This week's tip:
Equipment: House Balls
and House Shoes
by: Bob Strickland
When you become
enthusiastic about bowling, you will want to increase the frequency of your bowling to
more than a couple of times per month. When you do, you should seriously consider having
your own BALL and SHOES.
Although the equipment provided for your use by the bowling establishment is adequate for
the purpose intended, it is essential to own your own equipment if you want to become a
better bowler. Even the best house ball will not fit as well as your own personally
customized ball, so you should visit a good pro shop as soon as possible.
But, to get you started, bowling establishments provide balls and shoes for your use. Here
are some ideas to help you use HOUSE EQUIPMENT more effectively until you can purchase
your own equipment.
CHOOSING A HOUSE BALL
House balls come in weights which generally run from nine pounds to sixteen pounds. The
HOLE DIAMETERS diameters increase with increasing total ball weight. The SPANS (the
distance from the edge of the thumbhole to the edges of either fingerhole) are about the
same for both middle and ring fingers.
Since the distance from your thumb to your middle finger is usually shorter than that from
the thumb to the ring finger, a house ball will not fit both spans. Therefore, you should
try to get one with the correct span for the middle finger. How do you FIT yourself?
Correct Thumbhole Size: Put your thumb in the thumbhole. The inner walls of the thumbhole
should touch both sides of your thumb, but you should be able to turn your thumb freely in
Correct Middle Fingerhole Span: Next, leaving your thumb all the way in the thumbhole,
spread your middle finger across the middle fingerhole; do not insert your fingers. The
crease of your second finger joint (the one closest to the palm) should lie approximately
1/4" past the near edge (nearest the thumb) of the middle fingerhole. You will have
to disregard the span for the ring finger.
Correct Fingerhole Sizes: Insert your middle and ring fingers into their holes. The holes
should be large enough to allow your fingers to be inserted freely up to the second
Correct Total Weight: Using both hands, one on top of the other, face up, hold your ball
out in front of you -- a HOLDOUT TEST. Keep your elbows locked and your arms parallel with
the floor. If you can hold your ball in this way for five seconds without shaking, it is
light enough for you to control. If you cannot, it is too heavy and you should select
Rolling the Ball: If you roll a lightweight ball slowly, it may hook unpredictably. This
is because there is a heavy spot or "weight block" in balls to compensate for
the removal of ball material by drilling the holes. Often, a substantial amount of this
weight block is left in the drilled ball. The best solution is to use another ball, but
rolling the end-over-end so the ball will track near the label may curtail some of the
House shoes are made with UNIVERSAL SOLES so left-handed and right-handed bowlers can use
the same pairs. Since both soles are made of leather, this type of shoe does not allow
development of good traction of your back foot during your slide. If you buy shoes, make
sure that your sliding sole is made of leather and your swingside sole is made of rubber.
Make sure that they are not too short. This will be obvious when you rent the shoes at the
control counter. But also make sure that they are not too long! Shoes that are too big
allow your foot to slip around inside, making good balance more difficult.
For better balance, make sure your house shoes are clean on the bottoms. Take some
Scotch-Brite and "rough up" the swingside sole and heel so you can get better
traction. Take very fine sandpaper and clean the sliding sole and heel. Remove the black,
shiny deposits, because these contain grit and make you stick. For safety's sake, get into
the habit of checking the bottoms before each time you get up to bowl.