A bowling center often provides a variety of house balls, all with different gripping holes and bearing different weights.
Chances are those house balls will not fit your gripping fingers properly, nor will they be of a suitable weight. That’s why serious bowlers often carry their own bowling balls around—balls that are tailor-made for them.
It is also worth knowing that custom-made balls that fit you better feel lighter and much easier to use than any house ball.
Other concerns when using a house ball include irritation and breaking of the skin, chaffing, and injuries to the arm and wrists because. This is because with a house ball, you really can’t guarantee a good fit and hygiene.
Now that you are en route towards purchasing your own bowling balls, you should know your ideal weight — bowling ball weight affects your game, so this is something you’d want to get right.
Continue reading these guidelines to find out the right weight for you.
How to Find the Best Bowling Ball Weight for You?
Since everyone is different, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the entire bowling ball weight matter. However, there is a general rule of thumb followed by any bowling ball weight guide: the weight of the ball should not be more than 10% of the body weight.
Since body weight differs from person to person, what works for some will not work for others.
Some prefer heavier balls as they tend to generate more power. They believe that a heavier ball results in more pin carry action and back-end violence, thus increasing the chances of a strike.
On the other hand, others would much rather go for a lighter-weight ball to conserve their power and last for a marathon session of bowling.
What is the Best Bowling Ball Weight?
This can be a tricky question to answer.
A child wouldn’t find a 16-pound ball comfortable, to say the least. Similarly, an adult wouldn’t be able to maximize his results and fulfill his potential using a 6-pound ball.
So, you need to identify the weight you are most comfortable throwing for a long period.
Do remember there is no need for you to exert yourself. Throwing heavy balls (15 to 16 pounds or heavier) for extended periods only to feel sore later will not do you any good.
Plus, there’s also a much higher chance of being injured when you push yourself to the extreme. Bowling elbow braces can help protect against long-term tendon damage, of course, but even they cannot shield you from injury if you exert yourself too much all the time.
However, I can list some ballpark figures to ensure you are heading in the right direction. Remember though that these guidelines can vary in relation to several factors including body strength, past and present injuries, and physical condition.
If you have a kid, you can select a weight that correlates to his/her age. For instance, a 9-year old can bowl a 9-pound ball fairly comfortably, while a 6-years-old should be given a 6-pound ball, and so on.
Aside from the weight, bowling balls for kids are also easier to control since they are meant for beginners.
If you’re a parent and not sure if your kid can handle a real bowling ball though, there are bowling sets for kids made of lightweight material and are easily set up in living rooms or backyards. These bowling sets are perfect for introducing children to bowling and allow young bowlers to practice bowling in the safety of their homes.
Adult bowlers who are in decent shape can choose a 13-pound ball and above. Since they are physically fit, they can pick a bowling ball from any weight range, and it’s often just a question of which they’re most comfortable using.
They also need not shy away from using a full weight bowling ball. After all, heavier balls have predictable movement, are easier to control, and tend to generate more power.
For Senior Citizens
Senior citizens shouldn’t bowl with heavy balls because they should put as little strain on their body as possible. Because of their decreased arm strength, a senior bowler is advised to use balls not weighing more than 13 pounds, so using a house bowling ball (which is often heavier than 13 pounds) might not be a good idea.
There are actually balls released specifically for aged bowlers. If you are not sure, ask your local pro shop for recommendations on bowling ball options for seniors.
What’s the lightest and heaviest ball you can use?
The maximum ball weight that is allowed in professional competitions is 16 pounds. Any higher and the user will be automatically disqualified.
Since the lightest bowling ball is 6 pounds, bowlers have a range of 10 pounds to determine the most suitable bowling ball weight.
Why use the right bowling ball weight?
If you can bowl with a heavy ball correctly for extended periods, you can benefit tremendously and see improvements in your game.
Heavier balls have more pin carry action and back-end violence, leading to more strikes. Pin action is imperative and highly effective when you throw a poor ball; it can mean the difference between a 7-10 split or just one single pin.
Failure to identify the right bowling ball weight or using a heavier ball may also be detrimental to your well-being.
When you are uncomfortable with throwing a heavy ball, your form will suffer. Incorrect form, coupled with a heavy ball, may lead to bodily harm and disastrous results on the scoreboard.
Using a ball that is too lightweight also has many disadvantages.
Lighter balls, as I mentioned earlier, maybe easier to control, but they don’t have the force and resistance to generate the appropriate pin carry action and thus, knock down all bowling pins. A lighter ball restricts your ability and would be better reserved for spares.
What Ball Weight Do Professional Bowlers Use?
Previously, all professionals were unanimously in agreement that heavier balls performed better. Thus, almost all used a 16-pound ball, which is the maximum weight permitted for competitions.
However, the number has decreased in recent times. A 16-pound ball isn’t the go-to option anymore.
Reliable reports indicate that around 70% of adult male pros use 15-pound balls these days. There are those who prefer balls weighing 14 pounds, too.
Meanwhile, female professionals, on average, resort to a ball weight of 14 pounds to get the job done. Balls weighing 14 pounds have enough power, but are still considerably light.
When it comes to determining the best bowling ball weight for you, you are your best judge. A heavier ball does not always mean a better ball.
Many prefer balls weighing 14 pounds, but there are also those who’d rather use 15-pound balls. It also doesn’t mean that just because you have a light buid, you can’t use a ball weighing 16 pounds when a 16-pound ball is what you’re most comfortable with.
Pay attention to your body and learn how it responds when you bowl with balls of various weight ranges. If it gets uncomfortable for you after a short time, consider using a lighter ball.
Bowling better requires you to find the ideal bowling ball weight, not the heaviest bowling ball. You can also seek some advice from your local pro shop if you are still confused.