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#173628 - 12/04/12 12:30 AM Re: Is the modern bowling ball ruining our sport? [Re: Murdershaw]
HughScot Offline
Action Bowler

Registered: 10/19/09
Posts: 210
A/S/L: 76/M/NC
[quote=Murdershaw]....... I'm contributing the 50% loss in league bowlers from 1997 to 2007 due to the scoring environment.....quote]

I've said this before it is because of the huge increases in options avail. to everyone...including league bowlers. I've talked to guys who have bowled for 30+ years and they all say they have more to do today. There were less options for their money in '97.
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#173629 - 12/04/12 12:33 AM Re: Is the modern bowling ball ruining our sport? [Re: Murdershaw]
B-Hammer Offline
Legend

Registered: 04/19/09
Posts: 1818
A/S/L: 30/M/Bellingham WA
The modern bowling ball has SAVED the sport from being completely obscure.

As a culture we just demand more out of our sports, and more out of our technology. Just look at your TV, a 12" tube TV is not interesting enough, we need 60" LED screens with 7.1 DTS sound. Even something as simple as running isn't done with just a pair of converse all stars, if your into it you wear light weight composite material shoes, you run with heart monitors, GPS tracking, and pace accompanying mp3 audio.

Culture and sports just demand more, if we can analyze something we will, if we can improve something we will, that's just how society is. Even if the balls can't be improved upon, the athletes would improve their physical games to the point that people would still be complaining. Even the amateur league bowlers, or the 10 year old kid can break their game down, improve, and do better then their predecessor.

The modern bowling ball did not ruin the sport, it kept a sport relevant that in it's basic form is too simple to keep the masses interested. Sorry to those that long for the golden days, but either something is complex and has strategy or else it just isn't interesting enough.

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#173631 - 12/04/12 04:28 AM Re: Is the modern bowling ball ruining our sport? [Re: Murdershaw]
looseleftie Offline
Hall of Famer Contender

Registered: 01/31/09
Posts: 882
A/S/L: 45 m
Sadly bowling has had its "golden time"..

There are too many other options, and an infinite numbers of reasons for declining leagues/scratch tournaments and the like... The atomic bomb of a bowling ball, and short oil hasn't helped in one sense, but just pondering if all THS's were tougher and the atomic balls never appearing in the marketplace, would we still be in the same position with a declining bowling industry??? Any thoughts on this anyone?

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#173633 - 12/04/12 06:10 AM Re: Is the modern bowling ball ruining our sport? [Re: Murdershaw]
Joe Bowler Offline
2x Virtual League Champion

Registered: 04/09/09
Posts: 3824
A/S/L: 50s/M/MD
The tournament recap below is for those who like to complain about high tech bowling balls being responsible for today's high scoring environment. Look at the scores...using plastic bowling balls! They are indistinguishable from any other PBA tournament final. And, the finalists included power players (Jason Belmonte), strokers (Walter Ray Williams, Jr.) and an "amateur" bowler (Brian Ziesig), who won. Regardless of the ball, the lanes, the lights (you name it), the best bowlers will always adapt and rise to the top.

The Plastic Ball Championship required all players to use identical plastic bowling balls and is the one event on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour that turns back the clock on ball technology creating an equalized playing field and eliminating the reliance on today’s high-powered equipment.

PBA GEICO Mark Roth PLASTIC BALL CHAMPIONSHIP
AMF Babylon Lanes
West Babylon, N.Y., March 28

Final Standings
1, Brian Ziesig, Levittown, N.Y., 502 (two games) $25,000
2, Jason Belmonte, Australia 247 (one game) $13,000
3, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 517 (two games) $8,000
4, Wayne Garber, Modesto, Calif., 469 (two games) $6,000
5, Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa., 245 (one game) $5,000

Stepladder Results
Match One – Garber def. Machuga, 258-245
Match Two – Williams def. Garber, 280-211
Semifinal Match – Ziesig def. Williams, 255-237
Championship – Ziesig def. Belmonte, 247-247 with one ball sudden death roll-off, 10-9
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#173635 - 12/04/12 07:15 AM Re: Is the modern bowling ball ruining our sport? [Re: Murdershaw]
Dennis Michael Offline
Virtual League Champion

Registered: 12/11/05
Posts: 9575
A/S/L: M/Barrington, Ill
Ball technolgy is geared to do one thing, and that is to react to the dry on the lane.

It's not the stromger balls. It's the easy oil patterns that are ruining the game. With our new lanes at our local Chain House, the lane mechanic has struggled to simplify the shot because the averages in all leagues are down 15+ pins.

He says it is his job to make the lanes easier to raise scores. Because, that's what bowlers want.

This is a mis read, as far as I am concerned. Real bowlers should learn how to compete on this new surface. Don't change the condition to make scoring easier. That's not bowling.

As Joe said, make all of the conditions a Sport shot or harder, and you will see scores drop to where there truly would be a difference between scores of house bowlers and pros.

I occasionally bowl with an 84 y/o who still averages 184. Every now and then, someone will ask him to bowl in pot games. His response is always the same. "Just oil the lanes from foul line to pin deck, and I'll beat any one of you 240 average bowlers."

Being a pro from the 50's when the lanes were laquered the full length, I believe he could. He does have over 65 300's recorded.
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#173636 - 12/04/12 08:47 AM Re: Is the modern bowling ball ruining our sport? [Re: Murdershaw]
Fin09 Offline
Virtual League Champion

Registered: 01/07/08
Posts: 1153
A/S/L: 51/M/Virginia Beach, VA
Bowling, while a sport, is still a business, and bowling centers keep their customers happy by giving them a chance to score. Going back to 1970s equipment won't bring back 1970s membership numbers. Back in the 70s, we didn't have cable TV, the Internet, cell phones, decent video games, or any of the hundreds of other choices that we have to occupy our time and spend our money on. I don't even remember there being much interest in soccer, so the kids who weren't playing football in the fall joined junior bowling leagues for $3-4/week. Now, most of those kids are running around on a soccer field on Saturday mornings. If you want to maintain or grow our membership numbers, you have to do it with kids. Now, most of the kids who bowl are doing so because at least one parent bowls, not because 12 of their friends bowl.
As far as the scoring pace goes (balls + lane conditions), it hasn't really given anyone an unfair advantage- we all have access to the same equipment. The best bowlers in the world are still winning, they're just doing it with higher scores. Instead of winning 215-209, they're winning 248-237. Not one 180 league bowler has walked into the Pro Shop, had a new reactive ball drilled, and walked out onto the lanes and won a PBA event. Ever. Just like no 10 handicap golfer has ever bought a new set of clubs, and taken them out onto the course and won a PGA event. The equipment is no substitute for the talent and hard work of the game's best, and it never will be.
The scoring environment does give bowlers a falsely inflated opinion of their abilities, especially if they are not aware of how different conditions can affect them. So what happens is that bowler takes his 200 league average and struggles to average 160 in a sport shot tournament, and gets a rude awakening, especially if he is crossing with someone who is hitting the shot and scoring. So now this bowler has to do something very difficult- he needs to look at himself in the mirror, and ask him a couple of questions- is he really as good as he thought he was, and does he want to put in the work to improve enough to compete at the next level. If he answered yes to the first question, he'll donate a few more times, then quit. If he answered no to the first and second question, he'll just quit right there. But, if he answered no to the first, and yes to the second, then he'll put in the work to improve enough to compete. That will involve lessons with a certified coach, practice, and donating a few times before cashing. There are a lot of bowlers who improve their league averages just by buying a new ball every year, and doing nothing to improve their game. These bowlers don't want to compete in sport shot tournaments, anyway.
So, has the scoring environment really ruined the game? I still don't think so. I'm still beating the guys I should beat, and by as much as I was 10 years ago (in a lot of cases by more, because I've continued to work on my game). I'm just doing it 238-214 instead of 210-186.
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#173638 - 12/04/12 09:12 AM Re: Is the modern bowling ball ruining our sport? [Re: Murdershaw]
Dennis Michael Offline
Virtual League Champion

Registered: 12/11/05
Posts: 9575
A/S/L: M/Barrington, Ill
Fin, regardless of the equipment or condition, a bowler still has to exhibit accuracy and repetition. I grant you that.

But, weak conditions and technolgy in balls has given the House bowler a false opinion of his ability. And, that shows up when bowling on tougher conditions.

Bowlers learn to swing, and crank, cause it looks cool. They don't learn to adapt and change lines when called for. They are not taught to read lanes, and only a few learn on theirown.

Most bowlers stay in 1 spot and try, and try to make the ball conform to what it used to do. They can't change to what the lane gives them. That shows inability to control the ball and its reaction or lack of. They complain about unfair conditions and blame everything but themselves.

If they were to learn this, there would be far less complaining and a lot more deveopment of real bowlers.
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#173644 - 12/04/12 10:27 AM Re: Is the modern bowling ball ruining our sport? [Re: BillinPhilly]
10PinGaloot Offline
Legend

Registered: 05/19/09
Posts: 2094
A/S/L: 65/m/ Woodburn, OR
Originally Posted By: BillinPhilly
If this is the wrong forum, then I am in the wrong forum.
I forgot what I meant when i said "this is the wrong forum", but I didn't mean it!

I think it would have been better if I'd said "you've stirred up a hornet's nest", which is the other phrase I was considering.

Several folks have given some really insightful comments here.

I agree with most of them! How to keep the game alive, for me, includes these things:

1 - "teach your children well." If the kids grow up enjoying it and getting better at it every year, they'll be more likely to continue as adults.

2 - separate the competitive leagues and tournaments from the fun bowlers. They are like oil and water. Both make money for the alley, but they don't mix. They shouldn't even be on the same lanes. It seems to me that concentrating on one aspect of the game (competition) versus the other (having fun) (or vice versa) ignores a large segment of the bowling population.

3 - make bowling more of a social activity, a community activity, a family activity.

4 - consider that bowling cannot support a large building on 2 acres of expensive property, so that building will have to include other income-producing activities to pay the rent. Check out Big Al's in Vancouver Washington, or google "bowling family fun center". That's the future of bowling - just a step up from Skee-Ball. (Jeez, I used to LOVE skee-ball as a kid).

5 - color the oil so folks can see it. The galoots of the world will still score the same, but it will be easier to teach them proper ways to play the lane.

6 - I remember when a group of folks from my office went to a little go-kart track (in 1979) with lots of turns in it. We all had fun, but I beat the pants off everyone because I knew something about racing and took the shortest fastest route through the turns. Was I cheating? No. I was just using my brains. Nothing you do to the sport of bowling will prevent strategy from being a large part of competitive bowling. For example, in bike racing, teams allow their chosen leader to draft other team members. It's just a part of the sport. There's no change you can make that will eliminate this aspect of the sport. It's called "gaming the system", and you'll always have folks who do it.

7. Read the book "Bowling Alone" - which btw is not about bowling - and you'll see that Hugh is right on the money.

8. In any city, there seem to be profitable and popular alleys and less popular, less profitable alleys. After all, it's a business, and a smart businessman will figure it out and beat the pants off competition (see #6 above). So instead of trying to change the sport, go around and look at a couple dozen alleys from a business perspective and figure out why the popular ones are popular. Then you'll have a better idea of how to attract more folks to the alleys.


Let's face it - bowling will never be an Olympic sport. Many folks don't even consider it a sport. It should be considered as a fun activity for the 90% who pay the bills at every bowling alley I've ever been to.

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#173647 - 12/04/12 11:48 AM Re: Is the modern bowling ball ruining our sport? [Re: Murdershaw]
CoachJim Offline
USBC Silver Coach

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 4665
A/S/L: Reston, Virginia USA
There is a common theme among most things that are going bad these days. That is, nobody wants to be the bad guy. We have the highest national debt in history and nobody wants to be the one to raise the taxes and cut all of the ridiculous run away spending that got us into this trouble in the first place. It's the same with bowling, we have had run away scoring conditions for as long as I can remember (which is longer than I care to admit :D). The fear of doing anything about it is that if we make conditions tougher and more respectable then people will quit bowling, well they are quitting anyway so why not do something about it now?

What to do? Why not make all sanctioned bowling on the USBC Open pattern, with a standard ball with no weight holes allowed? This way if you are averaging 200 where you are then it may mean something besides me thinking you are bowling on a skiball track with a ramp guiding the ball to the pocket. This way we will all know how we stand in the bowling world.

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#173650 - 12/04/12 12:16 PM Re: Is the modern bowling ball ruining our sport? [Re: CoachJim]
Rocket Offline
Virtual League Champion

Registered: 03/23/09
Posts: 1959
A/S/L: 45/male/Ohio
I dont think its the equipment at all, in fact when I can not get my reactive to do what I want I go to my plastic and score very well. I do not see less golfers on the golf course now that we have titanium drivers where a schlep like me can average 300 yard drives, ball that fly straighter and land softer.

I have a friend at work whose daughter is a phenom fast pitch softball pitcher, she has $200 cleats and $400 hybrid bats to help her stats but people still play the game. One thing I see is there is not much media exposure of bowling, schools don't pass out flyers any more about youth leagues starting etc etc.

I just read an interesting article on cell phone sales and the Droid O.S which now out sells all others. but the Ipad is the king of tablets. Why? How many droid tablet commercials do you see? How many Ipad? You have to market your product if you want people o buy it.
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