How to Choose the Perfect Weight for Your Bowling Ball

Confused, you look around and see everyone forcing their feet into the same sized skate, regardless of their different needs and sizes

Unfortunately, this is a common misconception that many beginner bowlers unknowingly fall into as they choose their bowling ball size and weight

Many bowlers believe that one size of bowling ball does fit all and that this universal sizing is the heaviest ball you can possibly throw

Now, we don’t know about you, but we certainly cringe at the thought of shoving our feet into skates that are three sizes too small and playing hockey in them

So why should you force yourself to use a wrong-sized bowling ball to bowl?

The bowling ball is perhaps the most important piece of equipment you need to play bowling successfully, and having the right fit for sizing will do your game wonders

While throwing with a heavyweight can indeed be a goal, you need to make sure that you are using a weight that is comfortable for your body and working your way up to heavier weights, not just starting with them right off the bat

Contents1 What Is the Heaviest Legal Bowling Ball Size for League Bowling?2 Why Does Bowling Ball Size Weight Matter?3 When Do You Know You Need to Change Your Bowling Ball Weight?4 How Heavy Should Your Bowling Ball Be?

How to Know Your Ball Is Too Heavy5 How to Know Your Ball Is Too Light6 Is There a Difference Between House Balls and Personally Drilled Balls?7 What Is Your Ideal Weight?8 Other Bowling Balls and Their Weight9 How do You Find Your Ideal Weight?91 Related Articles

What Is the Heaviest Legal Bowling Ball Size for League Bowling?

The heaviest legal ball you can use in bowling is a sixteen-pound ball, per USBC specifications and while some individuals may start off with this ball (which is great), others need to start with a ball that suits their body’s needs and work their way up to a heavier weight

The more popular weights for adult bowlers tend to range between 10 to 15 pounds, with male averages coming in at 14 to 16 pounds and females averaging around 10 to 14 pounds

Why Does Bowling Ball Size Weight Matter?

Having the right weight will allow you to throw consistent speeds that provide more pin action

For example, if your ball is too heavy, you will slowly but surely lose speed as practice progresses, and your body is weighed down by the ball

If your ball is too light, you will lose possible points from the lack of force you could be having with a heavier ball

Having a heavier ball is always the goal since the impact of the ball is dependent on speed times mass

You also want the weight that works best for you because of that speed factor

If you can only throw high speeds at the beginning of practice with a heavier ball and then lose speed, you are better off switching to a lower weighted ball where you can keep your speeds consistent

So if you can only throw a 16-pound ball at 10 mph as you practice (16×10=160), you would be better off with a 14-pound ball at 18 mph (14×18=252) for greater impact

When Do You Know You Need to Change Your Bowling Ball Weight?

Knowing when you need to change your bowling ball weight is key to elevating your game and gaining consistent, predictable bowling

Use a ball that is too light, and you decrease your pin impact and potential scores

How Heavy Should Your Bowling Ball Be?

The biggest indicator that you are using a bowling ball that is too heavy for you is your own body

Do you notice that the speed of your bowling ball drastically drops as you play more games, and your arm doesn’t have enough stamina to maintain consistent strong throws?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then chances are you are bowling with a ball that is too heavy for you

Bowling with a heavy bowling ball can be great for your game, and working towards heavier weights is definitely a goal you want to strive for

However, if you are injuring your body by using a heavy ball that you are not ready for, you are actually hurting your chances of getting to a point where you can use that ball comfortably

The constant strain your muscles and joints undertake as they try to withstand a weight that they haven’t properly been prepared for can cause serious injury

Listen to your body and work your way up the weights, keeping yourself at a comfortable level that doesn’t leave you sore and aching

If throwing your bowling ball feels consistently easy, then it might be time to move up a weight level

Your goal should always be to (safely) move up in weight in bowling balls due to the force increase it provides you

If your ball is feeling easily thrown or you find yourself maybe catching a lot of air as you throw it, then you have good indicators that you should try the next weight level up

Try using a house ball with the next weight size up for a few practices and see how it changes your game

If you are throwing well with minimal soreness, you should be good at looking for your own ball of that weight

Is There a Difference Between House Balls and Personally Drilled Balls?

Ask any expert bowler, and they will tell you that using a house ball versus a ball drilled especially for you makes a huge difference

When you use a ball tailored to fit your needs, it helps distribute the weight better, gives you a more solid grip, and helps you control the action of the ball better

Many bowlers have claimed that they can use bowling balls up to two pounds heavier when comparing their custom-made grip bowling balls to house balls

House bowling balls are drilled to fit varying finger sizes and grip types and are therefore more general in the support and grip they can offer you

While house balls are great with preliminary tests to find the right weight for you, if you intend to take bowling seriously, then you should look into getting a custom-made ball

The difference your personal grip will make for your weight limit will help your score a great deal

We’ve talked about how to know if you are using a ball that is too heavy and if you are using a ball that is too light, but when do you know that you have found a ball that is just right?

The goal of any serious bowler is to find a ball weight that can be your go-to ball, one that gives you a great amount of reaction, control, and predictability as you use it throughout the night

Most importantly, the ball needs to be at a weight that doesn’t physically wear you down as you progress with games

As we mentioned before, heavy bowling balls decrease your stamina throughout the night and tire out your muscles quicker, resulting in a loss of speed, control, and aim

You also want to avoid a light ball as well so you can score a higher number of points per game, resulting in the need for a middle-ground ball

The ideal weight for your ball should provide enough weight that you are able to generate a good amount of force with it while preserving your speed and stamina as you bowl through the night

You want a ball that keeps you at a level of comfort and doesn’t strain your muscles and joints as you use it for an extended period of time, whether it is one night of practice or throughout a whole season

House bowling balls are a great way to narrow down your zone of comfort without spending too much money

Just remember that there is a notable difference between house ball weights and personalized ball weights

Bowling balls vary depending on the type of game you’re playing

Ten Pin Bowling- is widely known, and it’s what you think about when someone mentions bowling

Ten Pin balls are typically performance or non-performance balls with 3 finger holes

Duck Pin Bowling- is slightly different in pin shape/size and ball than the Ten Pin bowling specifications

Duck Pin bowling balls weigh between 3lbs 6oz and 3lbs 12oz and it’s fingerless, with no holes

The Candlepin bowling balls are a smaller ball, has no holes, and has a max weight of 2lbs 7oz

So now that you know how to recognize the different ways your body can respond to weight types, how do you go about finding your ideal weight?

Or, you could just use a method that helps you locate the proper weight for your bowling ball and work up from there, stopping at your body’s comfort level

However, just to be safe, you may want to read the method most bowlers use to find their starting weight

The process of finding the right starting weight for you in bowling really comes down to a simple math equation

You take your body weight in pounds and divide it by eleven, rounding to the nearest whole number

Once you have your starting number, it is usually a good idea to even start a few pounds lighter than that number and work your way up to heavier weights based on your body

Since we are rounding to the nearest whole number, the starting weight of your ball would be fourteen, but you should start with a 13 or 12 and work your way up to a 14 over the course of practice to make sure it is the right fit for you

So now that we’ve discussed why the right weight in your bowling ball is important, how to recognize that you need to change your bowling ball weight and how to find the ideal weight for you to use when bowling, we hope you take these skills out into the bowling world and put them in to practice

As you get stronger, your bowling weight may change and grow heavier, or you might reach an equilibrium of weight

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Having a strong, consistent speed will help you generate more force at the point of pin impact, gaining you better results in your scoring

It is also important to remember throughout this process that you need to listen to your body

Overextending your limits as you work to find your bowling ball weight can lead to strains, tears, sprains, and other related injuries

Don’t be afraid to take it easy and enjoy the process of finding your ideal bowling ball weight

The bowling ball you choose can mean the difference between bowling a perfect game or being plagued by gutter balls

In this article, we’ll share expert tips and answer your question, what size bowling ball should I use?

For a bowler, weight is the most critical component since the measurement differences in bowling balls are negligible

Contents1 What Size Bowling Ball Should I Use?2 Why Bowling Ball Weight is Important21 Coping with Deflection22 Throw Impact23 Handling24 Hooking25 Potential Injuries26 Throwing3 What Happens When A Bowling Ball is Too Light or Heavy?4 The Lightest and Heaviest Bowling Ball41 Can You Change the Weight of an Existing Bowling Ball?42 Related Articles5 What Weight Bowling Ball Should I Use

What Size Bowling Ball Should I Use?

Generally, the rule of thumb for bowling ball weight is that it should be no more than 10% of your total body weight

While this is a good rule of thumb, choosing a ball that fits this requirement might not always be best

Consider a case where someone with a recent back injury weighs 160 pounds

It wouldn’t make much sense for them to bowl with a 16-pound ball

For that reason, it’s much better to consider your physical build and your ability to throw the ball to determine the ideal bowling ball weight

Finding the right weight bowling ball is like getting a tailored suit: it’s supposed to fit you perfectly

Why Bowling Ball Weight is Important

As we briefly mentioned earlier, the bowling ball weight matter the most

Let’s look into several aspects of bowling that are affected by ball weight

Bowling Ball Weight vs

Bowling Ball Weight vs

Each time a bowling ball hits a pin or a divot on the lane, it will deflect, and the weight determines that level of deflection

Heavier weight bowling balls tend to deflect less, while lighter ones deflect more

So, if you’re not good at splits, you might want to opt for a heavier ball for less deflection

Swinging a bowling ball down a lane imparts a specific force that carries the ball to the pins

A heavier ball, in comparison to a lighter ball, rolls down the lane with substantial force and power, knocking down more pins

If you pick up a bowling ball and feel its weight, you’d probably realize that heavier balls are harder to aim

A heavier ball requires you to orient yourself a certain way before throwing

Lighter balls are much easier to direct because they have less handling weight

Hooking is a bowling technique where you don’t throw the ball straight – you throw it in a curved manner

Lighter balls are more challenging to hook since the force of the throw overcomes the turning force the bowler can impart on them

On the other hand, heavier balls move slower, giving the ball more time to curve before hitting the pins

If you’re looking to increase your hook, heavier balls are better than lighter ones

Carrying a bowling ball around, twisting your wrist to make it hook, or simply throwing the ball down the lane can lead to joint issues

Wrist strain and pain show up in users of heavier bowling balls more often than in bowlers who use lighter balls

Using a ball that’s too heavy for you will likely result in strain, which further emphasizes why choosing the right ball weight is such a big deal

If you have wrist issues or notice pain while bowling, go with a lighter bowling ball

Bowling can become less fun and more cumbersome, creating throwing fatigue, if you don’t choose the right bowling ball weight

It takes more effort to throw heavier balls than lighter ones

Heavier balls hit harder than lighter balls, but if you don’t use enough force as you throw a heavy ball, it’ll just gutter out

What Happens When A Bowling Ball is Too Light or Heavy?

You should be looking for a bowling ball that’s just heavy enough so that you can control it

But what happens when the bowling ball you choose is too heavy?

Several situations could occur, most commonly:

You could potentially injure yourselfYou’ll find it much harder to make the ball go where you want it toYou’ll get an abnormally high number of gutter balls

Here are some things that could occur:

You get a lot of splits but not many strikesYou can direct the ball where you want, but it doesn’t have enough power to result in a strike

You can’t get the ball to hook the way you want it toThe ball deflects too easily on its trip down the lane

The Lightest and Heaviest Bowling Ball

According to the USBC, the heaviest bowling ball a bowler can use is sixteen pounds (16 lbs)

While some people might choose this heavy ball for max power and hooking potential, others may have to adjust up or down based on their body weight and strength

Typically, adults use bowling balls ranging from ten to sixteen pounds and women opt for balls at the lighter bowling balls of that range

The lightest bowling ball comes in at around six pounds and can be provided by the alley as a house ball

Lighter balls (from 6 to 8 pounds) are usually used by kids

This weight is appropriate for kids’ small bodies and developing skillset

We don’t recommend giving a child a ball heavier than 8 pounds

Can You Change the Weight of an Existing Bowling Ball?

You can make a bowling ball heavier or lighter, but you should be careful to follow the regulations if you’re bowling in a league

The USBC notes that sixteen pounds is the maximum weight of a bowling ball, including its imbalances at rest

Any additions to the ball (such as adding weight bearings) that put it over that sixteen-pound limit immediately disqualify the ball from being used in competitive bowling

The two most widely accepted methods of altering a bowling ball’s weight include: 

These methods can only shave off a few ounces from a ball’s weight, and too much drilling can impact the ball’s structural integrity and handling

Ideally, you should choose a ball that doesn’t require you to fiddle with the weight afterward

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What Weight Bowling Ball Should I Use

By now, we trust that you have realized how important it is to select the best weight for your bowling ball, and not focus on the size

If you’re the competitive sort, you’ll realize that choosing the wrong ball weight could lead to lost games

While the rule-of-thumb suggests a ball weighing about 10% of your body weight, you should experiment with bowling balls to see which is the right fit

Like choosing a pair of shoes, shopping around ensures that you have a comfortable fit that’ll give you the best chances of bowling strike after strike

We hope this article is helpful to you and encourage you to go to your local bowling alley and test drive several house balls to find the perfect one for you

Kira started Bowling for Beginners to teach new bowlers the game and help them improve their skills

Kira started Bowling for Beginners to teach new bowlers the game and help them improve their skills

As you already know, the bowling ball is a spherical ball

Balls for ten-pin bowling- which is the most common bowling- have three holes for fingers and the thumb

The weight of the ball is a fundamental element that impacts the performance of the player

Therefore, you must get a bowling ball of suitable weightBowling balls of various weights are available in the market

It becomes difficult for us to choose the ball of the right weight for us

This bowling ball weight guide is a tool to overcome these difficulties

Before we proceed further, let’s study the effects of ball weight in bowlingEffects of the Ball weight The effect of ball weight is visible at the time the ball collides with the pins

If the ball is too light, it may not knock down pins properly

If the ball is too heavy and you throw it at a regular speed, it may lose momentum till it reaches the other end of the lane, unable to knock down the pins

If you throw the ball with an extra force, it will knock down the pins, but you may sustain an injury at your wristSo, both types of ball- heavy or light – have their advantages and disadvantages

The right ball weight may vary from person to person, depending upon his body weight and expertise level

Though some people use the ball with 10 pounds of the ball weight, this weight may be ineffective for some players

The reasons for the effects of weight on bowling results lie in the laws of physics

If you choose a heavy ball that you can sustain and throw easily, the overall impact of the collision will be very high

Because a heavy ball moving at a particular speed has a higher momentum as compared to that of a light object running at the same speed

Additionally, you can utilize your ability to find out the best bowling angle, revolutions, and action to have maximum gains

Bowling ball weight also creates a negative effect

If a ball is too heavy, it is also possible that you may not throw it with full potential, which will result in an ineffective delivery

You may also get an injury due to the heavy ball

It is easy for the other physical factors, such as the flow of the air, to change the dynamics of a light ball when it is in the motion

But, choosing the right ball weight cannot be generalized for every player

The Criteria to Choose the Right Bowling Ball Weight The most prevalent principle which we take into consideration to ascertain the right bowling ball weight is that the ball should weigh approximately ten percent of our body weight

Some people may not cope up with a ball weighing ten percent of their body weight

The practical rule to find out the right bowling ball weight is that you should be capable of throwing it comfortably in repeated actions

You will win the game by throwing the ball at the right speed consistently

In essence, the right bowling weight for us is which we can throw comfortably in repeated throwsLightest and Heaviest Bowling Ball Weights in UseKeeping in mind the young bowling lovers, the ball manufacturers make it a point to create lighter bowling balls

The bowling ball with the least weight available in the market weighs about six pounds

This ball is for small childrenThe maximum bowling ball weight, which is permissible by the bowling associations in the USA, is around sixteen pounds

These balls are for adults and professional playersSo, we get a wide range of ten pounds in bowling ball weight

We can choose a ball out of this range as per our choice and suitabilityBowling Ball Weight for Professional Bowlers In the recent past, the professional bowlers used to throw heavy balls – sixteen pounds balls

They thought that they could easily knock down pins with the heavy balls because these balls move with higher momentum

A majority of professional bowlers now opt for slightly lighter ball weight

Out of these, some bowlers opt for fifteen-pound ball weight, while the rest go for fourteen-pound ball weight

There are still some die-hard professional bowlers who throw the sixteen-pound ballIn the case of women professional bowlers, most of them prefer to throw the fourteen-pound ball weight

Though in some cases, they use thirteen pounds and fifteen-pound ball weight, but the most preferred ball weight is fourteen pounds

Ball Weight for Post-Injury Cases It is very tough and painful for the bowlers to make a comeback on the bowling lanes after recovering from an injury

The post-injury comeback process should be well-coordinated, and it should be in a phased mannerIf you have resumed bowling after recovering from an injury, you should start bowling by using lighter ball weights

The best recommendable ball weight in his case is six to eight pounds

You have to increase the bowling ball weight gradually

It is advisable to undertake these activities under the guidance of a doctor or a physiotherapistAverage Ball weight for Different Age GroupsWe cannot frame a general rule to determine the average ball weight for a particular age group

The ball throwing capacity of a bowler depends upon various factors viz

their weight, their height, and their fitness

But, it is a general observation that the average ball weight for an adult male is fourteen pounds

This observation also shows that the average ball weight range for the adult male to bowl comfortably lies between thirteen pounds to fifteen poundsThe adult females generally use ball weights between ten pounds to fourteen pounds, depending upon their physical attributes

Hence, the average ball weight for them is approximately twelve poundsThe children usually remain comfortable in throwing the ball weight, which is numerically equal to their age

For example, a five-year-old child will use a ball weight of five poundsAlteration in Ball weight You can change the ball’s weight by adding extra weight to it

But there are strict rules for the weight alteration

The ball shop owners usually do not allow altering ball weight if your requirement does not meet with bowling associations’ regulations

One other permissible way to alter the weight distribution within the ball is to drill a hole in the ball

Additionally, the rules of bowling associations are so strict that a slight variation can disqualify you from the sports eventFinal Thoughts The above lines have been written to help you select the most suitable bowling ball weight

We have seen in the article above that the most preferred ball weight is fourteen pounds, but we have to assess our physical fitness and well-being before opting for any ball weight

We hope that this article will guide you to ascertain the right bowling ball weight for youRelated Resources

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