Building an Arsenal

By Michael Cousins

Something that all bowlers need to consider when purchasing a new ball: does it fit in my arsenal? I have a lot of customers – successful customers, at that – that just purchase the latest and greatest high performance ball from their favorite brands.


While this is fine if you’re just looking to upgrade your current piece of equipment, it isn’t always the ideal scenario.

Bowling balls aren’t cheap. I know that. You know it. We all do. Therefore, if you’re going to be investing your hard earned money into one, two, three balls a year, why not strategize your purchases.

In my opinion, the most important piece of equipment in any bowler’s bag is a benchmark ball.

The benchmark ball, for those of you that don’t know, is a ball that is perfectly in the middle of your arsenal. Not too strong, not too weak. Not too angular, not too smooth. Not too quick, not too slow. It is the first ball out of your bag, and it is the ball that helps you make your next ball decision.

From there, your next purchase is really subjective; it depends on what you need to best address your current needs. If you feel you need a stronger ball to combat your league conditions, go stronger. If you are considering bowling some tournaments with longer formats and you feel you will need weaker, cleaner equipment, go weaker. At this point, it is totally personal preference.

The next step is very simple: depending on whether or not you picked the stronger or weaker ball as your second option in your arsenal, go with the opposite. In other words, if you bought the heavy rolling, high end ball, go with a cleaner ball as your next option. If you went with the weaker ball to begin with, start looking into high end, high performance balls.

This, however, is where it starts to get a little tricky, and you will need the help of a trusted pro shop professional to help you.

Once you’ve got a strong ball, a benchmark ball, and a weaker ball, which, by the way, for a league arsenal, is likely sufficient enough to be competitive, you’ll want to start adding similar balls, but differing shapes. What I mean by that is similar in terms of overall hook potential, but different in terms of their shape (the way the ball motions) and their response times (the quickness of the ball motion).

Once you have gotten a variety of bowling balls in your arsenal, you’ll also want to make sure you have a variety of layouts that help compliment one another and you, the bowler.

This is where, once again, that trusted pro shop professional comes in handy. If you have a variety of bowling balls, but you have virtually identical layouts on every ball – sure, you’ll have some variety in your arsenal, given the variety of balls – you are potentially cheating yourself out of even more variance and options.

If you have any questions about this topic, I implore you to speak with your local pro shop operator and make sure that you are putting together a solid, sound arsenal. If you’d like, feel free to reach out to us at our Facebook, Twitter, or one of our many Pro Shop locations throughout the country.

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