What is a Benchmark Ball?

ANY SEASONED PLAYER...

Will define a benchmark ball as the first ball out of their bag. It gives them the best mental picture of what’s happening on the lane – especially when the pattern and topography of the conditions are unknown. It gives them a smooth, predictable motion that’s controllable, repeatable, and consistent no matter where they may be bowling. The vast majority of other sports display their obstacles. In tennis, the net is clearly presented directly in front of you. In golf, you can see the tree you need to miss, or the sand bunker you have to avoid. In football, you can watch the linebacker on a beeline right for you as you’re carrying the ball.

But in the world of sport bowling, the obstacles we have to face are invisible.

The most famous bowlers throughout history have all been deadly accurate, but the best players that have ever lived are the ones who were able to figure out the conditions first. Rest assured, they all had their own benchmark ball.

Having been on both sides of the fence - from competing every weekend to now building bowling balls - I believe that a benchmark ball is more than just a predictable shape. It’s a ball whose motion is unlike others. It’s unique, and difficult to replicate. It produces a reaction that you can’t find anywhere else.

To create this kind of ball, we have to step back and look at the product line as a whole. When we do this at Storm, we take every core, every coverstock, and every surface preparation into account. If the ball hits on every note, it can stick around for quite some time:

Hy-Road™ – November 18, 2008

!Q™ Tour – July 10, 2012

Hy-Road™ Pearl – July 16, 2013

Pitch Black™ – May 27, 2014

Phaze™ II – October 4, 2016

Between these five balls, there’s 32 years’ worth of shelf life, and that’s not without merit. Every one of these core/cover combinations resonates with the majority of players at some level. High speed/high revs, low speed/low revs – there’s something for everybody. Not only that, they are incredibly easy to drill. What does that even mean, though? If you put your favorite layout on an !Q Tour, you basically know what you are going to get. Furthermore, if you wanted to drill a second !Q Tour but decided to bring the pin 2” closer to your PAP or maybe even drop the pin to below your fingers from your previous pin up version, you still know what you’re going to get. And adjusting between the two couldn’t be easier. The weight block is simplistic in its design, yet dynamic by nature. When you introduce a hole to it, you aren't greatly affecting its mass distribution. Consistency in drilling and performance, I've come to find out, go hand in hand.

Each one of the above benchmark balls contributes something unique to the Storm line that are often imitated, but never duplicated. And as always, before any ball earns the right to be inscribed with the Storm insignia, it has to pass through a rigid on-lane performance test. This has been the case since the first Storm ball was poured nearly three decades ago. The process has been refined since, of course, to a level of commitment that’s worthy of your passion and devotion. It’s a lengthy process that involves an experienced group of people and first-rate technology but most importantly, it begins and ends with the bowler.


2019 USBC Open Championships - Strategy and Equipment

The 2019 USBC Open Championships are in full swing! Every year presents a new challenge and our team at Storm want to provide bowlers with as much information as possible to tackle the gritty and sometimes perplexing lane conditions that the Open Championships offers to its competitors. I’d like to take a quick second to clarify all of my remarks are strictly my opinions based on my observations while onsite at the tournament. I have no insider information or access to anything that is not public.

With that said, let us dive into what I believe are the keys to success at this year’s tournament.

TEAM EVENT:

The team event hosted on the surface of the South Point Bowling Plaza seems similar to the short pattern that we have experienced the last two years. The pattern visually offers no hold with extremely dry back-ends. As with previous years, consorted shot making does stretch the pattern and make it more playable, if, done correctly. I watched many teams employ different strategies all with varying levels of success. Here is my belief on how to best play them based on my observations.

During practice, the right handers should use sanded resin and play up 2-3-4 ensuring angles are extremely straight through the fronts. I would employ this strategy on the left but have the left handers go up 8-9-10, keeping angles very straight through the fronts. Once practice ends, bowlers can expect to be around 12-15 at the arrows throwing to 5-7 down lane, this would be in play for most of game 1. Depending on how quick transition occurs, I can foresee players getting into 16-19 at the arrows, getting the ball no further right of 10 down lane at the range finders. On the left, I feel that bowlers should be between 14-17 at the arrows after practice, getting the ball no further left of 10 down lane at the range finders. When it comes to moving in on both sides, I would exercise caution in not allowing your angles to get too far open, I believe balling down into weaker covers and/or less core is the way to go as the event progresses. Once again, I will clarify all the above remarks that they are only a guide based on my observations, pair to pair topography may dictate changes to this strategy.

Equipment for Team Event:

In my mind, there are really two ways to go. The first being to use a very big/strong ball (Crux Prime, Halo) with a 2-inch pin and a smooth surface (2000/3000). Deploying this tactic will slow the response of the ball at the end of the oil pattern. There appears visually to be very little taper at the end of the pattern with it being back loaded with large volumes of oil, bowlers need to ensure that their equipment makes a very slow and smooth transition to elongate their break point window making their reaction less susceptible to this oil down lane and lack of taper in the pattern. A ball like this in my eyes depending on traffic, rev rate and topography would be suitable for most of game 1. Bowlers could then begin to shell and core down as the lanes transitioned while trying to stay in the same relative zone of the lane.

The other strategy would be to deploy a medium rg with low differential ball (Hustle Ink, Hustle HYB, !Q Tour Solid or an Idol) and use a longer pin (5.5 inches-6 inches) with a smooth cover (2000). A good tip is to place the CG at 90 degrees from the pin. This will give the bowler length while not sacrificing losing the lane and/or make it tougher to blow through the break point while providing a very smooth and controllable back end reaction. A bowler could definitely elect to use a 2-inch pin on one of these types of balls as well. I feel the transitional moves are for the most part in balling down and not making large moves in on the lane.

Once again, these are simply my observations, I have certainly been incorrect in the past, but have also been very right many times. I’d add one final clarification about equipment, depending on the bowler, many of balls in the Storm and Roto Grip lineup could be a better fit than the previously mentioned, this is just simply a guide.

See your local Storm VIP Pro Shop or talk with our professionals at the Storm booth onsite at the tournament to get the equipment that will best fit your game, as no bowler is exactly alike.

MINORS (Doubles/Singles)

I really feel surface can hurt you here. I know it may seem counter-intuitive to many bowlers, but I really believe that bowlers need to use smooth surfaces and avoid burning up the fronts in minors. Due to the ball motion I witnessed, I would imagine that the pattern is back loaded with little taper front to back (seems to be a recurring theme). Blowing a hole in the fronts really accentuates the large amount of oil that appears to be down lane and can trap everyone on the pair. In minors, depending on topography, I feel you need to start between 13-16, getting the ball no further right than 10 down lane at the range finders. The left I feel can follow suit here. Once again angles through the front are very important, they need to be slightly open, so as the set progresses, be mindful of making too big of moves towards the middle of the lane and use your arsenal to ball down and stay within the same zone. Depending on the topography of the pair, bowlers may be able to start further outside of the above-mentioned area. Once again, let your eyes be your ultimate guide. This is in no way set in stone.

 EQUIPMENT FOR MINORS:
I’m of the opinion that hybrids and pearls are the way to go here, but I think that bigger cores are needed to help with the length and volume of the pattern. The big key is to use slower ball speed, rotation, axis tilt and softer hands to get the ball to read the right way and continue through the pins properly. I really cannot stress that enough, due to the construction of the pattern, you need a good amount of axis tilt to help keep the ball on line, axis tilt will allow you to play straighter angles which I feel are imperative to being successful. Balls that I feel are great candidates for minors: (in no particular order but in the current Storm and Roto Grip arsenal): Halo Pearl, Hyper Cell Fused, Hy-Road, Idol Pearl, Phase 2, !Q Tour Solid, Intense Fire. Bowlers will need a ball, possibly two at the most (in most cases) to ball down to. It is important to make sure they have smooth covers (2000, 3000, 4000 or 2000 with a small amount of polish). I’d recommend bowlers use pin placements that will offer them length without creating a violent reaction down lane, due to the limited amount of boards that will need to be covered.

Again, if you have questions about your arsenal visit your nearest Storm VIP Pro Shop or talk to the professionals at the Storm Booth to help determine what will work best for your game!

PHYSICAL CUES TO FOCUS ON:

  • Slower ball speed
  • Increased axis tilt
  • Increased rotation
  • Soft and smooth hand at release point

MENTAL CUES TO FOCUS ON:

  • Be prepared to be challenged and make excellent shots
  • Take one shot at a time and focus on your process, not your outcome
  • Enjoy the trip with your teammates and have fun while competing with your friends
  • Be optimistic, open minded, and let your eyes be your guide


To conclude, I want to thank Storm for allowing me to represent them on and off the lanes and give me the opportunity to help our bowlers succeed. If you need help locating a pro shop, try our Pro Shop Locator. If you want a few more tips, check out the video our Tech Team provided for the event HERE.

And always remember to BOWL UP A STORM!


Why Is My Ball Doing That

When on challenging oil patterns, do you ever wonder why your ball seems to be hooking early and not finishing as hard as usual?

On a THS(typical house shot), the oil is applied significantly less towards the outer portion of the lane and drastically increased on the inner portion of the lane. On a THS, you can always migrate towards the inner portion of the lane to find more skid. This increased skid allows for the ball to float easier down the lane into the drier boards to the outside and in the back end of the lane.

This is NOT the case in many challenging or sport compliant patterns, the oil is placed more evenly upon the lane. This puts a great demand on accuracy and speed repetition also known as shot making.

As you bowl on these challenging patterns, the lane is far less forgiving and more importantly far less of a static environment. The lane is ever changing, every ball that goes down the lane alters the playing field. As more and more balls travel down the lane, they will absorb oil from the first 1/3 of the lane (the heads) at a far faster rate than they do the rest of the lane. Why is this? There is MORE oil placed in the heads. Wherever there is the most oil, more will be absorbed by today's bowling balls. The more oil that is used, the less static that environment becomes due to ball traffic.

As the traffic dissipates the oil in the heads, your ball may start to do some unexpected things, it can hook early and seem to just wiggle as it travels into the back portion of the lane. When this happens there are a few adjustments that can be made-

  1. You can change to a less aggressive ball and keep your trajectory angles a bit tighter.
  2. You can move farther to the inside portion of the lane, with the same ball, and use more of an open angle, and LOWER ball speed to go around those trouble spots that you are encountering.
  3. This is by far the most difficult, but also most effective- Bowlers who have naturally more axis rotation and reduced axis tilt, are not as susceptible to this particular lane play issue. Imagine a bowler like, Pete Weber, who has a very high amount of axis rotation with a very low axis tilt.

The reason why increased rotation and lower tilt works when the heads start to go away and the oil down-lane has not is track circumference. The more of your ball that comes in contact with the lane bed before it makes a complete rotation, the less sensitive it is to oil/dry differences. The ball has a truer roll to it.

It might seem counter-intuitive to think that a ball that rolls heavier would not hook as early on a dry lane as a ball that spins, but it is a fact. A ball that spins(increased tilt and reduced rotation) loses its energy far faster than the heavier rolling ball. Spin burns off at a drastically increased rate than how roll burns off.

So next time you are encountering these issues, take a look around at which bowler is succeeding. WATCH their ball roll down the lane, not their particular style, just the ball itself. There is a lot to be learned if you allow yourself to learn it!


Code X versus Alpha Crux - Internal Review

The Code X offers performance engineering tuned for enhanced response

 

In the competitive bowling ball market, any ball that doesn’t do better than “good enough” simply can’t compete. Thankfully, this isn’t an issue for the Code X. Although its styling is a bit conservative for this line, the Code X is classically handsome and appeals with strong performance. The colors aren’t the most polarizing, which makes the ball hug the lane for a truer read, but that’s a personal opinion not shared by everyone. If you like your styling more subtle than stand-out with a side of performance that leaves you saying “Wow, I didn’t know a ball could do that…” then the Code X may be in your not-too-distant future.

The big news here is that R2S Solid has come into play for the first time in a long time in a Premier line ball. Not all conditions require wide-footprint coverstocks with high oil displacement ratings. R2S has been a flagship formula for Storm and is synonymous with some of the most successful balls in recent history like the Hy-Road and !Q Tour. Of all the coverstocks Storm has used, R2S responds to dry lane friction better than anything else. When this benchmark type chassis coats a weight block that’s as dynamic as the RAD4, I’d be hard-pressed to find something that offers this much versatility.

Even though it’s a solid ball, for me, it resembles a matte finish pearl the way it turns the corner. The Code X made easy work of the 47’ mid-volume pattern we currently use in our Monday night Storm Scratch league, which is something I’ll admit to having my fair share of struggles on this year. Because this particular house uses super high-friction synthetics, any ball with too much friction built in, chemically or mechanically, would read as soon as I set it down with nothing left down lane. The Code X doesn’t utilize R3S or Nano technology like its Premier line counterparts, so it skated through the high-friction fronts with ease but retained the mid-lane read and backend change of direction I’ve come to love from my top-drawer asymmetrics.

BOWLER STATS:

Launch Speed: 18mph

RPM: 490

Tilt:

Rotation: 45°

PAP: 5” straight over

Layout Used for Test: 6 x 4 x 3 (55° x 6 x 40°)

Surface Used on Both Balls: 3000-grit Abralon

Oil Pattern: Beaten Path, 41’, 1:4.04, 24.25 mL

The layout chosen for these two balls was 6x4x3. As always, Storm’s VLS system is an original conception and is the only layout system in the industry that takes the shape of the weight block into account.

THE TEST:

For this study, I decided to use Kegel's 4:1 Beaten Path. I knew this pattern would showcase the differences between these two balls exceptionally well. I tossed 20 shots on SPECTO with each ball, averaged the results, and created composite motion paths for each along with a comparison chart utilizing the hard data SPECTO provided. Both balls were resurfaced prior to the test using a Surface Factory machine with new Abralon pads for each to achieve the most consistent finish possible.

 

THE RESULTS:

If you currently roll the Sure Lock or Alpha Crux, but are hesitant make the commitment on another solid Premier line ball, then rest easy. R2S breathes new vigor into the line which helps differentiate it plenty from its Nano-based cousins. I found this the case both objectively and subjectively. Let’s refer to the former, presented below. The numbers don’t lie. With almost 1.5° more entry angle at impact, the Code X handles the corner like that of a racing-tuned suspension on a car that’s designed to dig in to the curves of a snaky, winding road. That may not sound like a lot, but spread that measurement over the last 15 feet of the lane and that can mean the difference between washing out and a high flush strike.

Telling the story further, this isn’t a case where the numbers deceive. Subjectively, too, I found the Code X carried considerably better from the deep, inside line compared to the Alpha Crux. The engine that is the RAD4 worked just as flawlessly as the cover. With the layout I chose, it transitions smoothly and quickly. On the comfort side of the equation, I was more than confident from far inside with regards to kicking out the corners than I’ve been as of late with balls of the like. The Alpha Crux lost its axis rotation so quickly, it reminded me just why that ball truly is designed for the heaviest of heavy conditions.

CONCLUSION:

If my !Q Tour and Code Black were to fall in love and start a family, their progeny would undoubtedly be the Code X. It’s an excellent blend of power, dynamics, and everyday versatility. It is the bowling ball equivalent of having your cake and eating it, too. Backend responsiveness is immediate and gratifying, without sacrificing what a solid ball is supposed to do up front. I do appreciate the Code X’s quieter exterior as it pirouettes its way down the lane with empyreal grace, yet remains tasteful for what it is. The Code lineage has discernibly paved the way for the Code X, and it’s the Code X that’s going to carry on this sterling reputation for quite some time.

 

Highlights from the test:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=075-SkU9hBA

 

 Storm has a full-time tech representative ready to answer any questions you have about the Code X or any other Storm product. Please call (800) 369-4402 (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm MST) or send an email to tech@stormbowling.com (anytime).


Selecting an Arsenal for the USBC Open Championships

If you are heading to Syracuse for the OC’s this year, then you’ve probably already started thinking about what equipment you are toting along. And since ball slots are limited and checked bag fees are high, the gravity in your selection process becomes pretty critical. As with any arsenal, variety is key. Sounds easy, right? Obviously, there’s a lot that goes into it that can become a daunting task for even the most seasoned professional. The boundless options that are available on the market should be used to your advantage, but it all starts with the bowler. Knowing the subtle distinctions in how you roll the ball, such as axis tilt, axis rotation, speed, and rev rate, are most crucial.

Once you’ve determined your stats, next comes the ball selection process. As always, variety is key.

The Open Championships have now abstained from announcing the oil pattern prior to the tournament commencing – which is perfectly fine. You can bet on it not being a cakewalk. Balls that exude control and forgiveness are going to be your best friends with any trip to the OC’s. What kind of balls do this? Well, your favorite benchmark should be the first thing that comes to mind. A low RG, solid, matte finish ball that is smooth and brings the breakpoint closer to the foul line would definitely provide this for the bowler. The !Q Tour is the second longest running ball in Storm’s history for this very reason.

After that, building an arsenal is pretty straightforward. Having a good mix of solids, pearls, hybrids with a combination of surfaces and layouts is important. Typically, you won’t see too many polished balls going down the lanes at the Open Championships. The reason for this all boils down to controlling the breakpoint. Sanded balls maximize your room for error by picking up on the midlane better than polished balls and bringing the breakpoint - the most critical part of the lane - closer to you. It’s not a mystery anymore that surface is the #1 most influential factor that dictates ball motion. The bowlers that perform the best every year will almost always bring a wide array of 500-grit to 4000-grit sanded balls. I’m not saying omit polish completely, so reserve one to two spots in your bag for when they get “toasty” later in the day.

Layouts are the last big thing to discuss. Working with your Storm VIP pro shop professional to establish which layouts are best for your style and the arsenal you’ve chosen is imperative. Some of the most accomplished bowlers will use around three of their favorite layouts and let the inherent properties of the balls be the major difference in what they see. Pete Weber, for example, has only used two layouts for years: one pin up above the bridge and one pin down below the bridge. There are enough factors in bowling that are above and beyond anyone’s control, and, no matter how hard you try, you cannot change them. So keeping the variables in check that you can control, like Pete, isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Below is a sample 6-ball arsenal that would cover all of your bases at the Open Championships this year.


Drive versus Timeless - Internal Review

Zach Trevino loves his Drive, and here's why...

When the Timeless was first introduced, Zach struggled to keep it reading the correct part of the lane before it was too late at the end of the pattern. This is not the ball’s fault, however. His higher ball speed combined with his higher degree of tilt all but promotes skid throughout the lane. Mix in a high RG, polished shell with our cleanest cover (R2S) to date and the struggle becomes very real for a player with his specs. To combat this, Zach took the surface down to match his Drive at 3000-grit Abralon – something he encourages most people who call into Storm to do when experiencing similar difficulties. “I will be the first one to admit that Timeless just wasn’t the ball for me” said Zach. “I drilled one pin up strong and one pin down smoother and it was the latter that only found its way into my bag for one specific scenario - the mega burn.” He added “Using a slower buffer, my pin down Timeless was very useful for when the pattern really got trashed and I had to keep my angles tighter from inside. I don’t have the loft game and often get cornered late in blocks because I have to throw weaker equipment with tighter angles. The Timeless allowed me to bump the dry and it wouldn’t over react when it saw friction. Nonetheless, it was very conditional and didn’t get much use.”

Zach wasn’t the only one who felt “trapped” with the Timeless. Taking this into consideration, we went through many iterations of the intended design with the Drive while ultimately settling on an R2S/Nano blend that we cleverly titled: R2S Nano.

Zach sometimes struggles with stronger covers like this stating they “normally aren’t good for me as it usually results in the ball being too cover driven and just lazy.” However, he later affirmed that his “initial impressions weren’t anything as what I had expected. In this case, that was a good thing! It was as if the ball had so much more shape and read in the mid’s (which Timeless was severely lacking) and just never quit.”

BOWLER STATS

Launch Speed: 17mph

RPM:400

Tilt: 15°

Rotation: 60°

PAP: 4 5/8” over, 1/2" up

Layout Used for Test: 4 3/8 x 5 1/8 x 2 3/4   (65° x 4 3/8 x 45°)

Surface Used for Each Ball: 3000-grit Abralon

Oil Pattern Used for Test: Beaten Path, 41’, 1:4.04, 24.25 mL

RESULTS:

Zach rolled each ball 20 times on Kegel's Beaten Path. We took SPECTO readings at the beginning, middle, and end to compare the results for each ball.

Following his preemptive impressions, Zach started an arrow deeper due to the significantly stronger cover and surface prep. There was never any question the ball would miss the spot from too much length.

After about 10 shots with each ball, Zach felt he should have moved more at this point. Every shot with the Drive was high flush, but a little too high sometimes tripping out the 4-9 several times. The Timeless was the ball Zach felt comfortable with at this point because it was not seeing the friction as severely as the Drive.

SPECTO does a fantastic job of showing the difference in shape with both balls. The breakpoint distances are pretty tightly grouped even though the Drive is over an arrow deeper towards the end of this test. The Timeless needed a straighter trajectory with less launch angle to find the pocket. Overall, Zach preferred the shape and location he had to play with the Drive being inside the track of the Timeless with fresh oil instead of out in the dirt.

Zach has already dedicated a slot in his Open Championships bag for the Drive saying “It is a true improvement as opposed to just being a follow-up with another Belmo logo on it. It’s a unique piece that is going to end up in my tournament bag headed to the OC's this year. It provides that stability and continuous motion needed to control tougher conditions and create area when there isn’t much room for error.”

 

With the same layout and the same surface for 20 shots the Drive, on average, when compared to the Timeless produced:

+6.43 boards deeper set-down

+0.64° launch angle

-1.16° entry angle to pocket

+2 feet of backend

 

Highlights from the test:

https://youtu.be/MEIkyCeRpsQ

 

 Storm has a full-time tech representative ready to answer any questions you have about the Drive or any other Storm product. Please call (800) 369-4402 (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm MST) or send an email to tech@stormbowling.com (anytime).

 


Son!Q versus Marvel Pearl - Internal Review

The Centripetal HD Core delivers instant revs and puts the entire category on notice.

 

Since its inception, the evolution of the design can be traced across the Centripetal Low Flare Core, C3 Centripetal Control Core, and now the Centripetal HD Core. At first glance the Centripetal HD Core may look familiar, but deep down is where the magic truly happens. It is the densest core of any symmetrical Storm ball to date producing an RG value of 2.47. Historically, these renditions of the Centripetal shape have all exhibited a lower RG value with varying degrees of differential achieved by the manipulation of the densities in the core material itself. The Centripetal HD (high density) is the heaviest to date which makes the Son!Q much more center-heavy.  The Marvel Pearl retains the primary shape, but is constructed with a material of lower specific gravity.  What does this mean to you? Let’s explore…

We know that controlling the midlane is what the pros are renowned for. They are able to see ball motion in a way that lets them make the best decision in order to get their ball into a roll before the end of the pattern. Whether they do that with surface, speed, axis tilt, or core technology is dependent on the situation at hand, but believe me when I say having a ball in your hand that is trying to roll as soon as it hits the lanes certainly doesn’t hurt. Chris Barnes, who’s arguably the best technician on tour, told me years ago that he only uses low RG balls for this very reason.

A ball that is rolling into the pins carries considerably better than a ball that is hooking into the pins. When a ball makes impact and doesn’t have a direction of motion that is in-line with the centers of gravity of the pins, some of the energy that would have been available for the post-collision pin velocity will be lost to rotation and friction. Because the Centripetal HD Core’s center of gravity is extremely low, it consistently impacts the pins at the perfect spot every time maximizing carry.

Delving a little deeper into the physics behind it, angular momentum is much harder for an external force to change its direction as opposed to linear momentum. Angular momentum is essentially the rotational equivalent of linear momentum and remains constant unless acted upon by an external torque that’s proportional to the initial moment of inertia (the bowler’s release). The faster the angular momentum created, the more torque is required to cause a change in angular acceleration. Simply stated, we apply rotational energy to create angular momentum around the weight block of a bowling ball, AKA torque. This energy we impart on the ball stays the same until something else tries to stop it, like the friction on a lane or 40lbs worth of bowling pins. Cores like the Centripetal HD in the Son!Q that have lower RG values have a higher potential to conserve its angular momentum throughout the lane and into the pins. This results in less deflection, better carry, and higher scores.

Getting into something that’s a tad more observable to the naked eye, the entry angle into the pocket that the Son!Q creates really wasn’t that steep. Especially when compared to something like a Hy-Road Pearl that’s at the other end of the spectrum when discussing RG values. Balls like the Hy-Road Pearl, at least for me and the way I roll it, really magnify both wet and dry circumstances which is probably why they only time I use the ball is when there is at least 2000-4000 surface on it. With the Son!Q, I noticed less wrapped 10-pin leaves, fewer stone-9’s, and much lower flight paths of the pins when the ball makes contact – which was optimal for carry in my many off-pocket hits because the pins are colliding with each other instead of flying above one another. On the rare occasion I left a stone-9, there was always a messenger there to greet it.

BOWLER STATS

Launch Speed: 18mph

RPM: 490

Tilt:

Rotation: 45°

PAP: 5” straight over

Layout Used for Test: 5 x 6 x 4  (80° x 5 x 60°)

Surface Used for Each Ball: 1500-grit Polished

Oil Pattern Used for Test: Beaten Path, 41’, 4.04:1, 24.25 mL

 

RESULTS:

For this test, I tossed 30 shots with each ball on a fresh Beaten Path pattern and took excerpts from each transition you can see below in the SPECTO results. Even just a 0.010 difference in the low RG versus the Marvel Pearl was enough to make the Son!Q breakpoint distance a couple feet sooner during my initial warm-up when getting lined up. But for this test, I wanted to show the best line to the pocket for both balls on the Beaten Path pattern by Kegel. Early on (fig.1), the Son!Q’s lay-down had to be about 3 boards inside of the Marvel Pearl. From slightly inside, the breakpoint distance was 1-2 feet later for the Son!Q, but it was also crossing more boards overall given the same speed and hand position I was using.

As the lane started to transition (after about 12 shots) I moved the standard 2:1 and found no shortage of movement or carry with either ball. The Son!Q laydown remained just inside of the Marvel Pearl with the breakpoints inching closer to one another downlane (fig. 2). The R2S cover on the Son!Q was able to generate slightly more entry angle into the pocket due to its cleaner nature when compared to the R2X featured on the Marvel Pearl.

After another 12 shots or so I moved another 2 left but kept my eyes the same. At this point, the breakpoint distance for both balls were well-nigh similar and the breakpoint boards were pretty close as well (fig. 3).

The differences in the two balls, for me, shined through on the fresh. When the lane started to really break down, the spread between the two got closer with the additional friction that was happening in the fronts. If you already have a Marvel Pearl but are considering picking up a Son!Q, I would recommend another one of your favorite layouts or a simple surface change just to give yourself a little more diversity in your bag - unless a 3-5 board shift inside and a slightly more angular downlane transition is what you are looking for given equal layouts/surfaces. To date, the original Marvel Pearl @ 3000-grit Abralon was my favorite “on the fresh” ball. Now that the Son!Q has made its way into my hands, I will keep it at the original 1500-grit polished surface and use it to fill that transition gap I’ve been combating for such a long time and reintroduce my Marvel Pearl back to 3000-grit.

 

With the same layout and the same surface for 30 shots the Son!Q, on average, when compared to the Marvel Pearl produced:

+2.48 boards deeper set-down

+0.030° entry angle to pocket

+1.16 feet of backend

 

Highlights from the test:

https://youtu.be/vQwK36Yt7GU

 

Storm has a full-time tech representative ready to answer any questions you have about the Son!Q or any other Storm product. Please call (800) 369-4402 (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm MST) or send an email to tech@stormbowling.com (anytime).

 


The Storm Corner

If you watch the best in the world bowl on ESPN, you will see the best in our sport cover more boards on a lane, with more speed, than you and me. And you’ll often hear it said that the top professionals have a phenomenal ball roll. What does that mean? Don’t all of us who participate in the sport of bowling roll the ball, in some fashion? The answer is ‘yes’ but while we all roll the ball when we bowl, we all apply a different type of action to the ball. Some have more side roll and rotate more quickly. Others look like a top when they go down the lane, not the best professionals in the U.S., mind you. And we can talk about the ‘spinner style,’ which dominated the recent World Championships in Las Vegas, at a later date.

So, when we mention the term ‘ball roll’ we are referring to these three elements of how the ball rotates as it travels down the lane:

  1. Rev rate
  2. Axis rotation
  3. Axis tilt

Do you consider two-handed sensations like Jason Belmonte, Osku Palermaa and Kyle Troup to be “crankers?” If so, it is because of their high rev rate. Defined as how fast the ball rotates over a specific length of time, usually minutes, rev rate relates to the amount of energy transferred from your release to the bowling ball. Players who generate the most powerful strike balls do so with a strong, leveraged position, their fingers well below the equator of the ball. And they do so not only with a cupped wrist, and possibly bent elbow, but also through proper use of the strongest muscle group in their body, their legs! Try lifting a heavy suitcase with just your arms, and you’ll quickly realize how often you use your legs without even thinking about it.

To find your rev rate, you will need to use your camera on your phone or an appropriate app.  Watch the number of times your ball turns over in one second and multiply by that number by 60, as there are 60 seconds in a minute. Watch this great video below, too, for a better explanation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yccbhBI-Yy0&feature=youtu.be

A cranker will have a rev rate of at least 400 rpms, or revolutions per minute. Tweeners have less hand action than the cranker, and will have between 200 and 400 rpms. The straightest players, the strokers, have less than 200 rpms. Which category do you fall in? Find out and you will be one step closer to fully understanding your game!

The second part of the ball roll formula is your axis rotation. This refers to the direction of your ball roll. A ball that rolls completely end-over-end is said the have 0 degrees axis rotation. Great for predictability, this heavy forward roll will give you great control on the backends, but generates little entry angle and often lacks carry power. Here is how to find your axis rotation at home:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-btz1SpFtw

A player like Pete Weber has nearly the exact opposite. The 90 degree axis rotation generates maximum hook on the backend and yields unmatched power at the pins. This is most often referred to as the high risk-high reward type of roll. A majority of players, however, fall somewhere between these two extremes. A moderate amount of side roll is considered the optimum amount. Exhibited by nearly ¾ of the entire PBA tour, the 45 degree rotation will surely give you a nice combination of power and predictability.

The final ingredient of the recipe is axis tilt. To best describe axis tilt, imagine a top spinning on your desk or table. This type of roll, when equated to a bowling ball, would considered 90 degrees of tilt and would be seen only if the ball track were to be condensed to one very small point. On the converse, consider a ball track that covers the full circumference of the ball, all 27 inches of it, and you would have 0 degrees of tilt. Again, these are the extremes and nearly everyone falls in a comfortable range somewhere in-between! This is how to find your axis tilt:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkRscXz5JTU

In closing, be sure to know your ball roll. Remember the three variables: rev rate, axis rotation, and axis tilt. The better you understand your game the easier it will be for you to select the proper ball and layout for each lane condition! And to learn more about Storm’s line of high performance equipment, spend some time on our website, www.stormbowling.com, or feel free to contact me via e-mail at stevek@stormbowling.com.


Tournament Prep List

Keep this list close as you prepare for your next tournament.

  1. Make sure your equipment is ready. Inserts are fresh, thumb holes feel good, interchangeable thumbs are operating properly, and that you a backup interchangeable thumb for any emergencies.
  2. An accessory bag filled with grip adjusting products. Some things to include are: thumb insert tape, thumb/finger protection tapes, tape knife/tape tool, scissors, fingernail clippers.
  3. Abralon pads/surface adjusting products are a must for fine tuning ball reaction. These jewels are a tournament bowlers friend.
  4. Shoes. If you do not have high performance shoes with removable heels and soles, get some. Every bowling center is different and proper footing is essential. Get yourself many combinations of heels and soles. Fine tuning here is paramount.
  5. Add a shoe brush for those slick approaches to your accessory bags.
  6. Rosin and/or hand conditioner can come in handy too.
  7. Shoe covers to protect your shoes for trips out of the settee.
  8. Some anti-inflammatory medication as you never know when those little beauties will be needed.
  9. Storm Shammy to wipe your ball off, do this every shot!
  10. If it is an event that requires proper attire, your bowling clothes! I have forgot my “name” shirt on more than one occasion in my career, it can be quite the embarrassment. Storm apparel works very well in this situation! The most important thing is to bring an open mind and a willingness to learn. Every time we step onto the lanes there are lessons to be learned, but only when our mind is right.

Match Game

Hello Storm Nation!

Success on the lanes often comes when one matches up their equipment to any given oil pattern. This article should be a great tool to help organize your thoughts regarding ball and layout selection. Having coached players for more than two decades, I have had the opportunity to have direct dialog from bowlers of all skill levels. I believe the most common question I hear begins with “What should I throw on….” To answer this properly, you must take them through a series of questions:

  1. What is your velocity, rev rate, axis tilt, and axis rotation?
  2. What is the volume and length of this oil pattern?
  3. What three key points are you looking to play?
    • Laydown
    • Arrows
    • Breakpoint

Question 1 helps you choose the proper layout for his/her game. Higher ball speeds, lower rev rates, and more side roll require layouts that react earlier or sooner. This can be achieved with layouts such as the 4x3x1 and 3x4x2. On the converse, it is best to select more stable, lower flaring drillings for players with slow ball speed, high rev rates, and/or more forward roll. You might consider a 5x6x4 or 6x5x5.

Question 2, regarding the oil pattern, will help you select the appropriate bowling ball. The Storm website has so much valuable information which will help you understand the intent of each ball we release. Under each ball page you will find videos showing ball motion for each particular ball for three drastically different styles.

Plus, know that the most dynamic balls are found in the Premier Line™ while the rest of the lines feature a variety of core and weight block concepts designed to help you find the perfect ball for your game and condition.

And finally, regarding the three key points, the third question will help you dial it all in. A down-and-in trajectory on a lighter oil pattern will require a smoother surface than one which goes away from the pocket and crosses several boards. Choose a duller surface on a ball that flares more when looking to ‘belly’ the ball a lot. If your player is trying to take the more conservative route, have him/her choose a ball with low flare characteristics. It’s all about ‘matching up’!

We will all score better when we have a true ‘arsenal’ of equipment with a variety of coverstocks and cores or weight blocks. Once this is achieved, the next step is selecting the right ball, or succession of balls, for each situation. Versatility is mandatory to succeed in today’s ever-changing environment.

Best of luck to everyone!

To learn more about Storm’s line of high performance equipment, spend some time on our website, exploring all the different sections here at http://www.stormbowling.com, or feel free to contact me via e-mail at stevek@stormbowling.com.