ever surface the ball comes from the factory, is what it should be used at. WRONG. It should be altered to fit “your” game or style. In the “old days”, we sanded the ball to hook and polished a ball to not hook. Today its, add surface to grab or hook sooner and polish to delay the hook but hook harder on the “backend”. Surface determines the “Shape” of your hook. We are trying to get the ball to “hook”, but to also maintain its “energy” when it hits the pocket. Various factors determine what we need. Is the ball not hooking until almost to the pins? Then a little more surface is what you need. You may say, “ if a little more surface worked well, then how about an even “duller” surface? Be careful, more isn’t always better, too much surface will cause the ball to hook too early and use up its energy. This will cause the ball to hit very weak. This is seen when the ball hooks and then “straightens” out. This is when you actually need “less” surface. That is why it is so important to watch your ball’s reaction as it rolls down the lane. Every little bit of information you get from watching your ball will allow you to make the adjustment on your next shot.
Now, lets say your ball is going long and “snapping” sharply on the back end, thus making it hard to control. By putting a “light surface” to the ball, you will make the ball start a little earlier, burn a little of its energy, and make a more controllable “drive” into the pocket. So surface can, make a ball hook sooner, or cut down the hook on the back end! That is why some find it so confusing. And lastly, when is it legal to apply this surface? You cannot alter the surface of your ball once league or tournament play has started. If you are in “practice play” and find the lanes too slick or too dry, you can legally go in to the Pro Shop and have your ball altered as long as you do it before League Play begins.
Don’t be afraid to go into your ball driller and ask for his assistance in helping you find the right surface for your ball.
Do you throw the ball FAST, SLOW, or somewhere in between? This could have a huge impact on your next ball purchase. All bowling balls are great, ...... on the right condition! If your “House” condition is on the oilier side and you throw with a higher ball speed, you should probably be looking for a ball with a duller finish. This will allow the ball to “Read” the lane sooner and thus not finish too late and leave corner pins. On the other hand, ..... If you throw the ball on the slow side and the lanes tend to be drier,...... a polished surfaced ball may be just what you need. A slower ball speed with a duller ball finish may allow the ball to get into its roll too soon and then “roll-out” thus leaving a “Flat” 10. We will talk more about Ball Surface in later articles. Generally, you want your Ball Speed, Arm Swing, and Timing to be more consistent. A lot of bowlers feel they have to “Throw” the ball at the pins. This causes a myriad of problems, the biggest being, not letting the ball do its work! You paid good money for that ball with it’s New Core and Resin Shell, allow it to perform the way it was meant to. Its like “Tires” on a car trying to take a turn too fast,..... they skid. Slow Down and allow the “Tires” to make the necessary traction. I know this may seem a little basic for a lot of you , but sometimes, it gets us back into “thinking” about parts of our game that we have neglected for a long time. Ball Speed, .... “Let it happen, ... Don’t make it happen” !! -nick
This video by Fred Borden will explain the differences in core designs and some of the things to look for when purchasing a ball for a certain condition or bowling style. Your local Pro Shop owner can help you out with these type of choices. Remember...... have a plan of what your needs are. I get asked all the time, “Whats your hottest selling ball”? Although there may be a reason why a certain ball is the best seller, it may also be all wrong for your style or “house” lane condition. Hopefully this video will help in your decision. -nick