Bowling’s Lost Art by Ed Cotter

Bowling’s Lost Art by Ed Cotter

I watched the PBA’s Plastic Ball Championship and realized that there is a lost art in bowling.  In the early days of bowling, bowlers relied on wrist and hand position changes to achieve the desired affect on their ball.  With the aggressive equipment, bowlers tend to change their ball instead of changing wrist and or hand positions.  Coaching tends to work towards this also.  It’s easier to work with a bowler who has learned to replicate their wrist and hand position and change balls rather than changing their wrist and hand position.  I have to admit I fell into that trap too.  I helped propagate this as a coach by emphasizing to bowlers to have a 4-6 ball arsenal as well as a bowler by changing balls if I was struggling.  That way they can use the same hand and wrist position and just change the ball based on the lane condition at hand.

What I liked about the Plastic Ball Championship was it placed an emphasis on the bowler’s ability to affect the ball not the bowler’s ability to roll the ball and have the ball hook for them.  It also brought back another variable, speed.

I do have a question for everyone.  As an Association Manager and a coach, I am looking for opportunities for bowlers to challenge themselves.  Would bowlers be interested in participating in a Polyester/Plastic Ball Tournament?  I don’t have a cost as of yet, probably about $50-60.  I’m thinking Oct-Nov timeframe, since there are not a lot of tournaments during this timeframe.  Here’s the suggested format:

Polyester/Plastic Ball Tournament

Open to all bowlers, two divisions, singles only tournament

            Handicap – handicap will be 90% of 230

Averages will the previous season’s average, based on 21 games.  If no previous season average, the bowler will use their current season average based on 21 games.  If no current season average, the bowler will enter with the tournament average of 230.


NOTE: the bowler must pick their division.  Divisions will not be assigned by the tournament manager.


Bowling Ball Standards:

– Must be one of the following bowling ball types:

900 Global – Polyester Globe

AMF – Extreme

Brunswick – TZone, Vis-A-Ball

Clear Balls – Cranial, Cranial Tribal, Gambler, High Roller, Slot Machine, Watermelon

Columbia – Blue Dot, White Dot

Ebonite – Maxim, Skull

Elite – Alien Viz

Gem Tek – Pro Line Purple
Hammer – Big Blue Spare, Black Widow Clear

KR – Viz

Lane Masters – Arrow

Linds – Resale Ball

OTB (On The Ball) – Viz

Roto-Grip – Golden Globe, Spare Tire

Storm – Breeze, Ice Storm, Team Storm
Visionary – Infra-red Amulet

NOTE: if your ball type is not listed it must be approved by the tournament manager prior to arrival at the tournament.  Non-listed bowling ball approval will not be accomplished the day of the tournament.  If the ball is not on the list or pre-approved prior to the day of the tournament, it will be disqualified from the tournament.

– Bowling ball surface can be altered using no coarser than 600 grit. 

NOTE:  If the surface is altered, a signed letter by the individual accomplishing the resurface will be required stating the grit used.

– Finger weight and side weight – each will not exceed ½ ounce

NOTE:  weights must be verified in writing by the proshop person authenticating the weights.  The authentication must be provided to the tournament manager, no later than check-in, before allowing the bowler to participate in the tournament.  If you drill your own equipment it will need to be verified by another proshop person, self verification will not be allowed.  Match play qualifiers will have their balls verified again on-site by tournament management.  If a bowler is disqualified the next available qualifier will be verified to replace the disqualified bowler.


Tournament Format

Oil pattern will be the PBA Plastic Ball Championship pattern.

There will be 2 qualification rounds and a single game elimination match play round

First round – All entrants will bowl 3 games qualifying with half the bowlers advancing to the Second Round

Second Round – First round scores carry forward, all entrants will bowl 3 more games with half the bowlers advancing to the Match Play Round

Match Play Round – will be single game elimination until there is one bowler.  In the event a round has an odd number of bowlers, the highest seed remaining will receive a by to the next match.

            NOTE:  Lane assignments will be accomplished by blind draw for all rounds


All other USBC rules will apply.


Since this would be a singles format, per USBC Rule 400, youth would be able to compete.  Any prize money a youth wins would be paid in a scholarship and adults would be paid by check.

I welcome any feedback in the comments box below.  Responses will determine if this tournament happens or not.  If you like it, pass it along, have others respond.  This is your chance to speak out.  Thank you for taking the time to respond.  Good luck and good bowling.

One response to “Bowling’s Lost Art by Ed Cotter

  1. I think it would be a good idea. Because the kids and adults would be able to participate together.
    And it would give them a sense of how the real good bowlers do so well and why they do so well.

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