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!


Crux Prime versus PhysiX - Internal Review

The Crux Prime delivers the power and flare the line is known for, but has a few surprises up its sleeve to offer a bit more control.


The PhysiX and the Crux Prime have more in common than one might think - performance being one of the lesser accords. Let's take a trip down Memory Lane and see how their genealogy relates, shall we?

The PhysiX features a coverstock that has never been introduced to the United States until now, and a core that the world has yet to see: the Atomic Core. At first glance, the Atomic Core automatically connects itself to the Storm brand. There’s no doubt where this shape came from! But it’s not all pizzazz. The inlets surrounding the classic Oval Bolt actually do serve a purpose. They form very large RG bands the ball doesn’t want to deviate away from as its rolling towards the pins. This creates a ball motion that is tough for 35 pounds worth of bowling pins to exact their will upon.

Review: Hank Boomershine on the Atomic Core

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBl-XCLgW6s&t=84s

NRG Hybrid has never been put on a catalogue featured, domestically released ball. So it’s fitting that it is featured on a shape that very well may be the most iconic design to ever leave Brigham City, Utah.

We’ll admit, behind the scenes, we were indecisive as to what cover we were going to wrap the Atomic Core in when it was time to unveil it to the public. I mean, when you have so many good ones at your disposal, it makes it kind of hard to decide! We don't develop balls just to develop balls; each one has a specific purpose with a design intent. So during the time of development, Bowl Expo 2018 was just around the corner in Las Vegas, Nevada. We decided to take the top three coverstock contenders that could potentially marry with the Atomic Core and let the public decide this ball’s fate. Keeping the core a secret, NRG Hybrid was the eventual winner based on the feedback we received from the public testing and the PhysiX became so. What were the other two test covers, you ask? One was R2S and the other that came in second place by photo finish is what we refer to as “SPEC” today. Believe me when I say we are always testing experimental shapes and fascinating covers here at the bowling ball factory. The Catalyst Core was a design that the masses were demanding to be brought back and what better way to do it than with an all-new cover!

The vertical cavity that’s nestled in the center mass of the Catalyst shape acts as a deliberately-placed balance hole which is very user-friendly when you’re able to drill into it and not affect its dimensions too much.

The Crux Prime has all the ingredients of a dangerous weapon from the baseline.

The chemistry behind SPEC is enough to warrant its own full-length seminar, so we won’t dive too hard into the details here. But it is important to note that this material grips the lane unlike anything that has ever left the Utah plant. In a nutshell, the innate Ra of SPEC is slightly higher than our other primary coverstocks that don’t use an ancillary additive or enhancer. Chemical friction, surface roughness, and COF’s are commonalities in the bowling game we know today. But there is another component to bowling ball development and performance that ties in directly to the endless tapestry that is ball motion: chemical tackiness. For instance, a pearl/polished ball has a very high dry lane coefficient of friction. A ball like this is extremely tacky when it encounters arid lane material. Put this ball on oil, and its COF becomes almost nil. SPEC material, however, creates virtually the same adherence on dry lane material at any given surface. This extra “cling” the ball produces gives the wielder added bearing and control especially when needing to get the ball to shape properly after moving in deep with heftier launch angles. The result is sustained entry angle into the pins and prevention of the ball migrating forward too quickly (rolling out). For lack of a better term, this “cohesion factor” the Crux Prime creates when it touches the lane largely makes up for the decline in surface profile which results in a minimal loss in backend reaction over time.


Now that these balls have names and directions, it’s time to dive into the nitty-gritty an expose as many details as we can about the Crux Prime and PhysiX.



BOWLER STATS:

Launch Speed: 18mph

RPM: 490

Tilt:

Rotation: 45°

PAP: 5” straight over

Layout Used for Test: 5 x 3 x 2 (35° x 5 x 30°)

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 5x3x2. 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 30 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 Storm Surface Factory machine with fresh Abralon pads for each to achieve the most consistent finish possible.

 

THE RESULTS:

The Crux Prime breathes new life into the Premier line with the never-before-seen SPEC coverstock. There were some palpable differences between the Crux Prime and the PhysiX that challenges the conventional way we think some of these chemical formulas behave. I found this the case both objectively and subjectively. Let's refer to the former, shown below.

Solids are widely accepted as balls that require heavier volumes to perform as intended, comparatively to pearls and hybrids. The Crux Prime naturally settled me about 5 boards deeper than the PhysiX, but the interesting part was what happened on the backend. At over a degree more entry angle at the point of impact, the Crux Prime left me astonished time and again. This really came in handy when I started to see the ball checking a little early and I crept inside to find my easy float through the fronts once again. This doesn't make the PhysiX a bad ball or under-performer by any means, there's a time a place for each and every ball. NRG Hybrid has an innate chemical friction built into its substructure thanks to the Nano additive we utilize in it. This makes the ball want to lose its axis rotation fairly quickly (higher rev rates only amplify this) so the PhysiX set down point was always just outside the Crux Prime for me. With its earlier breakpoint, the PhysiX at 1000 or 2000-grit would be enough to tackle the heaviest of the heavy that I would ever see here in Northern Utah.

 

The chemical adhesion (mentioned earlier) the Crux Prime creates to the lane is observable and very much welcomed. Its able to maintain its mid-lane read with no shortfall of entry angle. We all look for that "unicorn" reaction where the ball is clean through the fronts, strong mid-lane, great continuation through the deck, and hits like a truck. If you are reading this and you've found the prodigal ball that does it all, please drop me a line because I will pay dearly for it. If there was ever a ball I've rolled that does it all and then some, this is as close to that fabled reaction I've ever seen. The tackiness it seemed to produce when it encountered dry lane kept the ball from jerking too hard off the spot. "Controllable angle" sounds like an oxymoron, but the Crux Prime provides it with ease. I can't wait to see how this coverstock performs on future cores - symmetrical and asymmetrical alike.

 

CONCLUSION:

True to its heritage, the Crux Prime continues to impress me every time I pick it up. When I needed to be aggressive and step in to sling the ball farther out, I could tap into the Catalyst Core's power potential with as little effort as moving up 6" on the approach. I also liked the response of the cover when I was looking for friction up front. I felt accurate with the Crux Prime in my hands, and I was confident from multiple angles. Overall maneuverability was excellent, which made it very easy to get my swing into position and free up my grip. The out of box 2000-grit surface demands a pretty slick environment to thrive on, so taking it up to 3000-grit for this test was a good decision as I see myself being able to use it on a wider variety of conditions and in different bowling centers. There was enough of a difference between the PhysiX and Crux Prime for me that I would justify reserving a spot for each in my bag when traveling to future tournaments.

Highlights from the test:

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


Justin Wyman Named Technical Developer

Storm Products, Inc. has announced Justin Wyman will relocate to Storm Headquarters as Technical Developer. Wyman will join the technical team and assist in the development, innovation and execution of new products.

“Justin is an uncommon find. His skills and experience are unique to him and it would be a misdeed to not utilize his expertise,” Chad McLean, Technical Director said. “Justin’s rare combination of multimedia prowess and technical savviness is something we want to embrace and cultivate at Storm Headquarters.”

In his new role at Storm, Wyman will assist with the creation and testing process of new innovations being considered for release. He will also assist the marketing team with the development of drilling instructions and materials for new products. In addition, he will support the production of seminar materials to help inform and educate consumers, create news articles and videos for the website, and represent Storm at seminars, trade shows, and instructional clinics.

Wyman, a determined entrepreneur, has been working diligently throughout the bowling industry for several years. He didn’t truly immerse himself in the sport until he was a senior in high school due to the lack of opportunities for youth bowlers in Penfield, New York. However, once his uncle introduced him to the sport, he never looked back. Wyman practiced as much as he could and watched bowling diligently to gain as much knowledge as possible. His quest for information led him into Bowler’s World, the pro shop, where he learned about drilling from his mentor, Mike Rose Jr and the DiSanto family.  Throughout his tenure at Bowler’s World, he gained experience drilling equipment for customers domestically and internationally, servicing customers as far away as Northern Europe. With his acquired technical knowledge on and off the lanes, he started to compete on the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Tour.

“I’m excited to expand my knowledge in the industry and be able to share what I learn with an even broader audience than I have in the past,” Wyman said. “There’s so much opportunity here. Everyone has been so welcoming, and I’m excited to join this team.”

Beyond bowling, Wyman has always had a passion for building, creating, and developing audio and video displays. His passion for music led him to studying audio design by building speakers and audio productions of his own. He brought this knowledge to the bowling industry, creating ball reaction videos and sharing them on his digital media channels. In 2012, he formed his own company, JWI, using his experience with visual productions combined with audio to create booth displays at trade shows within the bowling industry. In 2017, he was invited by the PBA to design the television set for the World Series of Bowling in Reno. He continued to construct sets for the PBA, PWBA and USBC including every televised major.

“We were needing to increase our technical/marketing output and Justin was looking to get more into the technical aspect of the industry. The timing was almost fortuitous, and we look forward to all the new ground that needs breaking by applying Justin’s talent here at Storm.”


International Balls - The Truth

Overseas balls have acquired a cult following in recent years. But what makes them so special? They’re round just like any other ball. They can knock down ten pins just as effectively as any other Storm piece. Slightly different names and colors, though. And in Storm’s case, they smell pretty good most of the time. The number of calls and emails we receive asking for more info or how to obtain these international releases is staggering. To interpret their surge in popularity we need to take a closer look at just what they are and what they mean to the rest of the world.

We techies commonly refer to overseas balls as “private labels” or “OEMs” (original equipment manufacturer) – balls that are produced by one company (Storm) but are marketed by another company (overseas distributors).

The international market is significantly different than the US market for several reasons. The primary reasons are differences in customs, sales, and etiquette. For example, in the United States, if a bowler does well with a particular type of ball, it’s not uncommon to find several of the same balls in a league, or even on the same ball return rack. Word of mouth travels fast where we are. International etiquette is significantly different. For example, if one bowler is doing well in a league or tournament with a particular ball, it is bad form to copy that bowler and buy the same ball. As such, if you are the bowler with the ball, you have an advantage. But if you are the bowler without the ball, you are at a disadvantage. I have experienced this firsthand in my travels all across Japan. Therefore, many of our international balls are almost identical to the standard US release with very small variations, if any. The primary differences are simply the colors, logos, and surface finishes. Otherwise, they are USBC approved with very little difference in reaction or performance compared with what is currently available in our product line.

Another key difference is international distributors are usually exclusive to a particular brand. Many of our international dealers only sell Storm brand name products and equipment. As such, they need a larger selection of equipment to sell because they don’t have the same variety available to them since they choose not to associate with any of the other major international brands. Whereas in the US, all of the local distributors have equipment available for sale from any of the major brands. Hence, our product line needs to be expanded for our international customers since they can only sell so many of a particular ball before the market is “saturated”. Storm will release around a dozen balls per year domestically whereas close to 100 different balls get sent to international waters every year. Again, the major differences most of the time are simply cosmetic, with the occasional exception of a core/weight block design whose rights are owned by a certain international distributor that grants them exclusive rights to that shape.

Given these reasons listed above, many of our international partners ask for contractual rights to a particular ball and for a limited quantity. Storm typically runs these exclusive balls only one time and sells them all directly to the distributor that placed the order; sometimes in runs of only a few hundred. Occasionally, a few balls return from the international market to the local market via travelers or returning military, but this number is very low and availability is definitely limited. Once they get poured here in Brigham City, Utah they leave shortly thereafter.

Despite being well-nigh similar in performance to our standard lineup, private label balls undoubtedly turn the heads of many for those lucky enough to pick one up. Be prepared to shell out a few bucks, however. It’s not uncommon for enthusiasts to pay $300+ for one of these rarities. No matter what kind of ball you decide to toss, just be sure that it has that good lookin' Storm logo on it somewhere!

 


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.


Storm Goes To Camp

At Storm, our purpose is to continue to inspire existing bowlers and to foster and develop new bowlers. To accomplish this mission, our team travels around the world to work with bowlers of all levels. Storm also partakes in several collegiate bowling camps throughout the year.

College bowling is important to Storm. We sponsor several college bowling teams every season and work with the coaches as much as we can to ensure that their bowlers are prepared for tournament season. This preparation starts with student athletes before they are admitted to the school of their choice. Our team at Storm also works with coaches at these camps who use them as an opportunity for scouting prospective players for their program.

Mount Mercy University

The purpose of Storm’s involvement in collegiate bowling camps is to improve students’ understanding of bowling ball technology, how it shaped the present, and to train students to recognize when certain elements might be appropriate in one environment and not another.

Upon completion of the course, students will be primed for an elevated level of the sport through a deepened understanding of the physics and chemistry behind the engineering of a bowling ball. Through this, and other practical applications, the decisions made in the adjustment and arsenal selection process will come easier and will be made with the utmost confidence.

Here are a few of the topics covered in these seminars:

  • The evolution of bowling balls
  • The engineering, physics, and chemistry behind the manufacturing of the balls
  • Understanding ball motion through an enhanced understanding of Storm’s Pin Buffer layout system
  • Internal and external controlling elements of ball technology
  • Building an arsenal
Wichita State University

These camps seem to grow every year with more and more youth showing interest in competing at the collegiate level. The passion for the game at this level continues to inspire us to teach these student athletes as much as we can in these short sessions.

Each camper leaves with a better understanding of the bowling balls that they put into their bags and how to utilize them for tournaments throughout the year. We love seeing the bowlers continue to work hard on what they learn at camp when they go home. Our only stipend is seeing their medals and trophies hoisted on the lanes throughout the season.