Why Do Bowling Balls Get Stuck? (Ways To Make Them Smooth)

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If you recently noticed your bowling ball is getting stuck even when you throw it with extra force, it can leave you worried. You might not be sure about the actual reason and why it happens. It might compel you to ask, why do bowling balls get stuck?

Bowling balls can get stuck due to a variety of reasons. One of the main factors can be that the ball requires cleaning and has excessive oil buildup on the coverstock. Older balls tend to get stuck more than newer ones, as the former can develop a rougher surface with time. Resurfacing will help smooth and polish the ball and prevent it from getting stuck. Lane conditions can also cause the ball to stop in odd spots.

Seeing only your bowling ball getting stuck while others play with ease can demotivate you. Not to worry, as this guide here will help you identify what is causing this situation and how you can prevent it easily.

What Causes The Bowling Balls To Get Stuck?

Many people enjoy bowling because it is an easily accessible sport and fun to play. It is a great satisfying feeling to see the pins getting knocked down. But, sometimes, you may encounter a few problems while playing this game that can affect your gaming experience.

One such problem you might face is your bowling ball getting stuck. If this happens persistently, it can be a little frustrating for you. Many reasons can cause the ball to stick in unexpected places on the lane surface. The most common is when your bowling ball accumulates too much oil and dirt on the coverstock.

The alley balls are drenched in oil, leading them to get stuck. Similarly, if you use a relatively older ball, their chances of getting stuck are much higher. They might develop small cracks on the surface, taking away their smooth performance.

Sometimes, the lane surface might also be one of the factors. More oil will accumulate on and within the ball if you play on heavily-oiled lanes. It will cause the sphere to get stuck more if you do not wipe it regularly.

New VS Old Bowling Balls; Which Stuck Often?

Older bowling balls tend to get stuck often compared to a new ball, but it is not the case every time. It depends more upon the condition of the ball rather than its age. For instance, if you possess a ball for a long time but maintain it in a good state, cleaning and bleeding when required, the ball will give you a better pin-hit score.

The problem arises when the old ball is not taken care of, resulting in oil and dirt buildup. Similarly, how you store the bowling sphere and the number of games you play with it can influence its performance over the longer run.

Newer bowling balls have a lesser chance of getting stuck. It is because they are not too greasy and smoother than older ones. However, it is not easy to buy a new ball every time as they are on the expensive side. So, ideally, it is better to keep your personal ball well-maintained to avoid any unwanted situation.

Different Ways To Make Bowling Balls Smooth:

If your bowling ball is consistently getting stuck, you might want to avoid it. There are different ways through which you can overcome this issue. Let’s have a glance at some of them!

  1. Frequent cleaning

So you plan a day out with your friends to go bowling. While playing, if you notice only your ball is getting stuck while other players are playing fine, it might indicate the problem is with your ball. You need to clean it and remove all excess oil, hindering your ball movement.

You can wipe off the ball with a microfiber cloth to give it a quick clean. The ball condition gets slightly better, giving the bowler more control and consistency in the shots. It will also minimize the chances of the ball getting stuck.

  • Resurfacing the ball

If the problem persists even after cleaning the ball, it might need resurfacing. The condition of the ball’s coverstock can impact its performance in the lane. Resurfacing allows you to modify the ball and give it a more polished surface. It restores the sharp edges on the pores of the ball and deep cleans them, enabling the ball to grip the lane surface better.

It, in turn, will reduce the chances of the ball getting stuck in odd places and revive its former potential. Resurfacing helps in giving life back to your ball that is slowing down. Also, this cleaning method is a lot cheaper than purchasing a brand new ball.

  • Changing the ball

If you have already tried the above steps and still your bowling ball is getting stuck, it might the time to change your ball. After playing with it in multiple subsequent matches, it can develop cracks and scratches on the coverstock. Even resurfacing may not be enough to bring the ball back to its original state. So, it is the right time to let go of your previous ball and buy a new one. It would be much better to drill a customized ball for yourself as it will provide you with much more control and power.

Do Personal Balls Get Stuck More Than House Balls?

Many people believe that personal balls tend to get stuck more than house balls available at the bowling alleys. Though it is possible, it is not the case every time. The asymmetrical core of the personal balls can lead to odd landing spots. But, the occurrence of it is minimal.

Your bowling ball getting stuck is more a matter of the physical state of the ball itself. Thus, if your personal bowling sphere is in better shape than a house ball, it won’t be stuck. The same rule applies to alley balls as well.

Sum Up About it

Although bowling is a fun sport, it can, at times, test your patience, especially when your ball is not performing up to the mark. If it gets stuck on the return, it might be due to several reasons, and the leading one is greasiness. As the bowling lane contains oil, they start depositing over the ball surface and slows it down. Older balls possess a higher chance of getting stuck than newer ones. They might need some cleaning and polishing.

Picture of Shmulik Dorinbaum

Shmulik Dorinbaum

I play bowling almost daily, and on the days I'm not? I'm writing about my day and what I need to do to improve myself as a better bowling player.

Picture of Shmulik Dorinbaum

Shmulik Dorinbaum

I play bowling almost daily, and on the days I'm not? I'm writing about my day and what I need to do to improve myself as a better bowling player.

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