Should I Change Balls? What Do I Bring To Nationals?

Can you share your thoughts on when to move your feet-mark (angle) vs changing balls. Brenda Burns - Peoria, AZ
Josh Blanchard - Changing balls verses moving your feet has been a difficult decision ever since resin came out. Personally it is a pretty easy decision and this is why. In today’s game where coverstocks are stronger than ever and respond so quickly to friction, it is almost impossible to make them react a different way, even with a different hand position. With that being said, if you have a ball and keep moving your feet and can still not carry or get the desired reaction you want, don't fight the urge to change balls and try another entry angle that could improve your miss room. 
Craig Spencer - If you are a player that only has a two ball arsenal for league, you'll need to change angles and move your feet a lot more before going down to the far less reactive ball. However, for the players with 4+ balls and are more competitive. If you are bowling on a house shot and you have moved your feet twice and thrown each shot 80% to the best of your ability or better and haven't struck, change balls. Don't keep throwing it because you didn't throw it 90% or better. Additionally, If you throw it 80% and get 7 or less multiple frames, DEFINITELY change balls. With today's equipment, on today's house shots, if you aren't striking on the shots that you throw "ok", you are bowling at a disadvantage. It's likely your opponent has larger fairways and greens to hit than you do.
How do you decide what equipment to bring to nationals?? Mike Seabrook Sr. Maricopa AZ
Josh Blanchard - Mike, this topic is talked about every year right about this time, so thank you for asking the question. Even though nationals is in a different city ever year, the lanes tend to play similar and this is why. Each year the oil pattern is between 40-42’, the lane surface is the same every year and the same company oils the lanes each year. The reason USBC uses this length is because it is close to the length everyones house pattern is and also allows for a variety of angles to be successful and score. 
  Since we almost always know the length of the oil, the only variable that really changes is the volume. To make the decision process easier on yourself, I would decide on how many balls you are wanting to take and start with that number. Lets say you are going to take 4 balls and one of them is being plastic or urethane to shoot spares. That leaves us 3 balls to decide on and choose what to bring. You can almost always eliminate your weakest ball in your bag because they hardly ever get really dry and nationals unless you are a 600 rpm player. With our 3 balls left, we should take 3 very different balls that vary from Asymmetrical to Symmetrical. Another smart decision to take to nationals is abralon pads of varying grit so you can change the surface of those 3 balls to make you feel like you have 6  or even 9 balls. I hear year after year that players think the lanes are oily and they couldn’t get a ball to hook. With that being said, remember to always take a 500 or 1000 grit abralon pad to help your ball pick up(hook) in heavier volume patterns. 


Craig Spencer - Let me preface my answer with an example to help it make sense. Let's assume you and your buddies golf and play the local course once a week. You don't spend a lot of time at the range and the course isn't too tough. However, once a year you are able to play Augusta (extremely hard course). In the case of golf, you are able to see the increased amount of hazards and narrower greens. In this case, what do you think would be the best thing to do to improve your score at the harder course? Would it be buying a new set of clubs or would it be to practice more at the range? The answer is practice at the range. So, what equipment should you bring to nationals than? A spare ball. A spare ball (plastic) that has seen a lot of "range time" practicing spares. I know that isn't the answer that many want to hear, but so many pins are lost at nationals due to missing easy spares and we don't realize it because we are so focused on throwing strikes. Truthfully, if you are only bowling 1-2 times a week and never practicing it will be very difficult to execute at a high enough level to strike a good amount regardless off what ball you throw. So if you are going to be shooting a lot of spares, increasing your conversion rate by event 10% can gain you 10 pins a game or more which is almost 100 pins for all events.