Choosing the right bowling ball weight is crucial for any bowler looking to improve their game. The general rule of thumb for bowling ball weight is that it should be no more than 10% of your total body weight. For instance, a man weighing 160 pounds would typically use a 16-pound bowling ball, while a woman weighing 140 pounds would opt for a 14-pound ball. However, it’s important to consider other factors beyond body weight when selecting the right bowling ball.
Your physical build and ability to throw the ball play a significant role in determining the ideal bowling ball weight for you. Just like a tailored suit, the bowling ball should fit you perfectly. For example, if you have a recent back injury, using a ball that matches the general rule of thumb may aggravate the injury. In such cases, it’s better to choose a lighter ball that won’t strain your body.
Impact on Bowling Performance
- Deflection – When a bowling ball hits a pin or a divot on the lane, it deflects, and the weight of the ball determines the level of deflection. Heavier balls tend to deflect less, while lighter ones deflect more. If you struggle with splits, opting for a heavier ball with reduced deflection can be beneficial.
- Throw Impact – The force with which you swing a bowling ball down the lane affects its impact on the pins. Heavier balls carry more force and power, resulting in knocking down more pins compared to lighter balls.
- Handling – The weight of the ball affects how easy it is to aim and direct. Heavier balls require you to orient yourself a certain way before throwing, while lighter balls are easier to handle due to their reduced weight.
- Hooking – Hooking is a bowling technique where you throw the ball in a curved manner. Heavier balls tend to move slower, allowing for more time to curve before hitting the pins. If you’re aiming to increase your hook, heavier balls are more suitable.
- Potential Injuries – Carrying and throwing a heavy bowling ball can lead to joint issues and strain. If you have wrist issues or experience pain while bowling, using a lighter bowling ball can help alleviate the strain on your body.
- Throwing Fatigue – Throwing a ball that is too heavy can lead to fatigue and make bowling less enjoyable. It requires more effort to throw a heavier ball compared to a lighter one.
Consequences of Using an Inappropriate Weight
Using a bowling ball that is either too heavy or too light for your abilities can have negative consequences on your game. When a ball is too heavy, you risk potential injuries, difficulty in controlling the ball’s trajectory, and an increased number of gutter balls.
Conversely, a ball that is too light may result in more splits but fewer strikes, lack of power for a strike, difficulty in achieving the desired hook, and increased deflection on the lane.
Choosing the Right Weight Range
According to the United States Bowling Congress (USBC), the heaviest bowling ball allowed is sixteen pounds. However, the weight range for most adults typically falls between ten and sixteen pounds, with women tending to use the lighter end of that range.
For children, lighter balls ranging from six to eight pounds are recommended, as they are appropriate for their smaller bodies and developing skill set.
Can You Alter the Weight of a Bowling Ball?
While it is possible to alter the weight of a bowling ball, it should be done with caution, especially if you participate in competitive bowling leagues. Any modifications, such as deepening finger holes or drilling “balance holes,” must not exceed the weight limit of 16 lbs. Moreover, excessive drilling can impact the ball’s structural integrity and handling, so it is advisable to choose a ball that requires minimal adjustments.
Now that you know how to determine the correct bowling ball weight for you, start planning a weekend game with friends at Dave and Busters.
But before that, watch this video to learn some tips on how to have an effortless bowling swing: