Article Contents

  • 1. Lane surface
  • 2. Ball surface
  • 3. Symmetrical vs. asymmetrical cores
  • 4. House shots vs sport shots
  • 5. Center environment
  • 6. Obey the lane

I competed in a local tournament recently which always draws a strong field with a wide variety of styles and techniques. After I was knocked out, I sat with a young two-handed player with truly BHAG’s (Big Hairy Audacious Goals). Our conversation covered a wide range of bowling topics including ball surface, lane surface, drilling/layout of bowling balls, where to gain reliable knowledge, how to process the knowledge gleaned from others, long-term goals, and the effect coaches have on bowlers as bowlers and as people.

I also had a bowling discussion with an outstanding local youth bowler and his father about a wide variety of subjects with the main two items being core shape and surface preparation. It started me thinking about all of the little things we, as bowlers and coaches, have learned that we may not realize we know.

Lane surface

Recently at a local sport shot tournament conducted on wood I was told, “It did not play the way it was supposed to.” Surface, surface, surface. So often overlooked, so important.

Wood has the most friction and is the softest surface. There is often more oil in the heads to protect the surface of wood lanes and, generally, the heads dry up faster on wood than synthetics. Brunswick Pro Lane has the least friction. AMF HPL lane surface is somewhere in the middle. Brunswick Pro Lane has markers down the lane while AMF synthetics have a consistent pattern to the colors of the “boards” and there are no down lane markers.

This leads to a KISS (Keep It Simple, Silly) guide for choosing equipment for lanes. In my opinion, you want to use pearl or hybrid equipment on wood and solid or hybrid on synthetic. Why? Pearl balls tend to save energy/skid more in the heads and this will counter the additional friction found on the wood surface. This allows the ball to save energy for the ...

Dug Barker

About Dug Barker

Dug Barker is a Silver Coach, Youth Director at Ken-Bowl Lanes, and is based in Louisville, KY. A member of the Positive Coaching Alliance, he is a two-time Top 100 Coach.