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Bowling balls come in a variety of materials and compositions today. There are aggressive balls that are favorable to wide high rev strikes and then there are those that are more favorable to subtle inside line strikes. For anyone looking to find a bowling ball, it is not as easy as people think. The key is to know who you are as a bowler and selecting a bowling ball that matches your style. But most people think a bowling ball is a bowling ball. How much difference can it make? Well, ask any serious bowler and they will tell you it can mean the difference from being a great bowler and an average bowler.
Selecting a bowling ball
The following 5 tips are things to keep in mind when you are ready to buy your bowling ball.
#1 A heavier bowling ball is not always the best bowling ball
It is a big mistake selecting a bowling ball that is heavier than what you can handle. All too often amateur bowlers select 16-pound bowling balls because their egos won’t let them select a ball any lighter. This is a very dangerous way of selecting a bowling ball because there is a risk of injury. Also, if the ball is much heavier than what you can manage, it is harder to control the ball. Remember, you are rolling the ball potentially 23 times in one game. After a while, your arm gets tired and your game can be affected.
A good trick to finding the best weight ball for you is to simulate the arm swing motion with weights or another object equivalent to the bowling ball weight you want to use. First, stand tall and hold the object with your bowling hand. Next, swing the object back and forth. Do this 23 times and see how your arm feels when you are done. If it is sore or tired then you need to reduce the weight. If your arm still feels good and you feel like you can repeat the movement about a hundred times then it’s too light. When you get the correct weight, your arm will not feel tired or sore but will feel like it can continue a few more times.
#2 Get the best ball possible for your style
I know it is very appealing to be able to bowl like the pros and produce wide hooking strikes that crash into the pins and scatter them all over the deck. Unfortunately, we can’t all bowl like that. We are all different and when looking for a bowling ball we need to find one that fits our style and our preferred bowling technique. So you may not be like Jason Couch or Brian Himmler who both have wide hooking shots not to mention a ton of power. But your style may be more like Walter Ray Williams Jr. who may not produce the most spectacular hooks but he is unmatched in accuracy and consistency.
#3 Talk to others about the bowling balls they use
Find those who have a similar style to your own and find out what balls they use. Ask them why they selected that ball and how it has helped their game. Also, ask them what kinds of problems they face using them. Even better would be to find someone who has a similar bowling style to yours and ask if you can try out their ball. Hopefully, they will have a similar grip as well.
#4 Consider the lane conditions you will bowl on
Not all bowling alleys are created equal and certainly, the lane conditions are not created equal. Ask yourself where you will be doing the most bowling. Will it be on the same lines week after week in a bowling league? or at different bowling alleys in tournaments? Will it be both? Where ever you plan on bowling the most, consider the lane conditions there. For fast lanes that have a lot of oil, you want a ball that can handle that. If you will do most of your bowling on a combination of lane conditions, it may be worthwhile to invest in 2 different bowling balls for different lane conditions.
#5 Seek the advice of a well known pro shop
The guys who work at the pro shop should become your best bowling friend. They are usually former bowlers themselves with amateur titles or even former pro bowlers. See what line of bowling balls they carry and why they sell them. Ask if they recommend a certain ball. Many times they are willing to help you in selecting a bowling ball. Another great resource is an online bowling store like Bowling.com. You will be able to find reviews and details about the bowling balls you are considering buying. Also, you can compare prices between different bowling balls.
Some General Bowling Safety Tips
Since bowling is not as high an impact sport as others, many people think that there’s little risk of injuring themselves during play. However, if you’re not careful, you can find yourself doing serious damage to your body. Use this list of common bowling injuries and how to avoid them to help you stay safe and healthy while playing.
Here are some general tips on how to prevent injuries at the bowling alley:
- Make sure your bowling shoes are in good condition. Ideally, your shoes should be completely dry and able to slide easily.
- Don’t use your back to lift your bowling ball. Instead, lift with your legs bend your knees and engage your hips.
- Don’t carry your bowling ball to the starting line by dragging it with your fingers already inserted. Instead, use your non-bowling arm to cradle it near your chest.
- Don’t let your fingers get crushed by an incoming ball in the return tray!
- Make sure your bowling ball is the right size for you. Choosing one that is too heavy can increase the strain on your wrist and back.
- Dedicate some time each week to performing strength training exercises. Be sure to focus on important areas like your core and legs.
Common Bowling Injuries
Rupturing of the Achilles Tendon
This occurs when your Achilles tendon (located along the back of your foot) tears or completely snaps. Most of the time, injury occurs among people who are not typically very active. When bowling, you’re most likely to encounter an Achilles tendon tear as you push off at the beginning of the approach.
While injury can occur in any body part, a bowler’s hands and wrists endure the most stress, and this can lead to often debilitating tendonitis. This occurs when the tendons of the wrist become irritated or inflamed resulting in the gradual buildup of pain that can lead to a severely-reduced range of motion. To help prevent the onset of bowler’s tendonitis be sure not to push yourself too far too early in your bowling career. You may feel tempted to play game after game, but if you haven’t already built up the endurance to so, you’re not doing yourself any favors.
The bowling ball is the most important aspect of the sport of bowling. Without a ball, there is no game. However not every bowling ball is the same. But not everyone realizes just how important their chosen bowling ball. While talent, skill, and practice play important and necessary parts in bowling, Selecting a bowling ball that matches the individual style can take anyone’s game to the next level or go down in flames.
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