By Michael Cousins
Last week, we took a look at a way to get your mental and physical games ready for Junior Gold. This week, we are going to take a look at how to get your arsenal ready.
With a ball limit, putting together the perfect arsenal is challenging. It is especially more challenging when you consider that we have no idea what patterns are going to be used.
So when you’re only allowed 5 balls, the first thing I’d consider doing is eliminating your spare ball. If you can shoot spares without a spare ball, great. If you can’t, I suggest you begin working on it regularly. I know we don’t have a lot of time left before this year’s event, so if you don’t feel you have enough time to prepare without one, I understand; bring it. But, in the future, you definitely do not want to have to resister a spare ball. It puts you at an immediate disadvantage over your competitors who did not register a spare ball.
Aside from not bringing polyester, another definite is urethane. You absolutely want to have urethane in your bag. Urethane, especially on the shorter patterns, has become a necessity. Having one can be a huge advantage and, honestly, depending on the patterns used, you may be able to use it on both the short AND the medium pattern.
But even if it doesn’t work out, and you aren’t able to use urethane on the medium pattern, not having it on the short pattern would put you at a huge disadvantage against the field using them. This is regardless of your style, honestly. You will want to have one. Just to be safe.
So with one spot gone, that leaves you four spots. Those four spots are really dependent on you, your style, and your measurables. If you’re rev dominant, your arsenal is going to look significantly different than a player that is speed dominant. And given that putting together an arsenal is so dependent on the player and their characteristics, I am going to go over the arsenal we have put together for a few kids that I coach with very different physical games.
We’ll start off with a one-handed lefty. He’s definitely a power player, but I wouldn’t call him rev-dominant, as his speed and revrate matchup pretty well. He has a heavy roll and around 450rpms. For him, you have to understand he isn’t going to have the same amount of play that the right side is, and with less games in the squads now, he isn’t really going to need weak equipment. For him, he’s going to be registering a Hyper Cell Fused as his strong ball. He’ll use pads once there to fine-tune the cover and get it right. I anticipate him using a little surface on it at all times. From there, we have drilled two balls, an Idol and an IQ Tour, that fit similarly in terms of overall hook, I suppose, but they both offer very different shapes. His Idol will be slower downlane, while his IQ Tour will be a bit quicker. Both are “benchmark” balls, but he sees quite a bit of variation out of both of them. His urethane of choice is his Hot Cell. And, as of now, his fifth ball is in limbo, but it appears that it will be between a Son!Q or a Marvel Pearl.
As I said before, with the amount of games and less traffic, we just don’t see the need for weaker equipment with him. However, you’ll see in our next example that isn’t the case.
The second player we are going to be looking at is a two-handed player that I would definitely classify as rev-dominant. While he does create some ball speed, he creates far more revrate than speed.
For him, once again, he is bringing urethane for sure. In his case, it is going to be a Purple Hammer, for obvious reasons. A) the ball is just good, and B) it matches up better with his revrate. We definitely anticipate that this ball will be in play on the short and medium for his style. As for a spare ball, he does have to bring one. He shoots spares two-handed, and isn’t comfortable doing so one-handed, so not bringing a spare ball wasn’t an option for him. With two slots eliminated, that only leaves a three ball arsenal that we have to attempt to insert as much variety into those three slots as possible. For him, he personally didn’t want an asymmetrical ball. He personally doesn’t like them, and he feels they force him too far left too quick. But, I wanted him to have an asymmetrical core. So, we decided on a Code Red. That cover is clean enough for him to use and not feel uncomfortable, but still gives him a big core that he can use pads on to create more shape. With three balls accounted for, we wanted him to have a strong symmetrical option. Initially, I thought the Idol was the ball, but it hooked WAY too much for him, and I didn’t think he needed that much ball in addition to his Code Red. So we instead decided on a Diesel. The Diesel is still a very strong symmetrical ball, but I just felt it scratched more itches than the Idol did. For his last ball, we wanted something weaker — though not too weak since it is only four game blocks. He didn’t feel comfortable not bringing something weak, though. So, we decided on a Hustle Ink, which, shiny, definitely is a weaker option, but with some surface, gives another very usable ball that he could definitely use on both the medium and long patterns.
In our last example, we’re taking a look at a female who is lower revrate, lower-to-average ball speed. Given that her revrate is lower, and the blocks are short, we instantly decided against any weak balls. For urethane, she’s bringing a Black Widow Urethane, as that is probably the strongest urethane ball overall. She’s also using her urethane ball for spares. From there, she’s bringing two asymmetrical balls. One earlier rolling, one cleaner. For her big, strong asym, she decided on a Code X. For her, it was the best option. For her cleaner option, she decided on a Rip’d (hybrid). For her, it read the body of the lane better than the Hyper Cell Fused. As her benchmark ball, she is bringing a Phaze II that she’s had for awhile. She loves this ball and didn’t want to sub it out. And, honestly, I don’t disagree; this ball is great. For her final “burn” ball, she is bringing a Son!Q. Obviously this isn’t a very weak ball, but, for her, it should do the trick.
As you can see, these arsenals drastically differ based on the bowler and their style. There is really no one cookie cutter arsenal that will be applicable and successful for every player. Hopefully this at least gives you some ideas, but, ideally, you should go speak to your Pro Shop and see what they have to say. They know your game and can help you fine-tune your arsenal around your individual needs.