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George Freeman's Expert Bowling Tips

-Maintaining Your Equipment
06/05/2001 - By George Freeman
      During the course of an entire league season, variables in your equipment can and will change.  Some of the changes will make your time easier, some will make it tougher. Bowling equipment is like anything else, wear and tear is simply a fact.  Here are some tips to maintaining your equipment.  Some of these things I have discussed in previous tips, but they bear repeating.

1. Have a wire brush in your bag of tricks.  The soles of bowling shoes are a magnet for all kinds of substances that do not belong there.  Having something handy that can clean the surface of your soles will ensure you a proper footing for when you go out onto the lanes.

2. Fitting in your ball.  Numerous things affect how well you fit into your bowling ball. Weather, what you had to eat that day, the time of day, etc.  Some people naturally have swelling in their hands first thing in the morning, and it is hard to be able to fit into their thumbholes.  If you eat salty foods before you go out to bowl, the salt can cause water retention and cause swelling in the hands as well.  A good trick when your hands are slightly puffy for any reason is to grab a regular paper napkin, place it over your thumbhole, and work your thumb into your thumbhole, this will cause the excess swelling to leave your hand, and will let you fit into the ball much better.  On the other hand, things like cold weather can cause hands to shrink, in which case it is imperative to have tape handy to fit into your holes.  White tape is generally a bit thicker and more textured than black tape, so it is a matter of personal preference as to which one you use for your ball.  It is also a good idea to have some kind of cleaning solution (ABC approved of course), such as rubbing alcohol to clean out the gunkiness that can occur when taking out tape from your thumbhole.

3. Finger inserts.  This is probably one of the most neglected parts of bowlers equipment (at least the ones who use them).  Finger inserts are not made to last forever, and the more they wear down the less lift and turn you will be able to apply to the bowling ball.  The frequency you replace your grips is dependent on how much you bowl with the bowling ball.  As a rule of thumb, if you start to see the lip of the insert going away, it is getting time to replace it.  Many times a bowler thinks his ball is losing its punch and will pay for a resurfacing when in fact his inserts are not letting him or her put the proper lift on the ball.

4. Resurfacing.  That being said, it IS important to make certain the surface of your ball is as clean as you can make it.  Oil and dirt attach themselves to the surface of your bowling ball, especially the tacky reactive resins that are currently on the market.  They love to grab oil.  If you have access to a spinner and the appropriate tools, you would want to do it at regular intervals in conjuncture with how often you bowl.  If you only bowl 3 games a week, you won't have to do it as often as one who bowls 20 games a week, etc.  Even if you have a personal spinner, it is a good idea to get advice from your qualified pro shop operator as to how to go about doing it.  Personally, I would recommend having it done at a pro shop, as that is part of what they do for a living, and therefore are extremely proficient at it.

      Hopefully this will give you a head start on managing your equipment. Having your equipment in good working order will help you in the long run.

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