How To Choose A Bowling Ball At The Alley

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 29th, 2010

What is the tool that will make the single biggest difference in your bowling game? Your ball, of course! If you?re just starting out, you may not have your own ball. Luckily, the bowling alley has many "house" balls to choose from. They?re the balls that fill the racks around the walls of the bowling alley, and they?re free to use.

Light Ball or Heavy Ball?

Bowling balls usually range in weight from 10 to 16 pounds. Many alleys do have children?s balls that weigh 6 to 8 pounds, but they aren?t heavy enough to be useful to an adult-sized bowler.

Most beginning bowlers are comfortable with a 10 or 12 lb. ball. While it might make you feel macho to hurl a 16-pounder down the lane, if it?s too heavy for you to throw comfortably a minimum of 20 times in the span of half an hour, it'll be too hard to control. How macho will you look throwing gutter balls, or worse yet?dropping the ball?

However, if your ball is too light, it won't have the power to knock the pins down. A light ball thrown by a strong person has little power and tends to bounce down the alley. However, a small woman may feel most comfortable with an 8 or 10 pound ball to start.

House balls are free to use, so consider selecting 2 of different weights. You'll find the weight engraved on the outside of the ball.

Fits Like a Glove?

The grip of the ball is very important. If the finger holes are too tight your fingers can get stuck, if they are too loose, you could have a hard time keeping hold of the ball.

Check the position of the finger holes as well. Are they too close together or too far apart? Your fingers should slide in and out comfortably, without feeling cramped or stretched out.

Beauty is Only Skin Deep?

Take a good look at the outside of the ball. It should be smooth and shiny, free of pits, chips, cracks or scratches. If your ball is damaged, it won't roll smoothly down the lane or go where you want it. Many house balls have these flaws, but if you're careful you can usually find one in good condition.

Have a Ball

Of your own, that is! The best way to be certain that you have the right ball for you is to purchase your own ball. The pro shop in your bowling alley will have many choices, and the folks at your pro shop will be able to help you select just the right ball and drill your finger holes for a custom fit.

Whether you choose to use a house ball or buy your own, take into consideration the weight of the ball vs. your physical strength, the size and width of the finger holes and the condition of the outside of the ball. By selecting the right ball for your size and strength, you'll give yourself a distinct advantage on the lanes.

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
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