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How To Get Life Out Of Your Old Bowling Balls

Resurfacing the coverstock to your existing bowling ball equipment is an important step in how to get life out of your old bowling balls. The first step, however, in learning how to get life out of your old bowling balls is to determine which ones you will keep and which you may wish to eliminate from your arsenal.

Let's begin by determining what is an old bowling ball. An old ball refers to the age of the ball and to how long you have owned the given ball. If you are a bowler who uses only three bowling balls routinely with one ball used as a ball to go straight on dry lanes or to convert spares, then the other two balls should be comprised of an aggressive coverstock which will work on very oily lane conditions and the other which will work on medium dry conditions and provide a strong back end ball reaction.

If your older bowling balls are a plastic or urethane coverstock, then either can be used effectively as the dry lane or spare ball. There is really no need to retain a rubber bowling ball because plastic and urethane coverstock balls accomplish as much and more than do rubber ball varieties.

There is no need to purchase a new ball for very dry lanes or for spares if the coverstock of your old ball is in decent shape. If the older bowling balls you own have only minor nicks or surface scratches, then retain the ball which is in the best overall coverstock condition. You can go to your local pro shop and resurface the coverstock to smooth out any surface blemishes and restore life to the coverstock.

To further fine tune your old bowling ball, you can screen the ball with fine grit pads such as with 2000-4000 Abralon pads and then polish the surface so the ball will have decreased surface friction and so the ball will skid easily on dry portions of the lanes. Another strategy is to screen the surface with 1000 - 1500 grit pads to create slightly higher levels of friction and therefore more traction in oil if you feel the ball will skid too far.

If you have more than one older bowling ball, then we recommend you donate the one or ones you will not retain in your arsenal to, perhaps, the youth programs at local bowling centers to help out junior bowlers who might appreciate having a bowling ball of their own. No need to retain multiple older bowling balls with similar coverstocks unless you have a favorite ball which has brought you much past success in competition.

If your arsenal consists of more than three bowling balls, then retain a ball for dry lanes and restore the surface as suggested above and also retain a reactive resin ball or a particle coverstock ball. Every arsenal should have a reactive resin coverstock, either a solid reactive coverstock or a pearl reactive coverstock, if not both, to react strongly in the mid-lane and on back end of the lane after sliding smoothly on the front end of the lane.

To determine if you should retain an older reactive ball or balls, take your latest equipment and the older equipment to the practice lanes and compare them against one another on known conditions you will face in competition. The older equipment which offers the greatest range of motion capabilities is the ball or balls you should retain. Depending on how many balls you wish to have in your arsenal will help you determine which of your older balls can also double as "situation pieces of equipment" fitting into ball motion ranges between newer bowling balls.

Any older bowling balls you elect to retain, reactive resin or particle coverstocks, should also be restored by resurfacing them and preparing the screening procedures to enhance the type of ball motion you seek. Sometimes older reactive balls are very dependable reacting pieces of equipment and provide a controllable ball motion needed on wet-dry lane conditions or on short length oil patterns such as you may encounter on house conditions.

Some new bowling balls on the market today are designed to produce very similar ball motion to equipment you may already own. Be careful to not invest money on new equipment unless you are reasonably certain the new ball you seek will match better on lane conditions you are targeting then does your older existing equipment.

In cases of new bowling balls, just as is the case with older equipment, you can modify the ball surface in the pro shop with surface screening strategies and with use of select polishes to enhance the motion capabilities these bowling balls possess. It is surprising how few bowlers routinely clean, polish or screen the surfaces of their equipment to prepare for given levels of competition.

Don't shy away from using older bowling balls on modern lane conditions. On the same line of reasoning, don't retain older bowling balls if they serve no useful purpose and are merely duplicates of what you already use. It can be very surprising to learn how many highly skilled players confuse themselves with bowling balls and do not effectively rotate equipment into their current arsenal and eliminate others. Try and develop a sensible arsenal and keep the process in determining which older bowling balls will be retained for use a simple process.


Try to develop an understanding of bowling ball coverstock classifications. Learn how to restore ball surfaces to match well with lane conditions you routinely face. You might just find that one or more of your older bowling balls will work to your advantage. By the way, make sure your older equipment properly fits your bowling hand to avoid possible injury and to help you make smooth and effective deliveries.

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