How Does Bowling Ball Weight Affect Speed? 7 Things To Know

Last updated on May 26th, 2021

Do you want to know how to score the perfect strike? Believe it or not, there is a lot of Physics and calculation that goes behind the same. When speaking of bowling, a few factors influence how well or how badly you bowl. 

The aim is one of them, and so is the quality of the place. However, a critical factor is also the weight of the bowling ball. You might be wondering how exactly that matters. There is a relatively straightforward logic that goes behind the same. 

Some people believe that bowling ball weight vs. speed has no connection. However, that is far from the truth. Regardless of whether you’re a professional or an amateur, you must know more about the effect of the weight on your speed so that you can make the best choices and score the highest points. 

1. Influence Of Weight 

When it boils down to a bowling ball, it’s essentially from plastic, reactive resin, urethane, etc. Sometimes it could be one of these things, and sometimes even all of them. The most common balls are the ten-pin bowling balls, which have three holes— one for your thumb and two for your fingers. 

If you happen to have done some entry-level physics at your school or college, you know that speed and weight are inversely proportional. The weight of any object— in this case, the ball— determines the speed that it takes. 

Therefore, the rule is that a heavyweight ball will tend to knock over the pins with a lot less speed when compared to a lightweight ball. That is because the more it weighs, the less speed it generates as it travels towards the pin. 

When the ball is light, you can use a lot more force upon a lot lesser weight. Therefore, when it hits the pins, the impact is significant and long-lasting. That, in turn, ensures that you knock down many pins, and you get the score you need. 

If you go ahead and choose a heavier one, keep in mind that the speed of your hit has significantly reduced. Even if you have a perfect aim, you will end up knocking down or toppling over a lot fewer pins than you would essentially like to. 

2. How To Throw It?

Now that you know how the physics of bowling works, it is time to understand how to throw a heavy bowling ball and a lighter one. If you have a heavier one, you will have to apply a lot more force to have the same speed. 

However, a lightweight ball will usually go ahead and travel a long distance on its own. That will even be possible with the most minimal force. If aimed in the right direction and pins, you have got yourself a strike! Or maybe even two. 

Experts recommend trying out different balls and sizes before you fixate upon understanding better what balls you are comfortable. Anything above that tends to become too heavy and thus comes with a significant impact on the speed. 

Therefore, it’s pretty essential to choose the right one. Professional players always recommend playing with a lightweight ball so that your muscles face as slight strain as possible, and you don’t even need to put in too much energy every time you play. 

It is imperative to stay in the middle. Your size should neither be too big nor too small. That will give you the best accuracy and ensure that you always hit the right shots with just the right speed. 

3. Level Of Impact

Another crucial factor to keep in mind, though, is the impact level. For instance, think of your younger sibling pushing you, and think of a wrestler doing the same. No matter how slow the wrestler is, the fact that he weighs more makes all the difference. 

He has greater strength, which means that the wrestler wins when it comes to impact. Therefore, while the speed of a heavier ball significantly reduces, it might sometimes topple down more pins simply because of the high and massive level of impact. 

In this way, using a heavier ball turns out to be more beneficial. These varying reasons and answers are why you must be completely clear on exactly what sort of ball you want to choose. 

4. Specifics Of Selecting The Right Bowling Ball

Quite naturally, when you’re standing at the end of the lane, your sole motive is to hit all the pins. To help you effectively achieve that, here are some bowling ball weight vs. speed specifications you must keep in mind.

  • You must carefully evaluate the size of the ball’s finder holes as per your fingers. That’s because the fit will determine whether the ball’s weight will lodge with your weight.
  • You should check if the finger holes are too tight or too loose for you as the ball might be too light or too heavy as per your weight. 
  • If you happen to suffer from medical conditions such as back pain or past spinal injuries, you must opt for lighter balls. Additionally, you must pick one out as per your weight and height.
  • While the ideal weight of a bowling ball for an average male bowler is 14 to 16 pounds, that for a female is 10-14 pounds.
  • The material used in the ball also affects its weight, and ultimately its speed as well. Urethane and polyester are pretty common to find.

5. Material, Weight, And Speed

Urethane and resin material helps you match the hooks with ease as compared to plastic balls. The primary reason behind this effect is that they can meet the lane’s grip quite firmly. On the other hand, plastic bowling balls are ordinary due to the cost-effectiveness.

They are also relatively light in terms of weight, and you can bowl straight shots, even if you’re inexperienced. Besides, they’re pretty versatile and fulfill a host of roles, such as a spare ball or a strike ball.

All bowling balls, regardless of quality, consist of a core-shell, referred to as the cover stock. Moreover, the weight is highly dependent on the core, and so is the performance. If you choose a heavier ball, you’ll undoubtedly have a better speed and effect on pins. 

They use Urethane and resin combined to construct the core and cover stock in most high-quality balls nowadays. Resultantly, you end up with better speed and weight and can easily topple pins entirely in one go.

6. Merits Of A Heavy Bowling Ball

Several merits are associated with using a heavy bowling ball; we have explained some of them above. Here are a few more to help you out. 

Free Swing

With a heavier ball, you get more pounds concerning per square inch, elevating your impact on the pins. Furthermore, you’ll get to use a natural swing that is facilitated by the weight, unlike light balls. With a lightweight bowling ball, you’ll likely throw the ball, thus reducing your chances of scoring all pins.

Better Striking

Weight is directly proportional to potential energy. As a result, when you swing a heavy ball, the inertia is ultimately transferred to the pins. The weight determines the hitting power, and you must only hit the first four pins for the highest impact.

Hooking and Deflection

As mentioned before, you can create a more extensive and better hook using a heavier ball, and you also get a highly prominent arch. That enables you to take powerful shots, aiming for the pins. The hooking has further amplification with the reduced deflection it accords, as they carry percentage is more evident.

7. Merits Of A Light Bowling Ball

While there are many benefits associated with a heavy ball, the lighter bowling balls have a few merits. Ultimately it would help if you chose the ball’s weight as per your requirement and body stature. Here are some of the benefits of using a lighter ball.

High Comfort

Due to their weight, you’ll find that the lighter balls are easier to roll, and you won’t have to curve your arm too much. Also, you can make adjustments to your posture without the ball weighing you down, thus enhancing your speed. You also don’t need to execute too much force as they are effortless to roll.

Easy Control

Quite evidently, it’s much more straightforward and easier to control a light bowling ball. Therefore, you can alter your throw or roll to better grip the speed and impact. That specifically makes them great for beginners as they’re great for training.

Final Words

Ultimately, the weight of the ball depends on your preference and requirements. If you’re a novice, going for lighter balls will help you control the speed and motion better. Whereas, if you have a significant amount of experience, you must use heavier bowling balls to maintain their course while passing pins.