Checked equipment lately? Do it before too many league nights go by Replace what's missing or damaged

BOWLING

September 12, 1993|By DON VITEK

Chances are good that last spring you tossed your bowling equipment into the closet and never moved it until you headed for the league meeting this season.

It's not too late to check out everything and replace what's missing or damaged.

The bag -- maybe a little soap and water will do for now but if the handle or the straps are starting to show signs of extreme wear it's time to think about replacing it.

Shoes -- a bowling shoe may be more important than the ball. Because no matter how much or how little you bowl, no matter how expert you are, if you can't get proper traction or a proper slide you are in big trouble.

In a extreme situation you can do damage to ankles and knees. So you can forget the fact that your game is going to suffer if your shoes need to be replaced and start to think how you're going to suffer if you come to a sudden stop at the foul line.

You've heard of professional bowlers packing four or five pairs of shoes. They need them, but you probably don't.

Most folks bowl in one or two centers and the conditions on the approaches usually remain the same. If you're bowling in tournaments where you're in different centers frequently, then you might have to carry extra shoes.

Sure, you can rent shoes for a modest fee, but over a year that mod

est fee will pay for a new pair of shoes, and rental shoes never will fit exactly right.

On today's market, expect to spend in the range of $25 to $100. A reasonable price is in the $60-$70 area for a well-made shoe.

If your present shoes are in good repair but you're having difficulty finding traction or sliding, think about having them resoled.

Bowling balls -- Mike Lastowski, wrote in Bowlers Journal recently, that since 1980 American manufacturers have produced more than 475 different brands and models of bowling balls.

Things have reached the point where the market has so many different brands, makes, models, weights and constructions that is almost impossible to purchase a bowling ball without the help of a professional.

And buying a bowling ball today can be a major investment. It's easy to spend more than $100, and some balls cost in the $150- $200 range.

Don't purchase a bowling ball on impulse, and don't buy one becauseyou saw a pro use it on TV.

Talk to other bowlers about the pro shop they used, find out how the pro-shop personnel talked to them, find out what questions they were asked. And if they weren't asked a ton of questions about their game, go to another pro shop.

Because more important than the price of the ball is the level of expertise of the pro-shop operator. The pro-shop operator must have extensive knowledge to fit and drill a ball properly.

If you watch the pros on TV, you see and hear a lot about switching balls for changing lane conditions. It's common practice for a pro to use a different ball for shooting spares.

Does the average league bowler need more than one ball? More important than the frequency of bowling is the level of ability of the bowler in determining how many bowling balls he should use.

If your average is relatively low, say below 150, and you usually bowl in the same center, then a single ball is probably adequate. If your average ranges between 150 and 185, then it probably would make sense to think about two balls with different hooking capabilities.

If you're moving close to a 200 average, then you may want to add a ball with a maximum hook.

If your average is over 200 chances are that you already carry five or six balls and probably will add and subtract balls almost on a monthly basis.

One more very important fact: Don't expect a new ball to turn you into a superstar overnight. Practice, concentration and dedication is the road to that goal.

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