Creating the Simple and Effective Bowling Ball Arsenal Part 3 By John Gaines


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Part three of my blog series deals with choosing bowling balls. Now that we have your bowler applied forces determined (see Blog #1), and your sweet spot for core specs (see Blog #2), we’ll start actually choosing a few balls to get you started.

As I’ve done in past blogs, I’ll use my specs as an example for you to follow. As a reminder, my specs are:

Ball Speed – 17 mph
Revolutions – 375 rpm
Axis Rotation – 40 degrees
Axis Tilt – 10 degrees

RG Home Base – 2.47” to 2.51”
Differential Home Base – .035” – .055”
Symmetric Core Shapes

Time To Start Choosing Bowling Balls For Our Arsenal

Once I have a bowler to this point, I start looking through the dozens of catalogs and for balls that meet the bowler’s needs. I’m looking to pick 3-4 balls that will cover most lane conditions. By tuning in different surfaces on those balls, as well as different manufacturer chemistries, I think you’ll find that you’re able to create a wide range of ball motion with just 3-4 bowling balls inside these specs.

If you’re able to find the “super-ball” that fits your eye, that’s the one that you’d like to identify first. You know the one…..that ball that just always seems to backend the right way. You always know where it’s going. It’s usually very good at telling you where oil is, and where it isn’t. For me, that particular ball is 2.48” rg, with a .050” differential, in a 500 grit polished surface.

Different Surfaces On Each Bowling Ball In My Arsenal

Next, I always try to find a ball on each side of your super-ball that is close in core specs with a little different surface preparation. For my own bag, I have one of those that is the exact same core shape and core specs with a 2000 grit surface. This gives me a stronger hooking option on medium to heavier oil lane conditions versus my benchmark super-ball. You’ll also want to look for an option that plays well on the medium to drier lane conditions, on the other side of your benchmark ball. For me, that ball is a 2.50 rg, a .045 differential, and has a 2000 grit polished surface.

By choosing these balls to start, you can see what I’ve done below. I’ve setup a 3 ball arsenal that not only goes 1-2-3 in total hook and ball motion, but the cores are designed to go 1-2-3 in order as well. The core specs actually MAKE SENSE when transitioning from one ball to the next. The surfaces do as well:

Ball #1 2.48 / .050 / 2000 grit sanded
Ball #2 (benchmark super-ball) 2.48 / .050 / 500 grit polished
Ball #3 2.50 / .045 / 2000 grit polished

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched someone go from a low rg ball, then to a higher rg ball, and then back to a lower rg ball as lanes get drier, and then wonder why all of the sudden their ball is seeing friction earlier than the past ball. Bowlers tend to not research the cores as much as they should, and therefore put themselves in spots where the balls just don’t make sense. Do the balls in your bag make sense right now? Lookup the core specs on each one and see if your transitions make sense from 1-2-3. More often than not, bowler’s bags are setup in a manner where they do not. If your balls makes sense in the progression, they’ll generally go from lower to higher rg, from higher to lower differential, and from dull to polished surfaces.

This will take some time (and possibly some money) to accomplish. It’s not easy finding those 2-3 special balls that seem to always fit your eye. More importantly, once you find them stay with them! Players seem to ditch their favorite ball all of the time in favor of the new color out this month. There’s nothing wrong with keeping your favorite ball from 3 years ago in the bag as a fallback.

Once you get these drilled and tested on the lanes, we’ll identify some outliers in the blog series next week. Until then, good luck finding your super-ball! You’ll know it when you see it.

3 thoughts on “Creating the Simple and Effective Bowling Ball Arsenal Part 3 By John Gaines

  1. luis rosa says:

    hello jeff gd stuff ur writing been keep track of u by ur blog gd reading I figure let u know you left hammer I still here n I also a customer like the site n im glad ur having fun with bowler mart so far they been on the money n you actually might know my proshop guy marlon enriquez out of jib lanes in queens n.y ok enjoy the holiday u n family ttyl godbless

  2. Glenn says:

    John, this blog post states “…we’ll identify some outliers in the blog series next week.”, but I cannot find this follow-up posting. Can you point me in the right direction?


  3. dick says:

    I would be nice if you would give several option balls for ball#1, #2 and #2, That would give bowlers a easier for mid to lower skilled bower to decide which way to go for there next balls.

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