Coach, I’ve Got a Question! – September 2022

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In this recurring feature, I’ll be answering questions from Bowling This Month readers, or questions I’ve received from bowlers I work with, that might not require the depth of a full-length article, but that can definitely benefit more than just the person who happened to ask. Think of it as a Dear Abby column for bowlers.

If you have questions, please leave them in the comment section below so that I can address them in a future article. Please note that I can only answer a few questions each time, so if your question is not answered this month, please be patient and I’ll be sure to address it in a future installment of Coach, I’ve Got a Question!

Bowling ball covers are becoming so complicated. Can you explain the differences between hybrid, pearl, and solid coverstocks?

When it comes to reactive coverstocks, the three basic types are hybrid, solid, and pearl. These classifications are generally simply based on the additives in the coverstock formula that affect the reaction of the bowling ball. Since the specific formulations are proprietary, the only information bowlers get about coverstocks are their names and whatever marketing material is provided to you by the company. Without the benefit of any sort of inside information, here is what bowlers need to know:

  • Solid: These coverstocks generally provide earlier hook and smoother motions downlane.
  • Pearl: These shells often come out of the box shiny, but even at the same surface preparation as a solid ball, they generally provide stronger back end motions.
  • Hybrid: These shells are a mix of the two basic types, with a goal of providing a reaction shape that is in the middle of the solid and pearl variations.

But here is where things get complicated: the exact formulation of the coverstock affects its oil absorption, footprint, and overall traction on the lane. It’s possible to see solid bowling balls skid farther downlane than a pearl because of the other characteristics of the ball. It’s why whenever we talk about these coverstock types, it needs to be prefaced by “all other things equal.” Assuming the identical core, layout, and every other ...



Tyrel Rose

About Tyrel Rose

Tyrel Rose is Bowling This Month's Director of Content. He is the former Head Coach for Team Canada, with almost 20 years of experience coaching bowlers of all levels. Tyrel is an NCCP Competition Development level and USBC Bronze Certified coach, and a former Canadian national champion.