Bowling Accessories & Equipments

Bowling, and in particular ten pin bowling, is a sport with a fairly sizable following today. From its origins in ancient Egypt and Germany, it has grown to have an international audience centered on America and the United Kingdom. The basic objective of the game is to roll a bowling ball down a long lane to hit objects called bowling pins placed at the other end.

With the popularity of bowling (especially ten pin bowling), many bowling accessories have been designed to further enhance the experience. Apart from the basic equipment necessary to the game, such as the bowling balls themselves, and the bowling shoes, there are other accessories available.

The best bowling accessories differ from bowler to bowler. While one bowler may prefer fitting tape, another may prefer insert tape. While one bowler may prefer grip balls, another may prefer non-slip creams. However, there are a few bowling accessories that everyone should consider:

Bowling Balls

Motiv Combat Tank Bowling Ball

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The bowling ball is of course one of the important pieces of equipment necessary for the sport. Regulation balls measure eight and a half inches in diameter, and are nowadays made of a material called polyurethane. They range in weights from eight pounds or so for training balls up to sixteen pounds used in competitions. In ten pin bowling, three finger holes are drilled into each bowling ball, with one hole each for the thumb, the middle finger, and the ring finger. The surface is otherwise highly smooth, and is designed to interact well with the oiled wooden lanes currently being used almost everywhere. Customized bowling balls are available, and these holes can be drilled to fit the players’ fingers more precisely. This customization can actually result in the player being able to use a heavier ball than otherwise.

The density and balance of the bowling ball may also be adjusted, within limits set by regulating bodies. These limits were set to prevent the untoward exploitation of technological possibilities that could undermine the sport by making performance less skill-based and more equipment-based. At present, players still have some leeway on modifying their custom balls for their own preferences, but not in any major way that could lead to unfairness.

More about the bowling balls:
>> Best Bowling Ball Reviews
>> Bowling Ball for Kids
>> Best Urethane Bowling Balls

Bowling Shoes

Dexter Bowling - Mens - SST 8 Pro

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Bowling shoes are the other necessary pieces of equipment for any player. Bowling shoes feature sliding soles which make it easier for players to execute the distinctive sliding lunge when releasing the ball. The entire process of bowling, from sizing up the lane, aiming, and taking steps forward before sliding and releasing the ball is often called the approach.

Bowling shoes are the other necessary pieces of equipment for any player. Bowling shoes feature sliding soles which make it easier for players to execute the distinctive sliding lunge when releasing the ball. The entire process of bowling, from sizing up the lane, aiming, and taking steps forward before sliding and releasing the ball is often called the approach. The swinging motion of the arm holding the bowling ball is also synchronized with the steps of the approach, which can number either three or four. The entire sequence is ideally executed smoothly, with the final sliding lunge imparting as much momentum as possible to the released bowling ball. Bowling shoes make this slide easier and more comfortable – in fact, it’s hardly possible to do, with normal shoes whose soles are made for traction rather than sliding. There are specialized bowling shoes that feature a sliding sole on the sliding foot, and a traction sole for the other.

Bowling shoes are designed to ease and facilitate the sliding motion required at the last step of the approach, when releasing the ball. Bowling shoes are made with soles (the part of them near the ball of the foot) that can slide easily against the treated wooden floors of most modern bowling alleys.

Some bowling shoes have one foot designed for easy sliding, with the other designed for greater traction. These special bowling shoes are thus designed with the left- or right-handedness of the particular player in mind. These so called performance bowling shoes are made in this way to further help the player in the proper approach. After all, only one foot needs to slide and traction on the other can help the player maintain proper control all throughout the approach.

These equipments – bowling balls and shoes – are usually available for use or rent at most bowling alleys. Bowling balls are usually provided for free, while shoes have to be rented. These so called house equipment are fine for beginners and casual players. Only professionals and tournament players, in general, have any need for getting customized balls or special bowling shoes.

Bowling Shoe Covers

Shoe covers are also available to help protect the bowling shoes’ soles when not on the lane. This is important because damage to these soles may mean that sliding is hampered. Walking around with unprotected bowling shoes is a sure way to get them damaged pretty quickly. Of course, another option apart from using these shoe covers is to just use a different pair of shoes and then change into bowling shoes only at the lane. Unless you never plan on leaving your lane to hit the restroom or the bar, you are definitely going to want to have shoe covers to protect your shoes. Of course, if you forget them, you can always just take off your shoes!

Bowling Gloves

Robby's Thumb Saver Glove

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Bowling gloves are meant to provide greater grip, just like most athletic gloves. What is special about these gloves is that the middle finger, ring finger, and thumb are left bare. This is because these fingers are meant to be inserted into the three finger holes in each ten pin bowling ball. These bowling gloves are used by professionals to allow them to have shallower finger holes in their custom balls. The gloves allow them to get a good grip on the ball without having to insert their fingers as deeply into the holes. A shallow grip can then be translated to greater ball control and hooking power.

Fitting Tape or Insert Tape

Fitting tape or insert tape – the difference between these two is that insert tape goes into the ball’s holes, while fitting tape goes around one’s fingers. These can improve the fit considerably, improve control, grip friction upon release, as well as help reduce blisters, cuts, or calluses. For those who would prefer to use insert tape, there are important accessories called insert removers.

See Saws

Keep your ball like new. For bowling ball care, there are cloth pouches called see-saws. These are designed to hold the ball well, and to wipe off any excess oil that the ball might have picked up from the lane. This helps keep the ball clean and in prime condition. In addition, removing the oil can help to keep the ball more controllable and less likely to skid upon reuse.

Tip: You can also use ball cleaner. Read our guide here.

Grip Aids

No matter what kind you get – ball or cream – you are going to want and need at least one.

Skin Patches

Bowling can be a rough sport… Well, at least, if you look at the hands of an avid bowler you might think so. Sores, calluses, and blister are not uncommon. Protect your hands with skin patches.

These are just a few of the most basic bowling accessories that you should consider putting into your accessory bag. If you are starting fresh, you may even consider buying a bowling accessory bag that comes complete with bowling accessories. Then as you play more, you will find that you have certain preferences, and you can buy your bowling accessories accordingly. Getting a bowling bag can be a good idea if one finds that one has a lot of bowling accessories already. These bowling bags are usually made to hold one ball, and come with pockets for various accessories to be placed into.

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Written by Shannon Cothran
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