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Ball Review


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Focus on Process and the Right Tools WHAVE YOU ACHIEVED your bowling goals? It’s a question worth con-

sidering now that we’re entering the home stretch of the season. Goals may encompass high games, high series or even tournament wins. Some bowl- ers may be satisfi ed by realizing steady improvement over previous seasons. But as USBC Hall of Famer Jeff Richgels likes to say, it’s best to be pro-

cess orientated rather than results orientated. Focus on your fundamentals and thought processes, and you’ll see improvement that will contribute to achieving your goals. Think of bowling balls as our “tools of the trade.” You can’t buy high

scores, but you can buy a diff erent ball motion that will give you a better match-up on a particular oil pattern. For a while, I’ve been measuring the “Ra,” which is the depth of a ball sur-

face’s microscopic valleys or the height of its peaks. This month, I’m adding a second measurement of surface roughness — a laser scanning profi lometer measurement of the “eff ective surface grit.” Due to the hardness and compo- sition of the coverstocks, this will always come out as a larger number than the grit of the sanding pad used. An example of this is the Columbia 300 Enigma, which is sanded with a 1500 grit Abralon pad, resulting in a much smoother 3900 eff ective surface grit.

Each month, bowlers journal interactive will reprint the BJ ball review by Joe Cerar. This issue also includes video demonstrations featuring one or more of the tested balls.


THE TESTING This month, ball testing was performed at Classic Lanes and Olympic Lanes in Milwaukee. We were able to test on both AMF SPL and Brunswick Anvilane synthetic lane surfaces. Our test patterns included the USBC White and the PBA Viper. We also bowled on fresh and broken- down typical house shots at both centers. My test staff included Scott Stolz and Matt Duty. Our rev rates range from 300 to 450, with ball speeds between 16- and 19-mph. All three of us can change our tilts and axis rotations to modify roll characteristics.

HOOK POTENTIAL 35-45: Balls with lower total hook ranges, best suited for lighter oil concentrations. Players with slower speeds or higher rev rates may also prefer balls in this range for medium oil ap- plications. 45-51: Balls with medium hook ability, best suited for the vast majority of “typical house

shots” and some lower-volume Sport patterns. This hook range should be represented by the “centerpiece” ball in most arsenals. 51-60+: Balls with greater total hook, designed for heavier oil volumes. Players with higher speeds or lower rev rates, who need added lane traction, may also prefer balls in this range.

LENGTH RATINGS 8-12: Earlier rolling balls that read the lane sooner. These products generally come factory- sanded with lower grit surfaces, and match up well with speed-dominant styles and those bowling on longer patterns. 12-15: Medium-length balls that produce easier length through the midlane. Good for most house shots and medium-volume Sport patterns. 15-19+: Balls off ering extra length for those bowling on lighter oil concentrations. Also ben- efi cial for slower speed players, or those with higher rev rates needing added push downlane.

BREAKPOINT SHAPE 10-13: Slower-response balls that read the friction areas more gradually. This range may in- clude balls with a urethane or mild reactive cover, designed for a smooth arc to the pocket. Can also help those with higher rev rates control motion and match up well from outside angles of attack. 13-15: Balls rated for slightly stronger and quicker reactions when encountering friction ar- eas (as when the ball leaves the oil pattern). This range off ers a balance of control and back- end angularity. 15-18+: Balls that respond more quickly and aggressively to friction areas. This range can help those with less hand action create more angularity near the pocket. Also preferred when playing deeper inside angles, which generally require more entry angle for above-average pin carry.

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