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Bowling balls and more bowling balls! With companies coming out with all these different types of bowling balls, why can looking at the coverstock most benefit you? What can you tell from a ball just by the coverstock? We can see that the ball is shiny or dull just by looking at it. Something else that will catch your eye is the color of the ball. How does this help you in selecting the right ball for you? I will try to break down the simple things to look for in a ball to help you build your bowling arsenal.
Companies will throw a lot of fancy words at you to talk about their new coverstock technology. For example, The Fortify Reactive, ERG, NRG, NBT, and I could go on and on from each company. Most of the time each company will also state Pearl, Hybrid, or Solid along with those fancy abbreviations. Those will be the simple indicators of what coverstock to look for. Now, what does Solid, Pearl, or Hybrid coverstock even mean?
I'll start with the Solid coverstock. This type of coverstock is designed to hook the earliest for you. It will respond the quickest when it hits any dry spot on the lane, so when you are bowling on a long or heavy volume pattern, a Solid coverstock will come into play in order to get a reaction out of the ball. Most of the time a Solid coverstock will be used on Fresh Patterns. They will help blend out tougher patterns and help create a consistent roll out of the ball. Now with all this being said, the finish of the bowling ball will also come into play on whether the ball is dull or shiny and I will hit on that a bit down the road.
Lets talk about the Pearl coverstock next. Most of these coverstocks not only have Pearl additive but also will have a polish or high gloss finished applied to it as well. Pearl is designed to go the longest before responding to the dry or backend of the pattern. The Pearl coverstock will be used on lower volume conditions or when the shot is starting to dry/breakdown on you. Pearl coverstocks are popular on house shots and burnt patterns. They hold well in oil and recover off the dry.
Then we have the Hybrid coverstock. This type of coverstock has both Pearl and Solid additives in the coverstock. This is the most versatile coverstock. They may be used on a wide variety of patterns and volumes. Most will consider the Hybrid coverstock as a benchmark starting point. If the Hybrid goes too long, then you may go to a Solid to help it roll sooner. If the Hybrid hooked too early, then you may go to a Pearl coverstock to get that added length.
Since we hit on each type of coverstock, why not look at color? Well you could, but just because the ball looks pretty or catches your eye does not mean it will work for your game/arsenal. Same thing with the beautiful smell from Storm; it may smell good but might not be the right choice for you. Stick with looking for the Basic; Solid, Hybrid, Pearl Coverstocks.
Now, these are some basic rules of thumb to look at when building an arsenal. Another thing to look into will be the finish of a ball. Any time you see a dull bowling ball, the duller the ball, the earlier the hook. Thus the Shinier(polished) ball will go down lane longer before hooking. So if I were to take Abralon pads as an example, 180(dullest finish), 360, 500, 1000, 2000, and 4000(Highest grit finish, most length without polish). Now you may take any dull ball and apply polish to it in order to get more length.
A good 4 ball arsenal should have 1 Solid, 1 Hybrid, 1 Pearl, and a Spare Ball(Plastic/Polyester). This will give you the most options when making choices out on the lanes. You may also adjust the surface to be dull or shiny on any ball, usually the solid coverstock with be the dullest and the Pearl will be the shiniest, although you as an individual may play around with those options to see what works best for your game.
Make sure you are not buying the same high-end ball with the same coverstock on it every time. Get a variety to help with different patterns or different lanes. It is kind of like golf in some respects, you can't play golf with 4 drivers and nothing else. You need a Driver(Solid), 5 iron(Hybrid), Pitching Wedge(Pearl), and Putter(Spare Ball). A little variety will go a long way. Remember to enjoy the game of bowling and, as always, Practice, Practice, Practice!
Steve Lemke Bowling.com SFA NCAA Coach