Article Contents

  • 1. Ball work – fit
  • 2. Ball work – surface
  • 3. Shoes
  • 4. Wrist braces and accessory bags

It’s August and the bowling season is right around the corner. Last month, I assigned a bit of summer homework to help you improve some fundamentals. This month, I wanted to discuss some of things to help get you started for the 2011-2012 season. We’ll start with ball work.

Ball work – fit

A bowler’s grip is a fundamental element in a successful release and inserts form an integral part of that all important feel. Inserts, grips, lifters, call them what you like. For simplicity’s sake, I refer to them as inserts, and when referring to the type of insert, I usually go with Turbo’s naming system, since those are the grips I use most. I’ve included a table with a brief description  and some top brand’s inserts for reference. (See ‘Grips Table’)

Inserts will stretch and wear out over time, robbing you of grip and consistency coming off your hand. The first and most often neglected part of ball maintenance is finger inserts. Whatever you call them, they need to be changed regularly. Since many bowlers change them less than they should, inserts should at least be changed prior to the start of the bowling season.

It’s often fairly obvious when inserts are ripped or torn and need to be changed, but other reasons to change them can be much more subtle.

  • Power Oval and Power Lift-style inserts often wear out behind the ‘lifter’ part before tearing, leaving the insert feeling sharper and a little looser. This also affects your finger pitch, as the slope of the ‘lifter’ is 1/8 inch forward when brand new.
  • Semi-ovals are easy to see, but not always feel, as the front of the bump shrinks and flattens out over time.
  • Power nubs (little bumps), wear out quickly and disappear. They are easy to feel and these grips should be changed often.
  • Oval and oval mesh-type inserts become smoother over time and often wear out in the corners, providing less and less grip at release point.
  • All inserts dry out and shrink over time. If they don’t wear out before this time, you’ll see the inserts start to come away from the edges of the holes and they will feel slick compared to a new set. See photo ‘Shrunken Inserts.’

Of course, you can’t mention the importance of a bowler’s grip without mentioning that your hands change constantly as you get older, particularly if an injury has occurred. Your span/grip should be checked to make sure everything is as it should be. ...

Tyrel Rose

About Tyrel Rose

Tyrel Rose is Head Coach of Team Canada's Men’s National Team, a director on the national board for the Canadian Tenpin Federation, an NCCP Competition Development level and USBC Bronze Certified coach, and a former Canadian National Champion. He owns and operates Gold Medal Bowling Boutique and lives in Montreal, Canada. Follow Tyrel at his bowling coaching blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook.