Managing a bowling ball’s surface is one of the most important tactical skills a bowler can have. Along with being able to physically manipulate ball speed, loft, and release, competitive bowlers need to be able to adjust surface when needed and when allowed by the rules.

The goal of managing your ball surface is to create a matchup between your game, the ball, and the conditions. While every ball comes out of the box at a predetermined surface texture, bowlers can and should change that surface as necessary to improve its performance:

  • A rougher texture will create an earlier hook and a smoother overall shape. On many conditions, this will result in more overall hook.
  • A smoother texture will create later hook and a sharper movement at the breakpoint. Adjust to a smoother surface when the ball is burning up too much energy as it goes downlane.
  • Not every ball reacts the same way to the same adjustment. Practice changing surfaces with all your equipment and take note of the differences in motion you see.