Greetings! I’m Andrew Jensen, but you can call me AJ. As the pro shop manager at Bowlersmart Rockford Cherry, I’m joined by Justin Mooney, a fellow employee. Today, we’re here to discuss inserts, also known as grips, which provide several benefits like increased ball rotation, improved comfort, and enhanced control. These elements are typically obtained through grips. Most of the decisions regarding these aspects can be made with the guidance of your trusted pro shop operator.
As a professional pro shop operator, it would be beneficial for you to ask relevant questions to identify the specific grip needs of your customers. There is a wide range of grips available in the market, such as those offered by Ultimate, Vice, Turbo, and even older options like Contour grips. Some enthusiasts may even have nostalgic memories of certain grip models. At our shop, we mainly deal with Vice and turbo grips, although turbo grips are not as popular. We acknowledge that there are other grips worth exploring based on individual requirements.
Let’s pass it over to Justin, who will elaborate on one particular grip that we frequently recommend to advanced players: the vacuum grips. It’s worth noting that there are more finger grip options available than most people realize. Finger grips aren’t limited to one type of drilling; there are oval and power lift styles, among others. In this context, vacuum grips have gained significant popularity, particularly among younger and advanced players. Vacuum grips offer more freedom and versatility for finger placement.
It’s important to understand that vacuum grips are not a distinct grip type; rather, they involve a different drilling process. From a product perspective, it remains consistent. The key difference lies in how pro shop operators like us drill the bowling ball. Essentially, the first inch of the ball is drilled using a larger bit.
When comes to drill bit sizes for finger grips in bowling balls, there are a few options to consider. Typically, a combination of inch and thirty-second bits is used. For instance, using an inch and a 64 as the top bit, followed by a normal 31 32nd bit for the rest, provides room for the grip to expand. This extra space, approximately a 16th of an inch, proves beneficial for those who experience finger swelling. By allowing the grip to adjust, it ensures a comfortable fit without sacrificing control during release.
To further enhance the fitting process, there are tools available, such as vacuum grips and ovals. Vacuum grips, featuring a flat edge for power lifting, offer an alternative option. The ovals, more commonly used, cater to a wider range of bowlers, accommodating different finger positions, including those who prefer to dig their fingers in deeper, like some two-handers. It’s important to work closely with a professional to determine the best approach for individual needs and preferences, as finding the optimal fit may require some experimentation.
Remember, the goal is to provide a comfortable and secure grip, allowing for a quick release without compromising control. Hence, exploring different options and seeking expert advice can greatly contribute to the overall bowling experience.
As you progress and gain knowledge, you might find yourself discussing the need for additional grip types in your ball handling. This could include better touch and improved feel for the swelling, as mentioned. These tools serve as valuable aids to ensure accurate sizing. Vacuum grips, in particular, offer a snug fit that allows your finger to comfortably slide into the grip, neither too loose nor too tight. This ensures a clean release when inserting your hand into the ball. Keep in mind that swelling isn’t always the only factor affecting your grip; consulting with a knowledgeable Pro Shop expert can help determine if any adjustments are required beyond addressing swelling. Two options worth exploring are Vice and Turbo, both of which offer power lift ovals. Additionally, Vice provides clear and purple options, while Turbo incorporates raised bumps on the grip’s opposite side for enhanced grip. These grips were traditionally used to help bowlers maintain a secure hold on the ball, preventing unnecessary concerns about losing control. Power ovals retain a slight oval shape with added lift, delivering increased control. Vice and Turbo offer these options, with the Vice grip displayed below the Turbo grip. Comparing them side by side will allow you to discern the differences more easily.
If you can recall everything, it appears that they come in various sizes and grips, such as 31/32 and 7/8. The smaller 7/8 grips are sometimes referred to as “lady grips,” although they are not exclusive to women. Previously, Mike Dole was known to use these smaller 7/8 grips for a more precise feel or to minimize altering the ball. As a pro shop, we tend to consider these factors more seriously. Don Mccune, who recently stepped in, does not use slugs on his drilled balls but still utilizes grips. So, it’s not necessary to follow a specific approach. There are options, like going with no grips and using fingertip grip instead. We also have the option of vacuum grips with the 7/8 grips, which are essentially the same as regular grips, except the top hole is slightly larger, about a sixteenth of an inch. This allows individuals with smaller fingers, like women and younger children, who may not fit into the size 31/32 grips yet since they only go down to a size zero. In fact, with the 7/8 grips, it’s possible to go even smaller, into negative sizes like 17 and 37. If a finger is too small for a regular grip, it’s not uncommon to drill a plain hole for that finger. It’s all about working with what’s available. Sometimes, we even use little tricks like wrapping electrical tape around the grip for a tighter fit.
Hey, just wanted to share something about tape wrapping on grip. It actually makes it a bit smaller, not a full size or even half, more like a quarter. But it’s enough to fit the person just right. Oh, and when we fit someone, sometimes they’re between sizes, you know? Like those pesky half sizes. So, using a bit of tape might be the best option. And don’t worry, it’s totally normal for pro shop operators to do it. We even use different bits for the vacuum grips. I know it’s getting into the technical side, but it’s important stuff. About those protruding grips, mine don’t do that, but it doesn’t mean you did something wrong. It just means I got used to cutting mine down. USBC actually has a rule about that, so keep it in mind when you go to Nationals and such. Cleaning them up with a razor blade or a buffing wheel works like a charm. And don’t forget to acetone them for that smooth finish. And hey, if you have any questions or want us to dive deeper into a topic, just drop a comment below. We’re here to share knowledge and help you guys out. Alright, until the next video, take care!