Why Even the Pros Use a Spare Ball

In the world of professional bowling, spare shooting is the unsung hero, the dark horse that ensures a player's survival. Strikes may steal the spotlight, but without the finesse of spare shooting, sustained success on unforgiving lane patterns remains an elusive dream.

As we've delved into in our previously, the intricate combination of oil patterns, ball dynamics, and scoring pace is the beating heart of the sport. Never does lane oil coat the lane with uniformity. Enter performance bowling balls, crafted to hook across the surface and dominate oil patterns. Yet, therein lies the paradox—a hooking ball, essential for strikes, can become a nemesis when it comes to picking off spares.

To ascend to the echelons of spare shooting excellence, one must master the art of straight shooting, rendering the lane conditions mere background noise.  Take the oil pattern out of play.  Here the spare ball is an unsung hero, a weapon that eliminates the influence of oil patterns when precision is paramount.

The polyester spare ball reigns supreme for those seeking the purest path. Its minimal hooking tendencies make it a reliable companion for straight-shooting endeavors. But, like any hero, it has its detractors; some bowlers feel that seeing the plastic ball “back up” through the oil is too difficult.  However, there's an alternative for those who desire a different direction. 

If plastic balls are too straight because you’ve either used resin to shoot spares for a long time, you bowl on a lot of oil, or you’re very speed dominant, you can go the route of many players on the PBA tour, a dry-lane urethane ball.

Drilled weak, untouched by cleaning or scuffing, and left to lane shine. This subtle urethane ally provides a delicate footprint on the lane, reducing the risk of falling into the gutter due to this footprint.  Many PBA bowlers will use this option, opening their hand and taking revs out of the equation.  Yet, bowlers with significant axis rotation may find this option hooks too much for their style of play.

Whether you stand in the polyester or urethane camp, the spare ball becomes the great equalizer—a simplifier of the spare game's complexities. It grants you the liberty to wield the same angles and strategies, unteffected by patterns and surfaces. In the realm of spare shooting, choose your weapon wisely and watch your scores improve.  

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