Scott Pohl

Bowling Ball Maintenance: Applying Surface

Scott Pohl
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Duration:   3  mins

The biggest contributing factor that makes up ball motion on the lanes is the bowling ball’s surface (75%). If you don’t have the right surface, chances are you’re not going to be successful.

Keeping the surface of the bowling ball fresh will improve your consistency when reading the lanes and making adjustments. Think of it this way: every time you drive down the road in your vehicle, the tires wear out time and time again. Over time, you need to get the tires rotated. The first time you drive after a rotation, you’ll instantly notice the difference.

In this Premium Video, Scott Pohl, owner of On Track Pro Shop, demonstrates how to properly use sanding pads to change a bowling ball’s surface and which grit pad is right for the lane condition you are bowling on.

Grit Selection

Sanding pads are a required accessory to be competitive in bowling. They come in different grits ranging from 500 grit – 5000 grit. 500 Grit will take the most surface off a bowling ball, creating an earlier hook on the lane with less backend reaction.

5000 Grit will take the least amount of surface off a bowling ball. It will make the ball hook downline later, allowing for a bigger backend reaction.


Start with the top half of the ball. Go in a circular motion and catch all parts of that ball. Next, flip the ball to the other side. You want to get the entire surface covered with a fresh sanding pad.

After you’ve finished the top and bottom, you’ll flip it to the side, making sure to get the surface there nice and clean. And then, once again, the other side.

As you bowl

Every time your bowling ball touches the lane, both the lane surface and the ball surface are affected. A 1500-grit surface finish on your bowling ball will not stay at 1500 grit with multiple games on it. The surface finish rises as frames and games are thrown with the bowling ball. So if you aren’t keeping up with surface management, your ball will not react as you think it should because it’s not at the desired surface.

After you’re done bowling, clean your ball and hit it with your desired surface. Bring sanding pads with you every time you bowl because during practice, you are allowed to change the surface of the bowling ball and that can be the difference between leaving corner pins and striking.

Bowling Ball Maintenance: Applying Surface Join National Bowling Academy to continue watching for $9.00 per month / $92.00 per year