There was no guide made on how to choose bowling balls when an early variation of the sport was invented in ancient Egyptian times. Egyptian kids had to pick up a round rock, hit targets, and call it a game.
Today, there are so many options when it comes to several aspects of the sport. From shoes, to the lanes, to what type of coating a ball has. If you’re confused with the types of balls available, you can visit the closest Dave & Busters to get expert opinion from pro players, or read through this guide.
1. Check for the ball’s weight.
This is your first priority when choosing a ball. The appearance doesn’t matter if you’re barely able to pick it up, much less use your fingers and thumb to pick it off the rack.
If you’re able to extend your arms out front and hold the ball for a good 5 seconds, chances are you can go for heavier balls.
Moderately sized adults (80 kg) should be able to hold as much as 16 pounds on their first try, while females can hold around 12 pounds.
Most bowling balls already have preset holes where you can fit two or three fingers and your thumb in a separate hole. Your fingers should fit just right – it should have a bit of a leeway but not so much that it would stretch your fingers too wide.
If it’s too tight, chances are the ball is either too light, or is custom-made for individuals with more slender fingers.
You can even ask your pro shop to drill a bowling ball, provided you own one. Don’t go grabbing bowling balls from the rack and having it drilled in a pro shop!
Since it’s your first time buying a bowling ball, it’s generally a good idea to start with smoother balls. Smoother balls glide more easily on the lanes, and since most beginners can’t gauge how strong they throw the balls, the smooth surface decreases rev rate or spin rate.
The rev rate or spin rate is important when trying to go for a “hook shot”, as hooks get sharper the faster they spin.
Smoother balls will glide over the oil patterns on the lane, and it doesn’t matter if they’re spinning faster than the earth – it’s too smooth to grab onto anything so it will skid, preventing a hook.
Smooth balls are perfect for straight bowling, and matte balls are for people who have too low of a rev rate, or if they’re aiming for more control over the ball’s path.
The price of a bowling ball is correlated to the type of material used. Coverstocks determine if a bowling ball is cheap or not. Plastic coverstocks are the cheapest because they’re easier to produce, and resin stocks have higher prices.
If you’re really serious about the sport, investing in a good polyester coverstock ball is a good decision. You can even make it as your backup ball in case you decide to buy a resin coverstock ball.
While beginners might not understand what a core’s role is in the lane, the pro shop staff will be happy to explain it.
A core is one of the many things that affect a ball’s hook potential, represented with either a number, or a word like “high” or “low”. Most balls have symmetrical cores, or flat cores that give the ball a specific direction when spinning.
You don’t have to worry about this now, but if you practice with a ball that has a core with a specific shape, you’ll understand how to manipulate its spin.
These are just five of the things you need to consider when buying your first ball. Remember, looks also matter from a customer point-of-view. If you don’t like what your ball looks like, chances are you won’t be enjoying bowling.
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