Let’s continue our discussion of a better hallway game and dig a little deeper into the topic of knowing your own game and gear. There is an article in Bowling This Month written by Jordan Vanover that discusses the influence of the core and covers and their relation to the reaction of the ball. Let’s sum it up.
Most bowling experts claim that overstock is responsible for 60-80% of the reaction of the balls. Whether it’s 60 percent or 80 percent, we have to agree that the coating is the most important issue when it comes to ball reaction. To back this up, in 2008 USBC ran some tests and determined that the top five reasons for ball movement were related to the coating.
The most general analogy for bowling balls might be to compare them to an automobile. The coating corresponds to the tires, the portion that comes into contact with the road (or in our case the tracks). We know that not all tires are the same. Depending on the condition, some tires hold the road better than others, while others slip and slip. The same can be said of coverstocks.
The same analogy can be used to discuss the kernel. We can think of the core as a car engine. Some are big and powerful like the high performance motors in racing cars, while others are more like a 4 cylinder engine than you find in economy cars. Just like automotive engines, we don’t expect a smaller engine to achieve the same results as a high performance engine.
Let’s continue with our analogy. When we talk about hearts, we need to be aware of four important issues:
(1) The RG value (how long the core starts to spin).
(2) The differential value (what is the motor size; overall hook / rocket potential)
(3) The intermediate differential (it would be like a super or a turbocharger)
(4) What happens to everything after the modifications (what happens to the RG, differential and intermediate differential after drilling).
When you get a bullet pierced, your pro-shop operator will help you make the right choice to deal with the above issues.
The next problem to work on is matching the core to the blanket and vice versa, and we’ll stick to our bowling ball versus automobile analogy.
Imagine you are stuck on snow and ice and have tires with very little thread. What’s going to happen? You’re going to be spinning your tires for a while and hoping to get some traction. Now let’s think of the situation as a bowling alley and your gear. The same scenario will happen.
If you use a polyester or shine ball in an extremely oiled condition, the ball will slip and slide. No matter how strong your core is, there is simply too much oil to settle for and your bullet will not respond to the condition.
Now let’s take a car with new tires. If you hit the gas you might spin your wheels a bit, but you’ll get the traction you need to get moving. It is the same with bowling balls. The more traction it can have in oily conditions, the better it will perform.
But that’s still not the answer we need. If we put a big core in a polyester ball, it will still work as a spare polyester ball and go relatively straight. On the other side of the equation, if you take a weak core and put it in a solid liner, the ball will grip, but not as much as if you matched it with a solid core.
What we are saying is no matter how strong the core is, if it is not matched with the right coating, you will not get the effect you want. This is what happened from the 1950s to the 1970s because the cores did not match the conditions of the track. Cores didn’t start moving the ball until the 1990s, but bowlers still hooked the ball before the arrival of dynamic cores.
More information on this topic in our next article.
GABE D’ANGELO is a member of the Mercer County Bowling Hall of Fame and the Professional Bowlers Writers Association who writes this weekly column for The Herald. He can be contacted at [email protected]