Equipment vs mechanics? Is it the end of the pattern or an early hook spot?

1. When do you know your equipment is hindering your ability more than your actual mechanics?

Josh Blanchard - This is a great question and should be brought up more often than it does. The best way you can find this out is either a) trying a friend’s new ball he just purchased or b) going to a Demo put on by your local pro shop. In today's age, bowling balls wear out quickly without proper care and attention. When neglecting your equipment, they cannot perform to their original ability thus causing us to change our physical game to make it work.

Craig Spencer - Always, always, take advantage of demo’s where you can try out product without having to buy it. Even if it is being hosted by a pro shop you don’t normally go to, take advantage of the opportunity to see each company’s current technology go down the lane. This is invaluable. However, it’s important to keep in mind, at the league and amateur level when the conditions are easier, equipment makes an even bigger difference. As the scoring pace gets higher, pin carry is essential and the wrong ball can make it to the pocket, but get 9 far too often. As the lanes get harder, consistency, good technique and overall execution become far more important than having a certain bowling ball. 

Question #2. How can you tell the difference between the end of a pattern, and just a hook spot?

Josh Blanchard - This is a simple question to answer on paper but a very difficult one to see with the naked eye. When a ball finds the ends of the pattern, normally it will start the hook phase and continue hooking and rolling in a gradual way. When a ball finds a hook spot, two things can happen. A) The ball can hook in that spot and start going through the face, or B) it hooks and stands up and you 2-10 (3-7 Lefties). When a ball finds a hook spot, generally you will see a sudden jerk or change in direction in the core; thus causing the ball to stand up quicker than normal.
Like I previously said, it is an easy question to answer but very hard to describe on paper. The best advice I can give is watch your balls entire motion down the lane, good or bad. The bad shots can sometimes tell us more about the lane than a good shot.

Craig Spencer – For 95% of bowlers the pattern is going to end little past half way down the lane. If you visually see the ball start trying to hook earlier than that, then it’s a hook spot and not the end of a pattern.