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Matching Bowling Ball Surfaces to Your Game

When it comes to bowling on a house pattern or sport patterns there are multiple ways to match coverstocks to a bowlers game. Surface plays a big role in how the ball sees the lane, by matching the coverstocks properly it greatly increases the area you can create, therefore making your scores higher.

Then main products used to change surfaces on today's equipment are Abralon or Siaair Micro Finishing Pads pads. They come in surfaces of 180, 360, 500, 1000, 2000, and 4000. Siaair also comes in 800 and 1500 grits. 180 being the roughest surface and 4000 being the smoothest. The lower the grit of surface used the more friction the ball creates on the lane, this will lead to the ball hooking earlier and smoother. Higher grit surfaces make the ball hook later and can be combined with polish to make the ball go even longer and create a bigger backend motion, especially for higher rev players.

Choosing the correct surface to use depends on the type of game a bowler has. On a fresh league shot a bowler that has a higher ball speed and lower rev rate will most likely match up with lower surfaces, where a high rev/low ball speed bowler will match up better with higher grit surfaces. With the lower grit surfaces the ball creates more friction to the lane causing the ball to slow down more, this is what makes the ball start to hook earlier. This helps the low rev/high speed bowler to get the ball to read the midlane better and create more motion on the back part of the lane. 500 to 1000 grit is a good place to start for these types of bowlers. Higher rev players make the ball slow down with their release, using lower grit surfaces can cause the ball to slow down too quickly causing the ball to lose its energy or “roll out”. Using higher grit surfaces, such as 2000 to 4000 allows the ball to retain energy more allowing the ball to make it to the break-point easier and thus creating a bigger back end motion.

As the oil on the lane starts to transition, the bowling ball can start to see the lane quicker due to how much oil today's bowling balls absorb, making the oil in the fronts dissipate. Once this happens a different surface can help immensely. For the high speed/low rev player a ball at 2000-4000 will help the ball retain energy and get through the dry front part of the lane and still allow them to play straighter through the front part of the lane. As for the higher rev players, polished coverstocks can be used to stay in the same part of the lane or a 4000 surface can be used allowing them to move farther left and still get the ball to return. Surface preparation is a major key in shooting good scores. Whether you are a low rev stroker or a high rev cranker choosing the right surface can be the difference in shooting 600 in league or making a cut in a tournament.

Jimmy Martin
bowlingball.com Staff
Storm/Roto Grip Staff