Impact of Bowling Ball Surface Adjustments

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Probably the easiest adjustment that a bowler can make to their ball is changing the bowling ball surface. Coaches Kim Terrell-Kearney and Ken Yokobosky discuss how the surface of a bowling ball accounts for the majority of that ball’s reaction. Don’t waste time and money plugging and re-drilling your bowling balls. Watch this video to learn how this quick and easy fix may be just what you need to get your ball to react differently on the lane.

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13 Responses to “Impact of Bowling Ball Surface Adjustments”
    • Customer Service Techs

      Hi, Joe. Thank you for your question. The pads used early on in the video are 500 grit and 1000 grit surface. Then later on 4000 and 2000 are used as well as 1000.

      Reply
  1. Mary Ann

    Where can one purchase the pads used in this video? I think this would be a tremendous help to my own children and my more advanced youth bowlers.

    Reply
    • Customer Service Techs

      Hi, Mary Ann! These can be purchased at most pro shops. Check with the pro shop at your local bowling center to find the right one for you and your youth bowlers. If you do not have a pro shop at your local center, visit the Find a Center app at http://www.bowl.com/find-center/ to find a center in your area with a pro shop.

      Reply
  2. Melissa

    When is it legal to change the surface of your ball during league play/tournaments? Can you change it between games / sets? I don’t think you are allowed to change the surface during a game – other than to wipe it down. Great video!

    Reply
    • Customer Service Techs

      Hi, Melissa! According to Rule 18, a the surface of a ball cannot be altered during league or tournament play. In league play, once the first ball is thrown in the league no bowler can alter the surface of the bowling ball. This also applies to tournament play. In tournament play where there are different blocks of competition, bowlers may adjust the surface of the bowling ball, unless the tournament rules or policy prohibit this.

      a. Cleaning – Cleaners approved for use any time may be utilized before, during or after certified competition; cleaners approved for only before and after competition may only be used during these times. The use of a ball spinner is prohibited during competition.

      b. Sanding – You are permitted to sand the surface of your bowling balls prior to certified competition; however, the use of abrasives is strictly prohibited once the first ball is thrown in the competition.

      c. Polishing – You are permitted to polish the surface of your bowling ball prior to certified competition. However, once tournament or league play begins, the use of a ball spinner is strictly prohibited.

      Rule 18 – Bowling Ball – Altering Surface
      Altering the surface of a bowling ball by the use of abrasives while bowling in USBC competition is prohibited.

      All bowling balls so altered must be removed from the competition. (See the USBC Equipment Specifications Manual on BOWL.com.)

      NOTE: If it is shown the bowler had prior knowledge his/her actions were in violation of Rule 18, the game(s) in which the violation occurred is (are) subject to forfeiture. In addition, the bowler is subject to dismissal from the league and suspension of membership.

      Competition is defined as the remainder of the current game and remaining game(s) in the series being bowled.

      The use of approved cleaning agents listed in the Approved Anytime section of the Approved Cleaners and Polishes list is permissible.

      Reply
      • YUMA

        I think this rule should always be mentioned any time you discuss changing surface on a ball.

        Reply
      • Tim

        In league play who really police’s that? no one, Tournament unless she is talking about after they finish there game and before they throw a ball in the second game, maybe alter it then

        Reply
  3. Michael

    Great video super useful information I am ordering Pads today. Thanks again USBC

    Reply
  4. Frank

    Does the grit of an abralon pad stay the same after multiple uses, but require more sanding time to achieve the same result. Or, after multiple uses.does the grit change, i.e., does a 1000 grit pad become 1500 or higher with more use? If so how much does the grit change and how fast?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi,

      The grit of an Abralon pad changes over the course of its use. How much and how fast it changes are dependent on the pressures used and if it’s used with water when it’s adjusting the surface of a ball. Harder pressure wears down the pad faster, lighter pressure wears it down slower. Using water keeps the pad cleaner and unclogs the weave on the surface so the pad “lasts” longer. Removing the material that’s sanded off the ball can keep the pores of the Abralon pad from clogging and make the pad perform longer.

      As for time and how much, there are not accurate studies we know of suggesting a pads longevity and as you can see it can vary from application to application.

      Thanks for continuing with the bowling Academy.

      Reply
  5. Tim

    So let me ask you this, if I started with a 500, then i went up to a 1000, 2000 so forth will I see a different reaction from the ball, what if I started with a 2000 could I use a 500 afterwards and again will I get a different reaction or going from a 2000 to a 500 not so much? if I have confused you i am sorry

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi,

      Adjusting the surface up in scale, as mentioned, tends to lengthen the skid phase and shorten the hook phase (front-to-back) of ball motion. Moving from a 2000 to a 500 would be a significant increase in early hook, you would see the ball start its hook phase sooner. You would see a bigger difference going from 2000 to 500 than if you were to go up 500, 1000, 2000, etc.

      Ball surface adjustments are reversible so a great test to see what will happen would be to take the sanding pads to the lanes and practice changing the surface to see what it will do to ball motion.

      Thanks for the questions and for continuing with the Bowling Academy.

      Reply

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