Random bowling advice needed

I scanned a few bowling message boards but they are either a lot more advanced than I need or pretty much inactive.

My questions are:

#1 – Almost right away from the first throw I pull something in my middle finger and it’s sore for the rest of my games and is not only very distracting, but I suspect I lose useful strength in that finger I need to throw. Is there something I can buy to support just this finger? Am I just doing something really stupid when I throw? Are there finger exercises I should be doing the rest of the week? (I bowl 4 or 5 games once weekly.)

#2 – I found a great bowling ball for $2 at the thrift store & I think it’s the perfect weight but the thumb-hole is too small. I know they can enlarge it at the pro shop but I don’t really want to spend any more money than I have to…can I use a Dremel or something to make it a little bigger? I reckon it only has to be smooth on the side where I grip it, so no big whoop if it’s a little jaggedy. I just want to make sure the whole ball won’t split or something. (But now that I think about it…$2? Who cares anyway.)

#3 – Why does the Spongebob Squarepants Vis-A-Ball only come in 10# and 12# weights? I need 11#! :wink:

I know the answers to #2 and #3 are both “You’re a loser” but the first one is a legitimate question I ask with sincerity.

I’ll try to help…keep in mind that this isn’t exactly sound advice as far as encouraging successful bowling, but in encouraging a good time.

#1 – Are you using a house ball or some second-hand ball? I’m suspecting that either the middle finger hole is off, or perhaps you’re releasing the ball too late. Make sure you release the ball right when it’s just after the bottom of your swing.

#2 – Sure, you can do that. It oughtn’t crack. Make sure it’s smooth all around, however – it is a big whoop if it’s jaggedy in the least. Your thumb will be coming out of that hole at least 100 times (at a very high speed) every time you go bowling.

It’s really better to get the ball plugged and redrilled – if you have any plans of being successful, I’d suggest getting a new ball drilled to your hand (many factors come into play; ball drilling is a science) and a few pointers IRL from someone who’s been there and done that.

#3 – I think they stick to even weights to keep in line with the budget; in other words, having weight blocks for 6, 8, 10, and 12 pound balls is cheaper than keeping weight blocks in stock that weigh 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 pound, especially for such a rare ball. I’m sure they could custom-make an 11, but it would naturally be a bit more expensive.

Again, my pointers are to be taken with a grain of salt. The best thing to do to avoid injury and be successful is to get a ball that’s drilled to your hand and throw (straight, curve, hook?) and some pointers IRL. However, I know how it is to just want to screw around safely and have fun, while saving money at the same time. :slight_smile:

I’ve noticed it with several different balls (perhaps it’s my hand that’s built wrong? haha.) I suspect I am releasing the ball too late though. I find that if I want to have enough power behind the throw to get a strike I have to sorta “heave” it at the end so it sorta thuds onto the lane instead of rolling smoothly from my hand. (Whenever I release it at the bottom of my swing it just sorta peters off to the gutter.)

It’s really better to get the ball plugged and redrilled – if you have any plans of being successful, I’d suggest getting a new ball drilled to your hand (many factors come into play; ball drilling is a science) and a few pointers IRL from someone who’s been there and done that.

Again, my pointers are to be taken with a grain of salt. The best thing to do to avoid injury and be successful is to get a ball that’s drilled to your hand and throw (straight, curve, hook?) and some pointers IRL. However, I know how it is to just want to screw around safely and have fun, while saving money at the same time. :slight_smile: **

Thanks for the tips…and you’re right about just screwing around and saving money, but being smart and safe too. I eventually want to buy a new ball and get it drilled to my hand, but I want to be good enough first to know what weight I actually need and what SORT of ball I want before making the investment, etc.

Two things.

Don’t aim at the pins. Use the dots and the little arrows on the lane to aim. (don’t know if that is the kind of advice you need)

My own question is that I’ve always wanted a ball that is painted to look like the Death Star. Why don’t they sell those?

(now if they exisit a link will be posted to this thread in ,<24 hours)

You shouldn’t have to heave the ball. A proper backswing will give you all the power you need to topple the pins. Note that I said ‘topple’ – not ‘make the pins fly so that they threaten to break through the leather curtain and send the helpful mechanic to his reward’. :smiley: It’s only ten degrees off kilter before a standard tenpin will fall, and it’s a good thing to take advantage of this fact.

Also, it’s very important to follow through – I cannot stress this enough. This is most likely the reason why your balls end up in the gutter. Bowlers in the service (so I’ve heard) were taught to follow-through by imitating the salute. Sounds like good advice to me.

Make sure you don’t make any bad habits by using the wrong equipment until you get stuff that fits you. You might have to relearn a couple things upon getting new stuff. Oh, and buy the ball at the pro shop whenever possible – They don’t charge to drill one of their own balls, and do they ever when you bring a ball in – I think it’s around $20 for a plastic ball and $30 for a urethane/reactive-resin/hi-tech-BS ball.

I’m trying my best to not be technical, but that’s the nature of the game – bowling is quite the scientific sport.

I don’t have any first hand knowledge of #2 or #3, but for #1, the hole is too tight. I know, you normally don’t hear anybody actually saying that, but sometimes tight isn’t good. I am still nursing a middle finger from bowling about 3 months ago. The house ball felt good at first, but in my second game, the ball stuck and “popped” away from that finger. It still is swollen and hurts like hell, and I think is ever so slowly worsening. I just can’t bring myself to wear a splint on my “bird finger”, although it could come in handy at work and on the freeway at times.

I bowled a lot with a custom drilled ball and never had a problem. I’d have to say that your own ball is worth it if you bowl regularly. If you don’t, get a ball with holes slightly bigger than what you think is perfect.

I thought I was the only person who has ever had a long term injury from bowling

I joined a bowling league, regretfully non-gay and probably not nearly as fun as the one’s that crop up here ( as it starts in Sept.), but in my Quest For The Perfect Ball, I’ ve discovered several facts:

  1. There are people out there that take bowling way to seriously.

  2. Everyone tells me I need at least a 10# ball when I clearly want a kiddie ball at 8 or 9#'s. ( I have tendonitis and don’t feel like aggrevating it he-manning it down the lane. I have nothing to prove.)

  3. I want one of those Sponge Bob balls.

  4. Apparently I need to take up smoking in order to fit in in this sport. Mullets optional.

If they don’t exist, I’m sure that if the price is right a ball manufacturer would make it.

When you’re running up to your mark, keep your eyes on the spot where you want the ball to go. Try running up without the ball a few times, just so you can get an idea of where you need to start from and how many steps you need to take, and so you can get a sense of rhythm. And always keep your left arm high.

Oh wait, that last one’s for bowling in cricket. Well, I’ve been a tenpin bowler too.

And I can try to answer #1. My mom had a similar problem when she used to bowl. There are some leather support contraptions, which look somewhat akin to gloves, that you can wear to help with that. Ask your pro shop–I have no idea how much it might cost.

Regarding question #1- I had pain in one finger with two of my bowling balls ( bought about 1 year apart) In both cases, the ball turned out to be drilled incorrectly, and once Ii had it redrilled, the pain was gone. I want to point out that the ball being drilled properly for your hand has to do with more than the size of the holes- my fingers fit just fine in the holes. It was the pitch that was off.

When I bowled (for about 20 years but I had to quit due to carpal tunnel and lane politics a few years back)

If you are an adult, since your hands aren’t growing at mach 5, to bowl most consistently and get the best results you really should have your own equipment and have it drilled to your exact size/span.

#1 - you are bowling with an improperly fit ball. Seems that finger hole is too tight. You may also want to think about a different style of grip. (I was quite happy switching from a full finger grip to a finger tip grip and I wouldn’t trade my 16 pound ball for all the sponge bob balls on the planet)

#2 - you could use the dremel and you could get a jagged hole and you could slice the hell out of your hand when you go to bowl with the ball. The forces exerted when you actually throw the ball are vastly different than the forces exerted when you test the holes by just putting your hand in and out. Or you could use the dremel and have the ball just crack in half on you.

#3 - I’m guessing they only make sponge bob in those sizes because their target demographic is kids?

Thanks for all the advice! I think I’m going to bite the bullet and actually get my own ball. My only concern is that I’m getting the right weight or not. When I use the house balls I know that 10# is too light, but most of the time 12# is too heavy. There are a few 12# balls I’ve been able to use but I have the best luck with one specific ball that doesn’t state its weight and I sorta assume is in the neighborhood of 11#.

Some things about ball weight.

If you have a properly drilled ball for your hand you have a better distribution of weight across the hand and you don’t have to grip as hard to hold the ball and the ball feels more comfortable and not as heavy.

You don’t want a ball that is too light as you will have less control over your swing. You don’t want one too heavy as it will hurt your hand/arm/shoulder. (I swear when I bowl candlepin the first 30 balls are all lobs because I’m just not accustomed to dealing with something so light!)

Get your ball drilled by someone with a clue. Ask some of the people who you know have their own equipment where they went and how happy they are with their stuff.

Couple things from someone who took Bowling and Intermediate Bowling in college just to avoid taking real classes :wink:

-The general rule of thumb that bowling handbooks suggest is that ball weight should be 1/10 of your weight, and if you’re female, one size down from that. I happen to be a 150-pound male and can’t throw a 15 to save my life (nor have I ever seen a house 15 with holes small enough for my long skinny fingers)
-if you’re heaving, its because your release point is off. Your release is probably off because you aren’t bending your knees. Try this- take a ball, hold it normally, hand slightly underneath like you’re about to bowl it. Ensure your arm is pointing straight down. Now, with your left foot in front (switch if you’re a southpaw) bend your knees until the ball touches the ground. Your knees should be at this angle when you release the ball… possibly an inch or two higher to make sure you don’t bounce it before your release. The ball should fall as little as possible after you release it.
-You’ll need the hole to be smooth all the way around or every release thats even slightly off will be removing chunks of finger.
-Spongebob makes for bad bowling karma
-The ball will almost certainly start chipping if you try drilling it yourself… I can almost guarantee you won’t find a drill bit with a fine enough thread at most hardware stores.

Hey I was on our college bowling team :slight_smile: And I didn’t get to skip any classes. Must not have been living right.

I’m a gal and I’ve had a 16 pound ball since before college. I wouldn’t trade it for anything… then again my job before kids did include stocking shelves and breaking down trailers.

Wow, I didn’t expect there were so many bowlers here. Lots of good advice.

I was going to use some of the sanding wheels on the Dremel, not the drill bit. Then I was going to cover any jaggedy-ness with one of those insert thingies I see on some balls…would that work? I’m probably still going to try it, just out of lame curiosity…but I will end up getting my own new ball pretty soon. The thing about the correct hole configuration making the ball seem less heavy actually makes a whole lot of sense.

My husband used to run the proshop at the bowling alley in Fremont, and I asked him. He said to tell you, if you really enjoy the game, get the ball drilled specifically for you. It sounds like the holes are too narrow, and it’s catching on your finger.

NO DO NOT USE A DREMMEL!! You could end up injuring yourself, plus, if you make the holes too big, you could very much throw off your throw. No pun intended.

He also agrees with Dutchboy208, there is no drillbit that is fine enough- people who do this for you use a diamond carbide drill, and the ball is vised down so that it doesn’t slip.

Follow up… email me, I’d be happy to have him answer any of your questions. You’re pretty close geographically, I’d imagine you’re playing…where? Holiday? How funny. I met Mr. Maureen there.

Yes exactly! What a hoot. Do you guys still bowl? I’ve never actually been in the proshop there because it looks like, I don’t know, somebody’s garage sale or something. (Good french fries in the diner, though!) I AM going to be in Reno next week…so I suspect the home of the national bowling championships is as good a place as any to find someone who knows how to drill a ball, eh? Any recommendations?

The more you guys tell me not to drill the ball the more it makes me want to do it, heh heh.

No, we don’t. He hurt his back at work, and hasn’t been able to since.

He says use the proshop there in Reno, it’s very good. If you don’t see anything you like, the Hilton has a good one as well. But definitely get one that is drilled for you. And an 11lb ball is too light for you. It should be based on your own weight (not trying to be obnoxious there), and your age.