Committing to Bowl Better

February 24, 2019

This weekend, Alecia and I took the next big step in our bowling journey. We got our own bowling balls.

We began this streak of bowling right before Christmas. Family had all gone home after spending Thanksgiving with us, and things were feeling pretty empty around the house. We’re homebodies, but we always talk about getting out more and I wanted to find a new habit for us before we got used to the solitude again. We decided to try out the bowling alley we pass by just about every day.

Well, we had a blast. We got shoes for Christmas, a bag to hold them in, and started a new Sunday routine. I immersed myself in it, watching YouTube videos from the USBC Bowling Academy and DVRing PBA and PWBA matches. We keep it up. I get my arm strength up, moving from a 13 lb ball to a 14 lb. I set a new personal best of 178. Alecia graduates to a 12 lb ball and bowls a 139. We’re addicted to the progress we’re seeing, and we decide to take the next step. We made an appointment to get fitted for our balls, and we got them this weekend.

Everyone has different goals, and what your goals are help decide what kind of ball to get. You can get balls that are essentially identical to the house balls the alley provides (without all the dents) custom drilled to fit your hand for around $80. This is a great option if you want to keep it casual and just want something of your own. Custom drilled finger holes make a big difference in how you hold the ball, and allows you to handle a heavier ball than you otherwise might be comfortable with. The folks at the pro shop didn’t hesitate to fit Alecia and I with 13 and 15 lb balls, respectively. Measured and drilled just for us, we didn’t notice the difference except in the added power it brought.

Because we want to some day join a league we were recommended a step above the polyurethane balls the alleys provide. Our balls are coated in a comparatively grippier material called a “reactive coverstock”. This coating grips the end of the lane better and helps provide the ability to curve or “hook” the ball before striking the pins. We don’t have the hook down yet, but we’ll get there.

Changing what we’ve grown used to comes at a cost. The new balls feel different, roll different, and shoot, even smell different. I anticipated this and we’ve had to accept that even though our averages might take a dip, any step backwards is going to be followed by a leap forwards. It’s an investment we’re making to raise our skill ceiling.

I can’t wait for next Sunday.