Thursday, March 4, 2010

The 10 pin

Excusez mon français, but I f$&king hate the 10 pin. It sits back in that corner and just grins at me with a stupid little smile, daring me to try to hit it. It always taunts me with the same little chant, "You just nailed the pocket, and I didn't fall. Ha ha. F*#k you!"

So, here's a short history of my history with the 10 pin. For my first couple of seasons of bowling, the 10 pin really wasn't any different than any other pin. Then, I started throwing a hook. It wasn't much of a hook, so I quickly figured out what I needed to do to collect the 10. Over time, my rotation has gotten stronger and stronger, and over the last month or so, the 10 pin has become very difficult for me to hit. In order for me to get the ball into the corner, I need to do one of two things. I have to throw the ball with everything I have to get the speed up around 20 mph, or I have to throw it so far outside that it runs an inch from the gutter for 30 feet. I find these shots very difficult to accomplish. The latter takes perfect precision, and when I really put a lot of muscle into a shot, I lose a lot of accuracy.

So, yesterday I bowled a few practice games, and in one of them, I threw every ball at the 10 pin, a grand total of 20 shots. Strangely, I ended with a score of 69. Anyway, of those 20 shots, probably three of them would have felled a solitary 10. I was at wit's end.

As I'm leaving, I talk to Adam, who is the closest thing we have to a pro around here. I told him I wanted his advice on a spare ball. He said, "You need a Columbia-300 White Dot." That's the ball up there at the top of the post. We pulled out the catalog and looked at them. He said it would cost me $65 with the drilling included. He got out the order form, but I put the kibosh on the order. I feared for the future of my testicles if I came home to the boss after buying my third bowling ball on a whim.

Once I got home, it only took me about six hours before I got the cajones to bring up the subject with my wife, and I tried to be tactful. I explained my conundrum. My intent was to buy a ball that I will only use for a single shot: the solitary 10. Maybe I'll use it for a 6-10, too. This seems a bit over the top, but I explained that the solitary 10 is one of my most common leaves, and I just can't pick it up anymore. Not surprisingly, my wife, who is quite saintly in her ability to put up with my bad habits like bowling, golf, fishing, skiing, etc., was mildly supportive.

So, what do I do next? Of course, I go to to read customer reviews of the White Dot. There were two of them. Here is what they say:

Review 1: I love the Columbia 300 White Dot. Great for 10 pins (for righties) and 7 pins (for lefties), not so good for hook unless you force it on the bowling ball.

Review 2: I purchased this ball when listed under SV. Thank god I did. I used to struggle with ten pins. I average anywhere from 210-221, depending on the league but always had problems picking up my ten pins. This ball will not move, it goes straight as an arrow. It also looks really cool going down the lane. I recommend this ball to anyone looking for a good spare ball!

STOP TEMPTING ME INTERNET! So, here's where I stand. I really really really want to buy one of these balls, but before I do, I am going to try out the Green Lady. This is my old 13 lbs Columbia Scout Reactive to see if I can throw it into the corner. Like any dude who really wants to buy a new toy, I have a great excuse for why that's not a good idea. I want a 14 lbs ball to match the weight of my current ball.


  1. Okay. Finally a post I can chime in on... Use a house ball for the 10-pin (or other single/corner spares); I've seen good bowlers do it. Palm up, deliver straight as an arrow, and hard (cuts down on the wander factor as the ball travels toward the pins). Or by a cheap-ass plastic ball.

    I don't have enough of a hook that it matters. We all had 10-pin trouble on Tuesday. Mine was just poor aim at the mark. If I pull my head out (so I can see better0 and shoot at either the 4 on the left or the 6 on the right, I can get the spares.

    Now, not to sound like I don't practice what I preach, I made a pact with myself (rather than with the devil) that when I tip a 600 series, I'm buying myself a plastic spare ball... Mostly just to look cool.

  2. Well, the White Dot is a cheap plastic spare ball. As for house balls, I actually pulled a couple of the rack yesterday exactly for this purpose. I simply can't find one that suits me. I love your idea of waiting for the 600 series to do it, but of course my response is that I can't get to 600 without a spare ball!

  3. I've been trying to figure out how to get more revs on the ball and my latest theory is that I'm not getting my thumb out early enough (or at all). I can find the pocket with my low rev rate on freshly oiled lanes by rolling it very slow but c'mon, my wife throws it faster than me.

  4. I was there about four months ago. I'd slow it down to 11 or 12 to get the ball to curve. You are right that the thumb needs to come out early. Also, I have found that adding a strong follow through is what really gets it to spin.

  5. How do you get the thumb out on the down stroke without dropping the ball? I still haven't figured that out yet. My follow through is a mess, high one day and non existent the next. Something to work on next practice!

  6. You clearly have thumb anxiety! It comes out just before the ball reaches your ankle. Check out that video I posted in the "how to throw a hook" post:

  7. I went and tried it yesterday and after 5 games I still couldn't get my thumb out on the downswing without dropping the ball prematurely. I hate this game! But I can't wait to bowl again tonight lol

  8. Sorry, MD. You really shouldn't listen to me. It will not help your game. Good luck, tonight.

  9. The advice is good, the student not so good. I'll get it one day, I'm sure of it because I'm more impressed with the way a high rev, big curving ball looks than a high score. I know it should be the other way round but that's my Y chromosone talking.

  10. I hear you. That chromosome gets us into all kinds of trouble.


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