Choosing a Bowling Ball That is Right for Your Arsenal

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Beginners and professionals alike know that bowling is a game of inches and minor adjustments. One step to the left or right can have a huge impact on the outcome of a game. The same goes for your equipment — choosing a bowling ball to better attack the pocket at the right time in a game can lead to a new high score. Waiting too long to make the change can leave you with regrets.

The keys to choosing a bowling ball

Proper preparation begins with understanding your arsenal and choosing a bowling ball that has the reaction you’re looking for. To help you make the right choice, bowling coach Hank Boomershine shares some insight on how to choose a bowling ball that is reliable and best suited for what you’re facing.

In the past, we’ve demonstrated the proper way to go about getting to know your equipment on various oil patterns. The process should begin with a few rolls of your benchmark ball to determine how it reacts on the oil pattern. From there, you can figure out the best method to attack the pocket by understanding what your equipment gives you. It may require you to switch to your most aggressive ball, or possibly the weakest depending on what the pattern is telling you.

It is essential when choosing a bowling ball that you understand when it will work best for you. This involves putting in the time and effort to practice on multiple conditions, and working with your coach or pro shop operator to help you recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each ball in your arsenal. Also work with your coach or pro shop operator to determine what kind of layouts tend to work best for your game.

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3 Responses to “Choosing a Bowling Ball That is Right for Your Arsenal”

  1. BikerDad

    You need to explain the terminology being used. As an example, what is “flare potential”, what exactly do you mean by “strong ball”, etc, etc. If you don’t explain it here, but do elsewhere, then let your viewer know where they can find the explanation.

    • Customer Service Techs

      As it relates to a bowling ball, flare is defined as “the ball track progression due to axis migration” (USBC Equipment Specifications and Certifications Manual, Definitions to terminology are often included throughout the videos in the Bowling Academy series and while not all presenters explain a definition each time, the content surrounding the term(s) typically helps define what it means and how it’s applied.

      In the video “Choosing a Bowling Ball That’s Right for Your Arsenal” USBC Gold Coach Hank Boomershine uses a lot of terminology to identify an arsenal and its potential effects on the lanes. Below are several of the terms from his video and their definitions relative to Coach Hanks information.

      – Layout = a bowling balls specific pin, cg, and/or mass bias placement relative to it anticipated performance

      – Pin Distance to PAP = the measured distance from a bowlers Positive Axis Point (PAP) to the balls Locator Pin (mark on the ball representing the orientation of the top of the core)

      – Axis Rotation = the measurement of horizontal angle through which a ball rotates; rotation is synonymous with the amount of “side roll” a bowler has

      – Axis Tilt = the measurement of the vertical angle through which a ball rotates; tilt is synonymous with the amount of “spin” a bowler has

      – Benchmark Ball = ball representing the middle of a players arsenal, typically the most predictable overall motion on the lanes

      – Strong ball = ball in a players arsenal that transitions to its hook phase of ball motion soonest on the lane, (often a low RG, high differential ball with an aggressive surface on the coverstock)

      – Half ten = pin reaction where the 10 pin is left standing after a first ball delivery, typically identified as the six pin traveling in front of and missing the 10 pin

      – Flare Potential = the amount of hook potential of a bowling ball determined by its coverstock, core, layout, and a bowlers speed, and revolutions

      – Strong back end = describes the lateral movement of a bowling balls motion as it enters the pins, traveling across many boards

      Thanks for your suggestion and for continuing with the USBC Bowling Academy.

      Stephen Padilla

      Director of Coaching Certification and Development

      Team USA Assistant Coach & USBC Gold Coach

      O: 817.385.8286

      United States Bowling Congress

      621 Six Flags Drive, Arlington TX 76011

      800.514.BOWL | BOWL.COM (

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