Volume 1, Issue 8
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez
Last week I mentioned that it's a good idea to bowl year round, if only for practice and to have fun. Another ritual for the slow summer season is look over and take stock in my arsenal. It's easy to ignore the basics when you're looking at it day in, day out, but with time away from the game, you should be able to gain perspective.
Summer is time for me to catalog my equipment. So go ahead, lug your arsenal in. It's NOT supposed to be sitting in the car, and if you haven't moved it inside, now's the time. My bowling equipment doesn't like the heat of an un-air-conditioned car anymore than I do. I line up my stuff and make notes on what each one does and what it is supposed to do. These notes are mental, I'm not THAT Type A. Do you have two that are doing the same thing? My preference is to carry just one two-ball carrier, so I have a resin and a hard urethane. But for tourneys it's four, unless I fly. Then I really try to get back to two.
Next clean your equipment. I'll admit, I don't do this every single time I bowl like I should, so now's a good time to do right by my $200 investments. I've heard about people baking their resin to get the oil out of it, but not me. Just like I won't leave my babies in the car, I surely wouldn't stick one in the oven. I prefer the bath method, where you fill the tub with warm water and either a capful of dishwashing detergent or Simple Green. In a little bit the oil rises to the surface, and less oil in the coverstock means more tackiness to grip the lane.
Hmmmm, maybe it's time to get that new ball too. I've promised myself an oil ball to replace my Violet 3D now that I've dropped to 15 lbs. If you're missing something in your arsenal, or if you're just ready for a new ball, you've got two months to get through the "getting to know you" period and become allies.
One simple suggestion that can help a lot of folks here. When you're going through that closet, and you come upon some equipment that you haven't thrown in a gazillion years, and you know you won't throw for a gazillion more, consider donating it to a junior program or your pro shop with the stipulation that it goes to the kids. If your house thinks it sounds crazy, call another one. Just because it never did what you wanted it to do, doesn't mean it couldn't be great as a fitted ball for a teen. The gift of their own ball to a child can mean lead a new bowler to become a bowler for life.
Speaking of your pro shop, have you thought about playing with the pitch in a ball, or just trying a completely different drilling in a ball? Now would be the time to tinker and perfect that new release. I made the difficult adjustment of pitch change DURING a season, and it rocked my confidence for several weeks (as well as the "hail Mary" shots that launched and fell to the lane with a thud). Talk to your pro shop professional about drilling up something from your closet, and see if you like it before you go changing your favorites.
Once you're set with your aresenal, now is time to check your shoes. If they're really worn you'll have time to send them in for repair. If they just need a clean up, you can do that at home. I clean my Linds leather sole with a (very) little soapy, warm water, then use a towel to pat them dry as my as I can. The rubber sole cleans up great with any household cleaner. Let them dry for a day or two. You'll need to break them in before you bowl league, but that's simple. Just wear them around your house for a few hours to flatten the nap down. I'd suggest a cautious game of practice after that, to make sure you don't stick, or go flying.
And here's the one that everyone tends to balk at. Get lessons. If you're a 120 bowler or a 220 bowler, there's always room for improvement. Before I invest in any new equipment, I'm taking the time to go to someone and have him make my game stronger. It always takes a little while for things to percolate down through my hard head. What I learned this week takes a few weeks to show noticeable, consistent results.
Come September, I'll be chomping at the bit to get into the race. And with planning, my equipment can help me get there.