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How To Increase Bowling Ball Speed?

How To Increase Bowling Ball Speed - Bowlingview

Increasing the speed of a bowling ball is a crucial skill for bowlers who want to up their game and improve their performance on the lanes.

A faster ball speed typically results in better pin action and can make it easier to achieve strikes and spares. This article will explore techniques and strategies that can help bowlers increase their bowling ball speed, while maintaining control and accuracy.

One essential aspect of increasing ball speed is developing strength and endurance in the muscles used during the bowling motion.

Bowlers should focus on strengthening their arms, legs, and core muscles through regular conditioning exercises. Additionally, having a proper bowling ball fit is crucial to maximizing speed, as an improperly fitted ball can create unnecessary drag and hinder the bowler’s motion.

Another key factor in increasing ball speed is refining the bowler’s approach and release technique. This can be achieved through consistent practice and reviewing one’s form.

Making slight adjustments to the timing of the approach, keeping the arm swing loose and fluid, and optimizing the release point can have a significant impact on the overall speed of the bowling ball. By incorporating these tips and strategies, bowlers can work towards achieving faster and more powerful shots on the lanes.

Understanding Bowling Ball Speed

Average Bowling Ball Speed

The average bowling ball speed varies among players. For most bowlers, the typical bowling speed often ranges from 16 to 20 mph. Professional bowlers tend to maintain more consistent scores with a ball speed between 18 to 21 mph. Speedometers located above the lanes at bowling centers can help you determine your bowling ball speed.

Skill Level Average Speed (mph)
Beginner 12 – 15
Intermediate 16 – 17
Advanced 18 – 20
Professional 18 – 21

Importance of Ball Speed

Bowling ball speed plays a significant role in striking the pins most effectively. A faster ball can generate more energy to knock down pins, while a slower ball may result in spares. However, it is important to strike a balance between speed and accuracy. A consistent and controlled speed will enable the bowler to have a better chance of hitting the target.

Factors Influencing Ball Speed

Several factors contribute to a bowler’s ball speed, including:

  • Technique: Proper form, a smooth approach, and a well-timed release can impact ball speed. Bowlers should focus on their technique to increase or maintain desired speed levels.
  • Strength: Stronger muscles help generate more power, potentially increasing the speed of the ball. It is essential to work on your muscle strength to enhance your performance.
  • Equipment: The choice of bowling ball, such as its weight and material, can also influence speed. Lighter balls may travel faster, but heavier balls can carry more momentum. It is crucial to find the right ball for your skill level and strength to optimize your game.

By understanding how bowling ball speed impacts your game and the various factors that influence it, you can work on improving your bowling performance.

Techniques to Increase Bowling Ball Speed

Improving Approach

A key technique for increasing bowling ball speed is to improve your approach. To execute a smooth, fast approach, maintain a proper body position throughout. Align your shoulders parallel to the foul line, your feet shoulder-width apart, and bend your knees slightly. Shortening your approach distance by one step might help increase momentum and achieve a quicker tempo.

Backswing and Swing Speed

Improving your backswing can lead to a faster ball speed. Ensure you have a high, controlled backswing with a very loose arm swing, and relaxed grip. Increase the backswing’s height to generate more speed without sacrificing accuracy. Practice the pendulum motion without forcing the arm swing, to let gravity and momentum do the work.

Leg Drive and Footwork

Developing strong leg drive and footwork play a crucial role in increasing ball speed.

Leg Drive and Footwork - Bowlingview

Strengthen your legs through exercises like squats, lunges, and leg presses, as these muscles provide the power behind your approach. Additionally, practice proper footwork by stepping consistently and smoothly throughout your approach.

  • First step: small and slow, a few inches in size
  • Second and third steps: larger and quicker, accelerating in size
  • Final step: a slide or a plant, depending on your preference

Release and Finger Rotation

The release and finger rotation directly impact the ball’s speed and rev rate. A clean release and efficient finger rotation can increase your ball speed without changing your swing or entire approach.

Utilize your fingers to generate more force and more rev rate, and practice a smooth release that minimizes grabbing, which can slow the ball down. Avoid over-squeezing the ball and focus on an effortless release to maximize your ball speed.

Bowling Ball Selection and Speed

Weight and Core Design

Selecting the right bowling ball is crucial for increasing ball speed.

One key factor is the weight of the ball. Most bowlers use a ball weighing between 12 and 16 pounds, but the ideal weight will vary from person to person. Typically, a heavier ball generates more energy, but may compromise control and consistency.

Therefore, it is essential to find a balance between weight and control for optimal ball speed.

Another important aspect of ball selection is the core design. Ball manufacturers often create cores with varying shapes and materials in order to influence ball motion. High differential asymmetrical cores tend to create a stronger hook, while low differential symmetrical cores tend to provide a smoother, more controllable ball reaction. Finding a core that suits your bowling style and lane conditions will help increase speed while maintaining control.

Some core options to consider:

  • Asymmetrical cores: stronger hook potential, more aggressive ball reaction
  • Symmetrical cores: smoother ball motion, more predictable ball reaction

Surface Texture and Coverstock

The surface texture and coverstock material of a bowling ball also play significant roles in good bowling ball reaction and speed. The coverstock, or the outer shell of the ball, can be made from various materials like plastic, urethane, reactive resin, or particle. These materials interact differently with the oil on the lane, influencing the ball’s speed and overall performance.

Here’s an overview of coverstock types:

Coverstock Reaction on oil Speed potential
Plastic Low High
Urethane Medium Medium
Reactive Resin High Low
Particle Very High Very Low

The surface texture of a bowling ball can be altered through sanding or polishing, which affects its interaction with the oil and its speed as well. A smooth, polished surface creates less friction with the lane and tends to travel at faster speed, while a rougher surface creates more friction and slower speeds. Experimenting with different surface textures may help you find the ideal combination for increasing your ball speed while managing ball reaction.

In summary, choosing a suitable bowling ball that combines ideal weight, core design, coverstock, and surface texture will assist in increasing your ball speed and improving your overall performance on the lanes.

Lane Conditions and Ball Speed

Lane Oil Patterns

Lane conditions play a significant role in determining the speed of a bowling ball. Different oil patterns affect the amount of friction between the ball and the lane, which in turn impacts the speed at which the ball travels. There are several types of oil patterns, from light to heavy, which allow for varying degrees of friction.

Oil Pattern Type Friction Level Ball Speed Impact
Light High Faster
Medium Moderate Moderate
Heavy Low Slower

Understanding the consistency of the oil pattern on the lanes can help a bowler make necessary adjustments to increase their ball speed.

Adjusting to Dry and Oily Lanes

Dry Lanes

On dry lanes, there is less oil, resulting in greater friction between the ball and the lane. This higher friction often causes the ball to slow down more quickly. To increase ball speed on dry lanes, it might be appropriate for the bowler to:

  • Choose a ball with a harder surface
  • Use a less aggressive release
  • Stand farther back on the approach in order to have more distance for acceleration

Oily Lanes

On oily lanes, there is more oil, resulting in less friction between the ball and the lane. This reduced friction can cause the ball to travel at slower speeds. To increase ball speed on oily lanes, bowlers can:

  • Choose a ball with a softer surface
  • Use a more aggressive release
  • Stand closer to the foul line for a shorter approach

In conclusion, understanding lane conditions and adjusting style, ball choice, and position on the approach can help bowlers increase their bowling ball speed. With practice and proper adjustments, improved ball speed can lead to throwing more strikes and better overall bowling performance.

Measuring and Monitoring Ball Speed

Bowling Ball Speed Chart

A bowling ball speed chart can help bowlers analyze their performance and progress over time. It typically includes information such as the ball’s speed (measured in miles per hour), the throw’s distance, and the ball’s type or weight. By comparing different throws and identifying patterns, bowlers can adjust their techniques to maximize speed.

Ball Speed (mph) Throw Distance (ft) Ball Type/Weight
12 45 14 lbs
14 49 15 lbs
16 52 16 lbs

USBC Guidelines

The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) provides guidelines on optimal bowling ball speed to achieve consistent results. According to USBC, the ideal ball speed for most bowlers is between 16 and 18 mph (25.7 – 29 km/h). This range allows for sufficient impact on the pins while minimizing the risk of throwing a gutter ball.


There are several tools available for measuring and monitoring bowling ball speed:

  • Radar guns: These handheld devices use radar technology to measure the speed of a moving object, such as a bowling ball. Point the radar gun at the ball during its flight down the lane to obtain an accurate speed reading.
  • Infrared sensors: Installed above or on the side of the bowling lane, these sensors detect the ball’s speed as it passes by. Many bowling alleys have this type of technology built-in, displaying the speed alongside the player’s score.
  • Smartphone apps: There are apps available for download that can measure and record bowling ball speed using the phone’s accelerometer or camera.

By using these tools and following the provided guidelines, bowlers can effectively increase their bowling ball speed and improve their overall performance.

Drills and Exercises to Improve Ball Speed

Slide and Release Drills

To increase your bowling ball speed, slide and release drills are crucial. These exercises help players improve their balance, control, and power in their delivery.

One effective drill is practicing slide steps without releasing the ball.

Start by taking three steps and sliding to your release point, focusing on balance and controlling the momentum of the ball. Then, gradually add more steps to the approach, maintaining form and balance throughout.

Another useful drill is practicing the release motion at various speeds. Begin with a slow release, ensuring that your wrist is straight and firm. Gradually increase the speed of your release, making sure your wrist and arm are coordinated. This will help you develop greater control and speed during the actual game.

Strength and Muscle Training

In order to boost your bowling ball speed, it is essential to concentrate on enhancing muscle strength. Incorporating wrist exercises, such as wrist curls and wrist extensions, is an excellent way to achieve this. These exercises will help strengthen wrist and arm muscles, and provide more power in your release.

Additionally, focus on total body workouts to develop a solid foundation for your bowling game. Combine resistance training with exercises like squats, lunges, and core exercises to boost overall strength. This fitness regime will also move arm muscles and improve balance, allowing for a smoother slide and faster ball speed.

Remember to progress gradually in both your drills and strength training. Consistence and commitment are crucial to seeing improvements in your bowling ball speed. By practicing slide and release drills and investing in muscle training, you can get more speed, enhance your game and become a more formidable player on the lanes.

Additional Tips and Adjustments

Mastering Accuracy and Control

Improving accuracy and control is essential in increasing bowling ball speed. A consistent and smooth approach helps achieve better shots. Maintaining proper body posture and balance on the approach helps maintain the speed control and accuracy.

  • Focus on your target pin and maintain a visual lock.
  • Keep your shoulders square during the approach.
  • Take consistent and even steps to maintain balance.

Increasing Rev Rate and Hook Potential

Incorporating a hook into your game can increase your chances of strikes and help you convert spares. To increase your rev rate and hook potential, adjust your release technique and swing and follow these tips:

  • Hold the ball on the side, with your fingers at the 4 o’clock position.
  • Use proper wrist position and maintain it throughout the approach.
  • Release the ball with a clean snap at the bottom of the swing.
  • Adjust the axis tilt by changing the position of your fingers during the release.

Practicing these tips and making adjustments to your game can enhance both accuracy and power, ultimately helping you achieve a higher than average bowling ball speed.


In summary, increasing one’s bowling ball speed requires a combination of proper technique, equipment, and practice. By focusing on the following key aspects, bowlers can effectively improve their average ball speed:

  • Developing a solid pre-shot routine and stance with proper foot positioning
  • Utilizing the legs and core muscles to generate power during the approach, release, and follow-through
  • Ensuring a smooth, consistent arm swing and maintaining a firm wrist throughout the motion

Additionally, it’s essential to choose the right bowling ball suited for to match an individual’s style and skill level. Factors such as ball weight, material, and desired hook potential should all be considered.

Lastly, investing time in regular practice and seeking guidance from experienced bowlers or coaches can greatly contribute to refining one’s skills and increasing the bowling ball speed over time. Patience, persistence, and dedication to improving are key elements to achieving success in any sport, including bowling.