Article Contents

  • 1. Avoiding slide-related injuries
  • 2. A short discourse on bowling balls
    • 2.1. The evolution of coverstocks
    • 2.2. The evolution of the weight block
  • 3. How many bowling balls do you need?
  • 4. A weighty topic
  • 5. The pre-shot routine
  • 6. Coming up

Every year, more than 50 million people go bowling. For most, bowling is a recreation, a game to be enjoyed alone or as a social outing with friends and family. But for some people—you, for instance—bowling is something else: a competitive sport, where the participant wants to knock down more pins than everyone else. When this happens, these transitioning bowlers become Bowlers with a capital B.

In this series, I’ll address issues that will help bowlers become Bowlers. If you’re making the jump from recreational to more competitive play, these things may be new to you, or maybe you’ve heard of them and they piqued your interest. Either way, I’ll try to add something valuable to your knowledge of bowling, starting with a discussion of the equipment and one of the most important mental tools you’ll need as a competitive bowler: the pre-shot routine. But first, let’s talk about safety.

Avoiding slide-related injuries

All sports carry some risk of injury. In bowling, one of the biggest potential danger zones is the approach. Recreational bowlers don’t always realize that spilling drinks or dropping food can lead to serious injury. Someone can slip and fall, or stick violently. But accidents like these are avoidable. As a competitive bowler, you will bowl in multiple centers, and also change lanes frequently for tournaments.

Before you bowl, slowly slide to the foul line, a foot or two at a time, paying special attention to the last five or six feet, right up to the line, gutter to gutter. If you can slide without slipping or sticking, you’re OK. If you can’t, call for help and don’t bowl until the problem is addressed.

Humidity can also make the approaches tacky. Afraid of sticking, some bowlers resort to using a powder on their shoe that’s made specifically to help ...

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Phil Regan

About Phil Regan

Phil Regan, a USBC-certified Silver coach, has been teaching bowling since 1964. Retired from corporate life, he coaches bowlers of all levels in the northern California area and competes on the PBA50 and PBA Regional tours. Phil can be found online at