December 5, 2011

Resin vs. Plastic: A Corner Pin Case Study

I finally found some time to go out and practice my spare shooting, more specifically the corner pins. I decided to dust off my old Brunswick Zone plastic ball and try that out as many of my single pin misses on Thursday were the result of the ball hooking left of the pin. Since this outing was strictly to work on my corner pin shots, I didn't bother to look at the scores.

For reference, I shot at the 7- and 10-pins with both balls so I could have a control group (Python) and a variable group (Zone). I know, this is way too much like science, but it was the best way I could think of to evaluate the pros and cons of using each ball. Using my Python as I have in league play, I was 9 for 10, or 90%, shooting both the 7- and 10-pin. These are much better numbers than what I have been putting up during the league. Using the Zone, I was 9 for 11, or 82%, shooting the 10-pin and 8 for 12, or 67%, shooting the 7-pin. I also went 2 for 2 shooting the 4-pin and missed an 8-pin using the Zone.

So looking at the above data, it appears that I am more consistent and reliable using the Python; however, there are a few differences between this practice session and league play. One is that I am just not used to throwing the plastic ball. It fit better than I remembered and I was able to get a good release, but my instincts on adjustments were not where they are with the Python. Also, there was more oil on the lanes than on Thursdays, which helped eliminate that hook issue I encountered last week. The Python would grab on just a bit when shooting the 7-pin, and would straighten out when shooting the 10-pin. The Zone stayed true to it's trajectory the entire length of the lane.

One big variable that was entirely my fault is that I went to a different bowling center. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't choose this center instead because I had a coupon, its closer to my house, less likely to be busy, and I wanted to get home in time for the Steelers' 1PM kickoff. They all played a factor. But I also chose this center because I thought it would best emulate the lane conditions I see on Thursday nights, since they would be freshly oiled. As I have mentioned in previous posts, my house tends to have very dry lanes on Sunday mornings.

So what do I take away from all of this? I think that with some practice I can become just as accurate a spare shooter with the Zone as I am with the Python. I agree that plastic is better for shooting corner pins, but I still think I will rely on the Python for every other shot. During the league, I will make a judgement based on the lane conditions whether or not I feel that the plastic will be the more consistent shot as the night goes on and the lanes break down. But all in all, I think this was a successful experiment and I am excited for Thursday night.


  1. Zach, I hope to do something similar in a practice session soon. I like the methodology you used.

    I'm becoming more and more comfortable with my plastic spare ball, but just on 6-10s and 10s. At some point, I'd like to extend it to the 7 pin and the 4-7 but for now, I'm doing ok with on those leaves with my strike ball. I use my strike ball for every other leave.

    The 10 pin is not as heart stopping as it used to be, and that's a huge thing for me. At one point, I'd see a 10 pin and pretty much concede an open frame before I even attempted it. Dark days!

    Good luck on Thursday!

  2. I think this week I am going to try like you suggest and use the plastic on 6- and 10-pins only. If the lanes seem to be really dry, then I might use it for the 7-pin as well.

    There was a point a few years back where making the 10-pin was automatic. I'm trying to remember what I did to get so good at it, but I suspect it had something to do with the lane conditions at that particular center.

  3. There's something beautiful about watching a plastic spare ball go so straight cross lane. Good luck tonight!