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The Coolest Thing I Learned About Bowling Balls Going from An Average to Above Average Bowler

I built a three-ball bowling ball arsenal for this year. With my multiple expensive hobbies, I dare not go beyond three as I’d be wearing thin on my wife’s patience. I’ve got an exceptionally strong asymmetrical solid, a weaker semi-shiny hybrid symmetrical, and a plastic spare ball.

So, not knowing any better, I’d been using the two strike balls backwards on my Friday night league for a couple of weeks, and I still didn’t… erm, know any better. I was a bit clueless. One Saturday morning, my wife, daughter and I went to the lanes for a couple hours of fun practice. My normal alley was packed with a local tournament so we headed down the road to another alley.

I started out with the aggressive solid because it was the newer ball and I loved throwing it. My first shot went straight across the head pin. Barely glanced it. There was clearly too much hook, so I moved right and gave it another go. High flush… too high. I moved right again. I was standing on 30 and the ball was too strong for the lane. It was hooking too early so I switched to my Hammer (that I normally threw first on Fridays). Now, I didn’t exactly know the strong reactive ball was hooking “too early” at the time – that was something I figured out later. Anyway, moving along with the Hammer Scorpion…

First shot – skid, hook, roll, pins explode, everything in the pit. A perfect strike. Next shot… BOOM. Everything in the pit.

I didn’t throw the stronger Brunswick the rest of our practice session. It stayed on the rack. I killed it with the Hammer.

There was no way I could throw the Scorpion like that and hope for a pocket shot on Friday night. The shot is simple with the stronger Quantum Evo, though. Still, it didn’t sink in, yet. The math didn’t quite add up in my head, so I continued on with the Hammer.

The next Friday I struggled early with the Scorpion, so I switched to the Brunswick after just a few frames. I struggled, but not quite as much.

I went to that alternate alley for practice Sunday, by myself this time. I started with the Quantum, then switched almost immediately to the Scorpion. The Brunswick was too much ball for the lane.

And that’s exactly when all of the information clicked into place in all of an instant. Strong balls that hook “early”. Weak balls that hook a lot but hook later and sharper, on the back end. Strong balls spend their energy early, weak balls save it. Looking at the lane lengthwise, not widthwise. And most important; sometimes different lanes simply need different bowling balls… and that’s why the pros run around with 15 different balls to a tournament – because certain balls react better to certain lanes.

At that point, it was just a matter of committing my new style of rolling the ball to muscle memory and my scores started coming up considerably. Now I don’t even reach for the Scorpion on Friday nights till I’ve burned up the left side of the lane. It’s the only ball I use on Sunday night, though, because the Quantum Evo is WAY too much ball for the alley we bowl at**. I’m knocking down 200+ games on a consistent basis, now.

So that’s it; some bowling balls just don’t work on some lanes. That’s why it makes sense to not rely on just one and a spare ball.

**Wouldn’t you know, I wrote this the day before throwing a split 300 with the Quantum Evo at the Sunday night alley. There was a little more oil than normal that night and the Scorpion just wouldn’t hook up like it normally does. While I did reasonably well in the first game (a 179), I felt I could do better with the stronger Quantum Evo so I switched midway through the second game. I cracked off six strikes in a row to finish that game with a 218. Then, I started the next game with six more… a 300 stretched over two games. The important lesson for me was, “do what the lane says do”. The second, that was my first ever twelve strikes in a row… I am actually capable of a 300. Oh, I’m stoked.