Changing Balls

For most bowlers who own multiple ‘strike’ balls, the temptation often comes to switch balls when your ‘preferred’ strike ball isn’t performing as expected. Many bowlers around the 200 level will make the decision to switch to a different ball when the original ball they are using isn’t ‘working correctly’. Sometimes this can make a difference, but the fact of the matter is, the original ball is probably working fine, but you’re just not lined up correctly on the lane (see Starting Position). However, there are several occasions in which changing balls is entirely appropriate and necessary.

Spare shots – If you’re a 150-180 average bowler and you want to improve your average by 10 pins or more, switching to your spare ball for every spare shot can help you out significantly. If you’ve ever thrown your strike ball at a 10 pin or 7 pin, just to see it hook away at the last second, then you know why you should get a spare ball.

With a spare ball, you can throw your normal shot without dramatically changing your starting position, increasing your speed, or having to keep your wrist straight. (Remember bowling is about repetition!).

Sport shot conditions – The PBA line of sport patterns, the USBC National pattern (which changes every year), and many other patterns out there are very difficult assess in 10 to 15 minutes of warm-ups. If you’re preferred ball just isn’t performing (sliding too far, breaking too soon, or is just generally unpredictable), switching to your secondary or tertiary strike balls may be worth a try. Also, remember that certain balls are designed and drilled for conditions that are oily/dry. If your preferred ball performs better on a reasonably dry house shot, you’ll want to use a ball for heavy oil on a sport shot, such as the Storm Timeless Bowling Ball (40% off right now), or the Hammer Gauntlet, which performs spectacularly well in heavy oil conditions.

Dry lanes – Though not common in most leagues, a lot of tournaments, especially ones where you bowl 5 or more games, will see the oil disappear and dry up. This can often leave you scrambling left to stay in the oil and put you in an uncomfortable angle to throw at. Having a Urethane ball in your arsenal can be quite helpful in a dry lane situation, but switching to any less hooking ball will be helpful. It may sound crazy, but don’t rule out throwing your spare ball for a strike as well.

==> For medium to heavy oil, be sure to also check out this ball. It’s one of the most highly rated right now, allowing you to have one beast of a hook, even in the harshest of lane conditions!

How to Bowl a Hook

How To Quickly Get Better At Bowling–Play Corners!

How To Play Corners:
The biggest part of bowling is practice. And while perfecting your strike shot is great, the best way to become a consistent bowler (and average over 200) is to pick your spares, particularly the corner pin spares (7 and 10 pins). To help with that, it’s a good idea to play ‘Corners’.
The goal of the game is very simple, on your two shots per bowling frame, only knock over the 7 and 10 pins. If you accomplish the feat in 10 bowling frames, you’ll get a score of 20 and have thrown a perfect Corners game. Sounds easy enough, but unfortunately there’s a little more to it. Any additional pin that you knock down counts as a pin against you. For example, if you hit just the 7 pin on your first shot, but hit the 6-9-10 pins on your second shot, you get a score of 4. The other penalty comes if you don’t knock over the 7 or 10 pin during a given frame. If one of those pins is left standing during a frame, you’ll get a score of 10 for the frame (this includes gutterballs). If both the 7 and 10 pin are still standing you’ll get a dreaded ’20’ for the frame.
Here’s a sample scorecard from a game of Corners:

A few additional notes:
– If you accidentally spare or strike, it’s worth 10 pins. (Example Frames 6 and 7), but your score from the next frame will not add to your previous frame’s score. (as it would in standard 10 pin bowling).
-if you double gutter it’s worth 20 pins as well. (Example Frame 5 again)
-You’ll likely have to keep score by hand, as most automatic scorers use standard 10 pin bowling to calculate your totals.
-Lowest score wins!
Playing ‘Corners’ is a great way to practice and still challenge yourself (and others) to get a better score. And it will certainly help you along your path to becoming a 200 average bowler.

USBC National Tournament


The premiere bowling tournament of any year is the United States Bowling Congress National Tournament. It is held in a different location every year (2017’s tournament is in Las Vegas; 2018 will be in Syracuse, NY) and lasts from February until the 4th of July. And every USBC sanctioned league bowler in America is invited to attend! With that in mind, here are a few tips and notes for when you’re ready to attend the tournament.

When should I sign up?
As soon as you can. Squad dates and times fill up quickly (especially on the weekend sessions). Many bowlers will sign up a year in advance so that they can assure themselves the dates and times they want to bowl. The latest you want to sign up is 4 months out from the event.

What does it cost?
The tournament can be a bit of an investment. Prices vary depending on the events, the dates, and the times you sign up for (there is sometimes an extra charge for weekend bowling). Someone participating in all the major categories will probably spend between $175 and $200. Additionally, unless you live in one of the host cities, you’ll need to factor in travel expenses such as airfare, hotel, and food while you’re there.

What are the major categories?
Singles, Doubles, and 5-man team are the standard categories. The team portion is bowled on day 1. You and your team bowl 3 games, alternating lanes with another team. You stay on the same pair for all 3 games. The Singles/Doubles portion is bowled on day 2. You will bowl 3 games with your doubles partner, followed immediately by 3 games as a singles bowler. All 6 games are bowled on one pair, and generally 6 total bowlers bowl on each pair.

What are the lane conditions like?
The USBC changes the oil pattern for each tournament and generally has different patterns for the team portion and the singles/doubles portion. For a standard house shot bowler, it’s important to know that you will struggle to shoot high scores. More than likely, you will be between 20-40 pins lower than your league average. Even if you bowl a sport shot league, you will still likely struggle a little.

What else can you tell me?
The event is awesome and a whole lot of fun. When you arrive at the alley, you’ll go behind the scenes to have your bowling balls measured and weighed to make sure you are using legal equipment. If it turns out you’re not, you will have a short amount of time to get the ball corrected at the pro-shop so that you can use it at the tournament. After the weighing, you, your team, and all the other teams, will be marched out into the alley to exciting music and cheers from the crowd! Before you know it, you’ll be bowling in one of the finest bowling alleys in the United States!

Is it worth it?
YES! The trip is great for friends and family alike, and is a great experience whether you only go once, or go every year! Additionally, if you do bowl well, you can win great money prizes!