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How to Choose a Bowling Ball?

How to Choose a Bowling Ball? - Bowlingview

Choosing the right bowling ball is an essential aspect of improving your game and enjoying your time at the bowling alley. When it comes to selecting a ball, there are various factors to consider such as weight, material, and fit. Having the perfect bowling ball can significantly impact your performance, and it is crucial to find one that suits your playing style.

Bowling balls are available in different weights and materials, each tailored to cater to different skill levels and techniques. Understanding the differences between these options is vital for making an informed decision. In addition, a crucial factor in choosing a bowling ball is ensuring a comfortable fit that offers proper grip and control.

By weighing the aspects of weight, material, and fit, one can find the optimal bowling ball to enhance their performance and elevate their bowling experience.

Know Your Weight

Factors Affecting Ideal Ball Weight

When choosing your own bowling ball, a crucial aspect to consider is the ball weight. There are several factors that can impact your ideal ball weight, such as:

  • Body weight
  • Strength
  • Comfort
  • Bowling style
  • Age and gender
Age/Gender Suggested Ball Weight
Kids 6 to 12 lbs
Adult Female 10 to 14 lbs
Adult Male 14 to 16 lbs
Senior 12 to 14 lbs

It is essential to remember that while the table above provides general guidelines, it is not a strict rule. Experiment with different weights to find what works best for you and your style of play.

Body Weight vs. Ball Weight

Although there is a correlation between body weight and bowling ball weight, it should not be the only determining aspect. Other factors, such as comfort and the ability to maintain control, play a significant part in selecting the appropriate ball weight.

A general rule of thumb is that a bowler should choose a ball that weighs about 10% of their body weight. However, it is up to the individual to gauge their strength and the level of comfort they feel when handling the ball.

Heavier balls tend to provide more power and momentum, which can result in higher pin action. Lighter balls, on the other hand, are easier to control and might be more suitable for beginners, kids, or those with limited strength. Speed is another factor to consider since a lighter ball will usually travel faster, while a heavier ball will have a slower speed.

Ultimately, the ideal ball weight is the one that provides a balance between the bowler’s strength, comfort, and control. By trying out various weights, you can find the perfect bowling ball to enhance your game.

Types of Bowling Balls


Plastic bowling balls, also known as polyester balls, are the most basic and entry-level options. They are commonly found as house balls in bowling centers. These balls are suitable for beginners, as they offer minimal hook and friction on the lane. With a smoother coverstock, plastic balls are perfect for straight shots and for picking up spares.


Urethane bowling balls are a step up from plastic balls. They provide a more aggressive reaction and better gripping power on the lane surface. This results in increased control and predictability. Urethane balls are ideal for bowlers with a moderate amount of skill and experience, who are looking to improve their hook potential.

Reactive Resin

Reactive resin bowling balls are designed for advanced players, and they offer a significant increase in hook potential and hitting power. These balls have a porous coverstock, which grips the lane surface and creates a strong backend movement. This coverstock allows for a more impressive hook, making it a popular choice among competitive bowlers.


Particle bowling balls are an option for highly skilled and experienced players. These balls contain small particles within the coverstock, providing an even more aggressive hook and lane traction than reactive resin balls. Due to their enhanced movement and hook potential, they are ideal for demanding oil patterns and challenging lane conditions.

Cores and Performance

Symmetrical Cores

Symmetrical cores are designed to provide a predictable and smooth ball motion on the lanes. They are characterized by having a consistent radius of gyration (RG) along all axes, which results in an even weight distribution throughout the ball. Due to their balanced nature, symmetrical core bowling balls may offer lower hook potential compared to their asymmetrical counterparts. These cores are ideal for bowlers seeking control and predictability in their shots.

Asymmetrical Cores

Asymmetrical cores, in contrast, have an uneven weight distribution and are designed to create more aggressive ball motion on the lanes. Their hook potential is typically higher than that of symmetrical core bowling balls, providing bowlers with the advantage of increased entry angle into the pins. Asymmetrical core bowling balls are suitable for a variety of lane conditions and are particularly beneficial for bowlers with higher rev rates or those looking to create more powerful striking shots.

Pancake Cores

Pancake cores, also known as “pancake weight blocks,” feature a flat, circular shape with low RG (radius of gyration) values, which helps to create an earlier, smoother hook on the lane. These cores are often found in entry-level and spare bowling balls, providing a level of predictability and controllability that can be helpful for beginners or bowlers looking to cover a wider range of lane conditions.

In summary, the type of core in a bowling ball plays a significant role in determining its performance and hook potential. Symmetrical cores offer smooth, predictable motion, making them suitable for bowlers focused on control. Asymmetrical cores create more aggressive, higher hook potential shots, catering to those who prefer increased entry angles and striking power. Pancake cores provide a stable, controlled motion, ideal for entry-level and spare bowling balls.

Choosing the Right Ball for Lane Conditions

Dry Lanes

In dry lane conditions, there is less oil on the surface, resulting in more friction between the ball and the lane. This can cause the ball to hook more easily.

To account for the increased friction, it is essential to choose a ball with a lower amount of hook potential. Consider balls with less aggressive coverstocks and lower differential values. These characteristics will help the ball roll straighter and resist over-hooking on dry lanes.

  • Less aggressive coverstocks (e.g., plastic or urethane)
  • Lower differential values (e.g., less than 0.030)

Medium Lanes

Medium lanes have a balanced amount of oil, which allows for a wider range of ball options. In these conditions, bowlers can choose a ball with a medium hook potential and moderate aggressiveness. The versatility in these lanes allows for experimentation with different ball reaction shapes and entry angles. Focus on finding a ball that provides consistent and controllable ball motion.

  • Medium hook potential (e.g., solid or hybrid reactive coverstocks)
  • Moderate aggressiveness (e.g., medium RG values)

Heavy Oil Lanes

Heavy oil lanes have an abundance of oil on the surface, requiring a ball with more aggressive coverstocks and higher differential values. This will increase the ball’s ability to grip the lane, allowing it to curve through the oil and still maintain a strong reaction towards the pins. Bowlers should opt for balls with aggressive coverstocks (such as high-performance reactive resin) and higher differential values (typically greater than 0.040).

  • Aggressive coverstocks (e.g., high-performance reactive resin)
  • Higher differential values (e.g., greater than 0.040)

Grip and Drilling

Conventional Grip

The conventional grip is the most common grip in bowling, and it’s the easiest for beginners to learn. In this grip, bowlers place their thumb fully into the thumb hole and their middle and ring fingers into the finger holes. The span is measured from the edge of the thumb hole to the edge of the finger holes. The bowling ball must be evenly drilled while taking into account the bowler’s hand measurements.

Advantages of this type of grip include:

  • Easy to learn for beginners
  • Comfortable grip
  • Better control

However, there are also a few downsides:

  • Lower hook potential
  • Less power

It’s important to work with a professional to ensure that the ball is drilled correctly for the conventional grip. Properly drilled holes will allow for a comfortable grip and will help to prevent injury.

Another interesting read> How Long To Get A Bowling Ball Drilled?.

Finger Tip Grip

The finger tip grip, used by more advanced bowlers, involves inserting the thumb fully into the thumb hole, but only the fingertips of the middle and ring fingers are inserted into the finger holes.

Finger Tip Grip - Bowlingview

This grip provides a better grip on the bowling ball, allowing for more side rotation, which is necessary for generating more hook and increasing the ball’s reaction on the lane.

Advantages of the finger tip grip:

  • More hook potential
  • More power
  • Better control in oily conditions

Some disadvantages include:

  • A longer learning curve for beginners
  • Slightly less comfortable than the conventional grip

When selecting a ball for finger tip grip, the drilling must be done carefully to match the bowler’s hand measurements. It’s essential to work with a professional driller in order to achieve a perfect fit for this type of grip.

In conclusion, both the conventional and finger tip grips have their pros and cons. When choosing a grip, consider your skill level, comfort, and desired ball reaction. A spare ball with a consistent reaction can also be beneficial in improving your game. Ultimately, the best grip depends on the individual bowler’s preferences and abilities.

Brands and Price Considerations

When choosing a bowling ball, one of the key aspects to consider is the brand and price of the ball. There are several major brands in the bowling industry that offer a wide range of options for bowlers of all skill levels. Some of these popular brands include Ebonite, Brunswick, Columbia, DV8, Hammer, Storm, Roto Grip, and Track.

Ebonite is known for its high-quality products and offers a variety of bowling balls at different price points. Brunswick, another well-known brand, has been manufacturing bowling equipment for decades and is trusted by many professionals. Columbia, a subsidiary of Ebonite, offers both affordable and high-performance bowling balls for all levels of expertise.

DV8 and Hammer are other popular brands known for their aggressive and high-performance ball options. Storm, Roto Grip, and Track all offer unique and innovative technology in their bowling balls, which can cater to a bowler’s specific needs and preferences.

When considering the price, it’s important to remember that not all bowling balls are created equal. You might find affordable options from most brands, but the performance and longevity of these balls may vary. Compare the quality and features before making a final decision.

Below is a quick reference of the mentioned brands and their price range:

Brand Price Range
Ebonite $80 – $250
Brunswick $50 – $240
Columbia $60 – $260
DV8 $100 – $270
Hammer $100 – $300
Storm $70 – $300
Roto Grip $80 – $250
Track $90 – $230

In summary, the choice of a bowling ball should be based on your personal preferences, style of play, and budget. Although major brands offer a diverse selection of bowling balls, it’s essential to take the time to research and compare different options to find the one that best suits your needs and helps improve your game.

Additional Factors and Expert Advice

When choosing the right bowling ball, it’s crucial to consider additional factors beyond its weight, size, and color. Consulting with professional bowlers or visiting a local pro shop can greatly enhance the selection process, providing valuable insights into the equipment best suited for an individual’s playing style, skill level, and personal preferences.

Selecting the right materials for the bowling ball is essential, as it affects the ball’s performance and control during the game.

Commonly used materials include reactive resin, urethane, and plastic. Reactive resin balls have a high rate of oil absorption, enabling them to hook more effectively on the lane, while urethane offers more control and is suitable for various lane conditions. Plastic balls are typically more affordable and suitable for beginners seeking an entry-level option.

Parameters such as radius of gyration (RG) and differential are critical for understanding a ball’s potential. A lower RG denotes that the ball has a shorter skid distance, which could be suitable for bowlers seeking more control.

Alternatively, a higher differential indicates increased hook potential, allowing for more strikes and a pronounced curve on the lane.

For more information on radius of gyration (RG) and differential, watch this> video

It’s vital to recognize the importance of balance when purchasing a bowling ball. A well-balanced ball can improve a player’s speed, accuracy, and overall performance. Bowlers are encouraged to try various brands, such as Motiv and Dexter, at their local pro shops to pinpoint the perfect match according to their personal preferences and budget.

To avoid potential injuries, selecting an adequately sized, non-heavy bowling ball is highly recommended. Selecting a heavy ball can strain muscles and lead to decreased performance. Bowlers should focus on comfortably gripping and controlling the ball during the game for optimal results.

In conclusion, deciding on the right bowling ball involves careful consideration of multiple factors. Expert advice, knowledge of technical parameters, testing equipment, and evaluating personal preferences are all valuable components in identifying the most suitable option for an individual’s needs and aspirations in the sport.