Archive for Equipment


Proper Orientation of Bowling Tape

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Proper orientation of thumb tape can be the difference between a clean exit of the thumb hole and one that drags.  One common mistake I see is putting bowling tape in upside down.

The Wrong Way

This mistake stems from the fact that the thumb tip is shaped like the end of the tape and the assumption is that the tape is to be positioned like the shape of the thumb.  The real reason the tape is rounded at the top so you don’t feel or peel up the corners as your thumb is inserted or exiting the hole.

The Correct Way

When done correctly the round part of the tape should end up near the top of the hole.  I suggest placing the first piece just below (1/8″-1/4″) the beveled part of the thumbhole.

The Finished Product

As you can see from the pictures I personally use white textured tape in the front, but I also use 2 black pieces offset in the back.  Feel free to experiment with your tape textures and placement until you get a feel that is comfortable for you, but white in the front should be a good starting point for most people.

I am yet to meet a bowler that wouldn’t benefit by using bowling tape.  If tape doesn’t fit in your thumb hole (becomes too tight), get it opened up a bit so you can at least get a couple pieces in there.  You don’t want to be surprised the first time your thumb swells as it will inevitably happen during competition and you’ll have no easy options in place to fix it.  How delightful it will be when you can just remove a piece of tape and continue knocking down the pins effortlessly.

If you don’t have any tape you can grab some at your local pro shop or online here.

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A towel is an essential piece in everyones bowling bag. Utilizing a towel does more than just get the oil off of your ball; it dries your hand of any moisture and can help with your mental game too. Now you might ask, why do I need to get the oil off the ball? The answer to that question is quite simple. To bowl well you want to limit the number of variables, and oil on your ball poses yet another variable. It can stop your ball from grabbing the lane and skid inconsistently as the oil tends to soak up in your bowling ball. Wiping between shots will extend the life of your ball too, as the oil build up inside the ball will be much less than if you were to leave the oil on your ball between shots and allow it to soak up. You can actually soak up so much oil that it altars the weight of the bowling ball. A few ounces of oil can make a huge difference if you’re already struggling with the weight of your ball. Your pro shop has some fancy solutions for getting the oil out of the ball, but why make more costly trips to your pro shop when you don’t have to.

And heck if you get bored you could always try this with your towel…

Technique. Now you may think it’s funny to talk about how to use a towel but frankly I see many people do it improperly. First off you don’t want your hand to touch any part of the towel that is going to touch the ball. The ball contains all kinds of dirt and oil that it picks up from the lane and ball return and you don’t want that adding an unwanted variable into your bowling equation by getting all over your hand. So when you fold up your towel be conscious of what side you would like to use to wipe your ball and which side will rest upon your hand. This will prevent any foreign substance from getting on your hand.

You want your towel in some form of 4 sided object(multiple folds makes sure no oil penetrates through the towel to your hand). Rest the towel on your palm and the ball on top of the towel. Be sure to hold the towel with your bowling hand as your other hand will provide the spinning motion upon the ball. Spin the ball somewhat rigorously, but don’t strain yourself as you still have to bowl your shot. Using your non bowling hand to spin the ball is optimal because if that hand gets dirty it is not as critical. It helps to be conscious of the oil on the ball so that you can avoid touching it with that hand until the majority of it has been soaked up by the towel. Do this by making a couple slower spins of the ball on the towel. Even though your non bowling hand should remain fairly clean you may want to be conscious of it so you don’t touch your hands together. Be sure to wipe your ball before every shot(not every frame), and yes this includes a second wiping if you need to shoot a spare.

Mental Game. Utilizing a towel to relax before a shot truly has helped out my game immensely. It gets me into my routine and prepares me for my shot. I dry my ball before every shot and it really prepares my mind for the shot I’m about to take. It’s basically providing a mental pattern to follow, I wipe my ball off, I line up, I make my delivery. This really is critical during pressure situations as it provides a relaxing mechanism as it tells yourself that you are about to do something that you’ve done before. (For more detail on using a towel during the pre-shot routine check out the Mike Aulby Pre Shot Routine Article.)

Behold the Power of Micro-Fiber

Behold the Power of Micro-Fiber

Micro-fiber. So many people are still saying a towel is a towel, but thank goodness some others are starting to finally come around. Micro-fiber trumps the standard bowling towel in so many ways. Here’s a technology that is being utilized to dry off cars, soak up oil in the automotive world, but even with that, people are still using a regular cotton towel to push the oil all around the ball and do everything but absorb it. Micro-fiber is the bounty of bowling towels and it is a misnomer why people still continue utilizing regular towels. The technology exists, use it, and you’ll have an edge on those still using those pesky hand towels that just move the oil around rather than actually absorbing it. You can find micro-fiber towels in any store that has an automotive department and/ or car wash supplies. Some of the bulk stores like Costco carry a 20 pack that can be had for less than $1 a towel. Go pick one up today! (some smart pro shops will carry these towels so you can check there as well).

This article was originally published on the Stevens Institute of Technology Bowling Team Website.

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Bowling Ball Storage

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The following bowling tip is often overlooked as it is so simple, yet time and time again I don’t think people realize just how much of an impact it can have.

Keeping your bowling balls in the trunk of your car might seem convenient, but it can have an adverse impact on your game if the weather isn’t on your side. The same holds true for garages or other areas that might be subjected to extreme heat or frigid temperatures.

Sometimes it's hard to keep your equipment at room temperature

Is your equipment too hot to handle?

The first problem this can create has to do with your hand and the feel of the ball.  If the ball is hot or cold your hand might swell or shrink and turn what was supposed to be a fun night at the lanes into a frustrating one.

Bowling balls subjected to heat will tend to soften the material in the ball, while a colder ball will tend to be harder.  A hotter ball will tend to roll earlier and have more overall hook, while a colder ball will tend to skid and slide more down the lane.  The major problem is that as the ball progresses back to room temperature the reaction of the ball is constantly changing, and that is a variable you do not want to have to deal with.  Think about it like a tire. Auto racers know that in the summer the tire is soft and has better gripping characteristics, while in the winter the tire is cold and can have a more difficult time getting traction to the ground if it hasn’t been warmed up properly.

Here are a few tips to keep your bowling balls safe:

Get a bowling ball locker. Most bowling centers have lockers to keep your bowling equipment in.  Though there is a cost associated with this, if you save yourself from cracking just one bowling ball it will certainly pay for itself.

Park in the shade. If you have no choice and are going to be leaving your bowling balls in the trunk, do your best to find a parking spot in the shade.

Get to league early. Bowling balls that are hot tend to soften the surface, while balls that are cold tend to harden.  If your ball is going to be subjected to some temperature highs and lows it’s important to arrive at the center early to allow the ball to get as close to room temperature as possible before you start.

Bring your balls inside. I know it can be a bit of a spectacle, especially if you are going to work. If you go directly from work to bowling and you know you can’t get there early, take the time to take the balls out of your car and bring them inside.


Hopefully this tip saves you from the expense of cracked bowling balls, as well as the performace deterring hot/cold balls.  If you have any other ways you keep your equipment from being subjected to the weather please post a comment below.

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