Getting Started with the Right Equipment

One of the hardest things for a newer bowler to do in bowling is to get started the proper way. Most of the players have very little knowledge as to what weight bowling ball to use, type of shoes, bag, and so forth. Here are the common questions that are asked by many players that are just getting started. But before I get started with helping with those questions, one piece of advice is that one of the best things that you can do is to start with a ball, bag, and shoe package. It covers all the bases of what you will need to get started and BowlersMart has some great starter packages that also have “upgrade options” to fit your bowling needs.

What weight bowling ball should I use?

The first thing that you will want to know is that the heavier the bowling ball that you can use, the more you increase your chances to knock down more pins. When you combine the weight of a full set of ten pins, the total weight of one “rack” of pins is about 36 pounds, and there are a couple of ways that you can go about finding which weight bowling ball is best for you.

• When you go to the bowling alley put a few different weights on the rack to try out. As an example, grab a 13, 14, and 15 pound bowling ball to work with. Try one shot with the lightest weight bowling ball and then move immediately on to the next heaviest weight on the next shot.
• Do not make the mistake of throwing the same weight bowling ball one shot after another
• As you continue to juggle throwing the different weight bowling balls, you will find one that feels the best for you, and again remember, you are trying to knock down 36 pounds of pins on the first shot so the heavier the bowling ball, the better your percentages are to knock down more pins.
• Another way is to go to the BowlersMart pro shop and ask to swing a few different weight bowling balls back and forth while holding onto the handle of the box that the bowling ball is in. This can be just as effective as throwing the bowling ball down the lanes but you also have the added advantage of having your Pro Shop Technician with you to help you make your final decision on which weight you should be using.(put photo handle here)

Once you have decided on which weight bowling ball you want to use, the next thing is to know what type of “grip” you want drilled into the bowling ball.

What type of grip to use?

Many bowlers that are just starting out are somewhat surprised when they are asked what type of grip they would like to be drilled into the bowling ball. I mean after all, for most of us we have been around the game for a long time and think nothing of having that question asked.

So for those of you that are just starting out let’s go over the different types of grips that are used:
• The most common grip for the more serious bowler is the fingertip grip, where only the tips of the fingers are inserted into the finger holes, up to the very first crease of the hand and the thumb is inserted into the bowling ball (finger tip photo). However, it’s not the grip that I would personally recommend if you are just starting out in the bowling world.
• The second most common grip that would be recommended is the conventional grip where the fingers are inserted into the finger holes up to the second crease of the finger and the thumb is inserted into the bowling ball. This is highly recommended in my opinion if you are just starting out in the bowling world.
• The third grip is which becoming more popular all the time is the no thumb grip whereas there is no thumbhole drilled into the ball which causes the player to “palm the ball” with the rest of their hand. If you choose to use this type of grip it is very highly recommended that you use finger inserts in the finger holes(finger insert photo) as it makes it a lot easier to keep a grip on the ball without having the ball slide off of the tips of the fingers. This type of grip is much like the aforementioned finger tip grip whereas only the tips of the fingers are inserted into the finger holes. As a side note, if you are going to use this type of grip to start off with, you may want to also start off with a slightly lighter bowling ball. My recommendation is one pound lighter.

Next is the bowling bag

The bowling bag is also something that you will need to start off with and are offered in just about every starter kit for bowling. But from experience, I can tell you that most bowlers will end up with a roller bag which is a bowling ball bag on wheels, so you might as well start off with that as an upgrade option right out the gate. Having a roller bag is not only a lot more convenient, but it’s also more economical since you won’t have to turn around and purchase another bag at full price later on down the road.

Finally it’s onto the shoes

There’s one piece of advice that I give to all bowlers that are just starting out. When you build a house the first thing you build is the foundation that the rest of the house is built on and in bowling, that foundation happens to be your feet!

Whatever you do start with a comfortable pair of shoes because in bowling, the feet take a pounding from walking on the approach and swinging a weight on only one side of the body.

Although there are a lot of different styles of shoes, the best ones to start out with are what are known as “universal” shoes, which really just means that they can be used for both right and left handed bowlers. Even if you have to spend a few extra dollars on an upgrade in a bowling package, make sure they are comfortable because you are going to need it.

Bill Hall
Bill Hall is a USBC certified coach
, an award winning writer for bowling magazines Bowlers Journal and Bowling This Month.
 Bill is also the designer of the Rejuvenator machine that extracts oil from the modern bowling ball surfaces.
Bill Hall
Bill Hall

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