How Much Does a Bowling Ball Weigh [Finally Revealed]

You may have gone through the different house balls at your local bowling alley. Each bowling ball could weigh from 6 pounds to as massive as 16 pounds at the maximum. The 10-pound difference makes sure there’s at least one that you can handle.

A male bowler will likely use anywhere from 14 to 16 pounds while an average female can probably take up to 14 pounds. However, there are female pros who can deliver up to a 16-pound ball just as good and powerful as their male counterparts.


How much should a bowling ball weigh

Finding the right bowling ball weight is crucial to one’s game. As a rule of thumb, it considers that the more substantial your bowling ball is, the higher the chance you can hit a strike. A lane delivery using a 6-pound ball will not have much of an impact on those big heavy pins compared to the force coming from a 14-pound bowling ball.

It cannot be said, however, that everyone should be throwing a 14-pound ball, let alone something that weighs 16-pounds. Truth is, it will not guarantee a strike each time. It will be dangerous for an inexperienced bowler to do this as the consequences can be very catastrophic. You can be thrown off your balance and injured in the process.

While a heavy bowling ball that’s thrown by the right player has an excellent chance of knocking down the pins, it is not a sure strike. Your force will depend on the speed at which you deliver that heavy ball. And typically, this is significantly reduced because of its weight. 

All things being ideal, a player that throws a heavy ball with the right amount of speed can be expected to hit that strike. That’s why pros are more equipped to handle a heavy bowling ball. They are more in control by incorporating a balanced act during its delivery. 

Matching your bowling ball weight

While you will find most pros handling a ball weight from 14 to 16 pounds,  there are those who stick to their considered minimum weight which is 12 pounds. Using one’s body weight as a rough reference, an average player may divide his weight by eleven to get his ideal ball match. So if you weigh 110 pounds, your bowling ball can be as much as 10 pounds.

It is acceptable for children to equate their age to ball weight. As an example, a 12 pounder can be suitable for a 12-year old bowling enthusiast. When you find that even at a young age if he can use a 12-pounder entry ball without issue, he can also start considering a professional ball type.

Understanding the bowling ball dynamics

We know that multiplying the ball speed by its mass weight determines the force of a bowling ball. This force explains why both the bowling ball weight and operating speed, and not solely it’s weight, is always a significant factor in playing the game at a high level.

For instance, you will deliver almost 200 pounds of force when you use a 12-pounder that has average speed of over 16 miles per hour. When you throw a 14-pound ball at 14 at a rate of only 13 miles an hour or less, it will less likely convert into a strike compared to the lighter ball.

The weight and speed go hand in hand in bowling. If you are not capable of throwing at a higher rate, then you will be better off with the lighter balls. In the same manner, the bowler should be able to match the added pounds with the added speed to knock the pins over.

More than just its coverstock

There may be some who think that a bowling ball has a spherical shape made of hard plastic, which is the basis of its weight. Bowling ball consists of a hidden core that functions as a weight block and it comes in several varieties. 

Along with many modern innovations, there have already been several modifications to today’s bowling balls. You have cores that are performance-enhancing where the bowling ball weight is decreased but can maintain its expected speed. 

As such, you cannot dismiss a lighter bowling ball which has this technology; it is likely that you will perform better with it than a traditional more massive ball.

Customizing finger holes

Even if you’re not considered a bowling expert yet, but would like to get serious with your game, having custom finger holes will help a lot. These refer to the drilled holes in the ball where you insert your three fingers. This layout can be an essential aspect of your ball behavior. 

These finger hole pitches help distribute the ball weight to one’s body. When your thumb has drilled an angle away from your palm and fingers, your hand will manage to stay behind the ball at the time of its delivery.  

You might think that just because of its spherical shape, it wouldn’t matter where you insert your finger holes. On the contrary, the type of core your ball dictates this aspect.

Because the bowling ball core comes in different shapes, drilling the holes in a particular spot may result either in a stable or weak hook reaction. Knowing the type of center your ball has will allow you to get several different responses based on where you position your finger holes.

Having custom pitches shouldn’t cost you more when you buy your bowling ball. Since you’re at it, you can pick your favorite color and design to make it scream with your personality.

Which coverstock material is best

It is not uncommon to find polyester bowling balls that can be used freely by casual bowlers. However, you can’t expect them to grip better than a resin or urethane ball regardless of their weight.

If you want a particular ball weight that has better hook potential, you should go for a reactive resin coverstock. A resin ball can add more friction as it nears the pins. This results in an impressive back end motion and better entry angle, which will increase your chances of hitting a strike.

To sum up this article, how much does a bowling ball weigh? Or rather how much it should weigh for you, can be determined based on your weight, skill, and game expectations. Don’t forget that it’s not all on how much it weighs; you should also make the most out of it by practicing your best delivery. Happy bowling!

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