House Balls and House Shoes

I’d like to give some tips to those of you who’ll continue to use bowling balls and rental shoes provided by the center that you patronize. Whatever your reasons are, no explanations are needed because I realize “that’s just the way it is.”

First, let’s talk about the shoes:

1) Remember that many people will have used the rental shoes. Check both soles for cleanliness when you get them. This is to make sure that they are not wet or have any gummy substances on them.

2) Immediately put them on and take a few steps in order that they feel as comfortable to you as your regular shoes do. Depending on their age and frequency of use, they may have stretched out and seem loose even though they’re the same numbered size as you normally wear.

3) On the lane approach area, make sure that you are able to slide nicely and that the shoe opposite the sliding shoe does not slip when you take your steps. Your sliding foot is self-explanatory since you don’t want to fall on the lane or approach because you stuck when delivering your ball. Your opposite foot should not be slippery – for traction as you go through your delivery form, and leverage as you release the bowling ball onto the lane.

Next, let’s take a look at the house ball:

1) Your “proper” ball weight – bowling balls weigh from 6 pounds to a maximum of 16 pounds. The general rule of thumb is to use a ball that is 10% of your body weight and adjust from there depending on physical or personal factors. As an example, anyone 160 and over should start with the 16 pound ball then work down from there; if you’re 125 pounds, start with a 13-lbs ball and go up or down from there. You should not be straining to hold the ball with one hand; neither should you be able to toss the ball down the lane because you think it feels like a ping-pong ball.

2) For a good fit (the greater majority of bowling center-provided balls are what is called “conventional grip”), put your thumb all the way in the thumbhole until the joint at the palm of your hand hits the edge of the hole. Lay your middle and ring finger over the finger-holes and the first joints should be in line with the hole edge that is closest to you. When you place your fingers and thumb in the ball, your palm will rest snugly on the surface of the ball – you should be able to comfortably hold a wooden pencil between your palm and surface of the ball.

3) The vast majority of house balls are hard plastic and will not hook strongly so you should throw the ball at a more direct angle to the strike pocket. I suggest that right-handers stand with their right shoulder lined up with the right gutter (right channel) and aim at the 3rd arrow.

4) For your spares, develop a very simplistic sparing system such as I recommended in my article, Simple Bowling Lessons .

If you go to the same bowling center regularly, make a note of distinctive characteristics on the shoes and the ball so that each time you do go back, you can readily identify the same ones you used before.

For the shoes, you may have to rely on what you learned from watching such TV shows as, “CSI” or “Forensic Files,” and note down the “black, crescent-shaped mark on the back of the heel of the right shoe,” or “it is the only pair of shoes in that size that has yellowish numbers,” and so forth.

For the bowling balls, the weight is usually stamped on the ball along with a serial number; but, if not, then turn to forensics again because there are usually plenty of gashes and scrapes on them that will help you identify it again.

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