Many bowlers visit my shop each week to use my Surface Factory to sand 2000, 1000 and sometimes 500 grit to their ball; and this is for a house shot. They're unfortunate prisoners in the toughest class of bowler today, guaranteeing that they can't move, slow down and forced to chuck it down the lane every shot. They're the speed dominant player.
This kind of player congers up thoughts of people who throw real fast with little or no rotation, but they're also the firm speed player with moderate revs or the medium speed player with virtually no revs. Speed dominant is exactly what is says, speed dominates their revolutions. They use stronger cores, stronger layouts, duller textures and play outside of the traffic. When the ball doesn't carry, they tend to grab an even stronger ball, throw it harder or play even more outside. Eventually they leave far too many corner pins and wind up with less than competitive scores.
Most of them came from wood; grew up on drier lanes so their game is all about speed. Others started off throwing hard because the common perception of our sport from the total beginner is that velocity is power. Their thought being that if I throw it harder, the pins will mix better. The last batch in this class just never seemed to learn how to release a ball properly so fast feet and late timing produced the speed and all they do is float it off their hand. These players are accurate, generally always keeping their ball in play but lacking the ability on longer patterns to carry effectively.
There are 3 phases to ball motion from the foul line to the pocket; skid, hook and roll. Sanding a ball seems necessary when the skid phase is too long. When they heavily sand a ball, the skid becomes slip. This can be deceiving since just because your ball starting hooking at the right spot doesn't mean the core hasn't leaked gobs of energy already. Realize that the ball is flaring as soon as it hits the lane while all that speed is forcing the ball to slip down the lane. When the drier backends finally show up, the ball is on it's last legs rather then ready to drive toward the pocket and roll through the pins. That's the reason why a duller ball usually reacts less in the backends than a shiny one. Think about the brakes in your car. If you're driving too fast and jam on your brakes, your tires lock up, you hear the high pitched squeal. Those tires heat up quickly while they slip on the pavement burning rubber. We lose speed fast but at a price. We don't want that in bowling either. We want the ball to slow down gradually, not instantly.
So how do you correct this problem? To move from speed dominant to evenly balanced, either determine why your mechanics is making you throw so hard or determine why you're not lifting the ball properly. Once you get the speed/revs ratio to your advantage, you can shine up the ball or at least sand to a more reasonable 3000 or 4000 grit. Move inside so that you can get on top or inside the competition and increase your axis rotation (turn it more). Allow yourself to throw the ball away from the pocket and let the forces of friction, rotation, core, cover and alignment take care of the pathway to the pocket.
Think about what part of the ball or game match which part of the lane:
- Your alignment gets you the skid though the fronts by starting the ball in the oil.
- The core gets your ball to hook in the mid portion of the lane
- Your hand position and your coverstock technology gains valuable angle into the pocket.
This is a complex shift and a significant game changing philosophy. To some this can be major. Alignment changes, timing goes from sprint to jog, hand position goes from ripping up the back to turn and the ball goes from sand blasted to shiny. Instincts need to be learned. Is this a ball change, a move or hand position? Lots going on but if you want to plan for the future of this sport, consider matching up your speed and revs. Those who do are already at a far greater advantage than the rest of us.