4 Bowling Players Share How They Pack Their Bags for Training and Tournaments

Bowling is a great sport!

But just what should you pack for training and tournaments? What do you need besides you favorite bowling ball – and what’s the best way to transport your bowling balls?

To improve how we pack our bags, we have talked with 4 experienced bowling players and asked them to share their best advice.

Read on and learn from their best tips and tricks (all the bowling players have lots of experience, so they really know what they are talking about!).

Man with bowling balls

The 4 Experts

Warren Friedl
Bowled for more than 60 years so far, ran bowling centers, owned a bowling store (pro shop) for 26 years, coached bowlers, member of the International Bowling Media Association (IBMA) and wrote about bowling in major bowling publications (Bowlers Journal International Magazine, Pro Shop Operator Magazine) as well as websites and blogs, Charter member of International Pro Shop and Instructors Association (IBPSIA) and a 20-year member. Live in suburban Chicago, IL. Parents bowled, I grew up loving it.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all bowling players bring?

Never keep everything together when traveling to bowl. If anything happens to your equipment, you are done. Always keep your shoes and accessories together and with you (airplane carry-on) but separate from balls that will go in the baggage compartment, a significantly colder environment. If an airline loses your equipment, they will replace the cost of the equipment but you will NOT be able to bowl well with all new stuff. At least with shoes and accessories, you can make needed adjustments as necessary to replacement balls, if you have the means to replace them immediately. If traveling by car, be wary of hot or cold car rides, both temperature extremes can effect equipment performance. Always seek to get equipment, balls shoes and accessories to room temperature before bowling.

How do you bring things with you?

Bowling bags are made to move bowling balls and equipment around easily. Single to multiball bags will allow ease of movement depending on how many balls you own and actively use, expect the more you have to carry, the more time it will take to get from place to place, lane to lane. Invest in rolling bags when necessary. Most manufacturers have significant warranties on their bags, upwards of five years. A US company, KR Strikeforce has been assembling bags in the Chicago suburbs for years and years and first initiated a five-year warranty more than 10 or 20 years ago, on KR Brand and Brunswick brand bags. The Ebonite brands: Columbia, Ebonite, Hammer, and Track also provide excellent workmanship and a multi-year warranty on their bags.

What are your top tips for other bowling players?

Bowlers will occasionally make a mistake by either bringing too many balls to an event or to few. If you don’t plan on bowling a number of games bringing everything thing you own (more than four or five bowling balls) can sometimes be confusing especially if you won’t be bowling that many games. Your arsenal of balls should provide options if the number of games could result in lanes becoming very dry, you should have a “tool” for this option. Also, a ball for dry lanes could double as a spare ball. If your style, if you are a speed dominant player or don’t roll with much of a hook, you might have trouble with very slick lanes.

But if you only plan on bowling a few games, bringing only your favorite ball might leave you in a position where your choice is too much or not enough. You can not outperform bad ball reaction. Like a golfer, equipment choices, like multiple clubs in a golf bag, allow a bowler to have a tool (a bowling ball) better suited for each typical lane condition. Some lane conditions could be very dry, some more medium, some very oily. Having a ball to help handle different conditions, will get you closer to success by allowing you to better match up to a particular lane condition. Depending solely on your bowling skill, when others utilize more targeted ball choices, puts a player at a disadvantage.

Visit Warren Friedl’s website

Lani Chin
Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. I’ve been a San Francisco, California resident since 1983. I first started bowling as a child with my family on late Sunday nights during summer school break. I also participated in a few organized leagues in school and work in Ohio. I stopped bowling when I moved to San Francisco. I didn’t get back into bowling until 2008 when my employer sponsored a pizza lunch and bowling league. I joined a sanctioned league a few months later. Three years later, I joined another league at another bowling center. Other than bowling in sanctioned leagues, I also bowl local and out-of-town tournaments nearly every month. I was appointed as a San Francisco USBC board member in late 2017.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all bowling players bring?

  • Extra socks – I don’t always wear socks with my street shoes or like to wear the same socks I wore with my work shoes. I won’t wear bowling shoes without socks. I never have to worry about needing socks in my bag.
  • Super glue – My left foot always hits the toe guard on the inside of my right shoe. I keep glue to put the loose piece back in place.
  • Hair ties and clips – to keep hair and sweat out of the way while I’m bowling.

All 3 keep me from being distracted and able to focus on bowling.

Useless things: Books, magazines, games/puzzles. If I’m not bowling, I’d rather be watching or talking to other bowlers. Not reading.

How do you bring things with you?

Storm Rolling Thunder: 2-ball rolling bag that carries shoes and accessories like tape, cleaner and scissors

Baggallini purse and/or Victoronix laptop/shoulder bag.

I have multiple pouches to organize tweezers, hair ties, business cards, nail clippers, lip balm and contact lens drops.

All my bags have to have outside and inside pockets. I then know what contents are in each pouch or pocket. I can reach for it and not have to take extra time to fumble through to find what I need. I often find I don’t have enough room in my bags.

What are your top tips for other bowling players?

Get a durable, sturdy bag with quality wheels. It’s a struggle to carry bowling balls when a bag breaks or doesn’t roll.

Bowling equipment is next to impossible to pack light. My suggestion is to be organized as much as possible.

Visit Lani Chin’s website

Parker Bohn III
My home is Jackson, NJ. I am currently bowling the PBA50 Tour in Anderson, Indiana.

Bowling is something that I LOVE to do and fortunately I have had a LOT OF SUCCESS doing it. It is a sport that many people can do and enjoy.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all bowling players bring?

I start by bringing a wide variety of Brunswick Bowling balls with me to conquer any condition on the lanes. Bowling balls are like a set of golf clubs and you need the right one for the right shot. I also bring tape, towels, Abralon Pads, slide soles and heels for my shoes, extra grips, anything that YOU as a bowler have used in the past should be in your bag in case YOU need it again. If you needed it before, chances are you will need it again. All these things will allow you to play the sport at the highest level. The biggest thing is to adjust your ball to fit your hand at ALL TIMES.

Some of the most useless things would be different weighted bowling balls. You should ALWAYS roll the same weight regardless of a strike ball or a spare ball every shot you roll. Your old score sheets UNLESS you have notes to help you about a certain pattern OR characteristic’s about certain centers.

How do you bring things with you?

I travel by plane or car all of the time. I have my equipment in double or triple ball bags. I ALWAYS use Brunswick equipment… I organize my stuff to make sure that I am 100% ready at all times for whatever may be thrown my way… ALWAYS be prepared….

Visit Parker Bohn III’s website

Max Gross
I am from Fort Worth, Texas and now live in Lakeville, Minnesota. I started bowling at 10 years old when a 24-lane bowling center was built only four blocks from my house. In an era before cable TV, the Internet and video games, I found pinball, pool and plenty of social entertainment at the bowl.

What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all bowling players bring?

I’m not sure what’s “common” in most bowlers’ bags, so here are a few of my “must have” items in my bag. Towels for my ball and a sweat towel for my face and hands. I also use terry cloth wrist wraps from the tennis shop to help keep my hands dry, especially my bowling hand. (It’s hot in Texas, I perspire a lot.) A soapstone, a wire brush and a little steel wool in case I need to give my slide shoe more grip or more slide. I have an organized case full of fitting tape in various textures and widths. I also carry “thumb tape” worn on the back of the thumb in various widths and textures. This item allows me to adjust my thumb holes to fit my hand and achieve a clean release without “gripping” the ball. I also carry a log book for recording the number of games bowled with each ball so I can determine when a ball needs to be serviced by the pro shop.

The most useless thing people bring is talcum powder used by some newbie bowlers to create more slide on the delivery foot. It’s not legal by USBC rule as a foreign substance on the approach and it is dangerous to other bowlers that need to find grip on the approach to deliver the bowling ball. Talcum powder creates a fall hazard.

How do you bring things with you?

All my bowling bags fit two bowling balls. I usually carry two ball bags with four balls to bowling events. One bag is a roller board type bag that has a compartment for shoes and another pocket or two for items like interchangeable soles and heels. It also holds a ball cleaning towel and a bottle of cleaning liquid.

What are your top tips for other bowling players?

It’s not possible to “pack light” in bowling since a ball weighs between 14 and 16 pounds. If you carry four balls like me, you are toting around 60 pounds of stuff in and out of the bowling center.

My biggest tip to other bowlers is to find a certified bowling instructor and take a lesson or two. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned bowler, a good instructor (not your bowling friend) can help you.

Visit Max Gross’ website

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