Do Heavier Bowling Balls Knock Down More Pins?


If you want to improve your bowling game, choosing a proper bowling ball is the most important thing to do. The first step is buying your ball. But be sure that it will fit your hand well; this is key in the outcome of each throw of the game.

Can a heavier bowling ball knock down more pins? The answer is yes, generally. Heavier bowling balls can knock down more pins compared to lighter bowling balls. When you have a heavier ball, you have more strike force on the pins. But in the end, what matters is that the hand and wrist hold the ball’s weight well.

Whether you have a heavy ball or not, you will not bowl well if you are not comfortable with it. In this case, you can use a lighter bowling ball and you will feel better. The tension will go down, and your game will improve. This is why sometimes the most powerful ball is not always the best for you.

Are Heavier Bowling Balls Always Better?

You have to know that heavier bowling balls have more force when hitting the pins. The lighter balls have more speed when rolling down the lane. The heavy or light bowling ball will be better depending on how comfortable the player feels with it.

 Are Heavier Bowling Balls The Best?

I don’t want to disappoint you but the heaviest balls are not always the best. When someone starts in this sport they might feel that a heavy ball is the best option. A novice in this sport thinks that the heavier ball will give him the results he is looking for. He does not know that this type of bowling ball has its disadvantages.

When you have a heavier ball you must use more force when throwing it. If you don’t use all your strength, you will not get the result you are looking for.

Do Heavy Bowling Balls Roll Faster Than Light Bowling Balls?

Of course not. The heavier bowling ball will always roll slower than a lighter one. You have to throw with a lot of force but you will never reach the speed of lighter balls.

How To Tell If My Bowling Ball Is Too Heavy For Me?

If you want to know if your ball is too heavy for your hand or wrist you should put the ball on the palm of your hand.  What you must do is try to hold it without using your arms or your other hand to see if the weight is fine for you.

Another trick is to hold the ball with one hand, if you feel your body leaning towards the ball, that bowling ball is not the right weight for you. 

How Can I Choose The Best Bowling Ball For Me?

Thanks to technology, you can find bowling balls of all types, prices, and tastes. There is a bowling ball that fits every person’s hand. The key is to know which one to buy and try to make a smart buying decision.

You should remember that the best ball does not exist. Each bowling ball will give you certain advantages depending on the style of the player who is going to use it.

Let’s review below some recommended methods for choosing the right bowling ball.

A Method Based On The Player’s Body

Choose a weight that you feel comfortable with. The bowling ball’s weight range is from 3 kilos to 7 kilos (6 – 10 pounds). It is good to know the weight to choose a ball that can hit the pins hard but at the same time, the player can control it. This is the key point.

  • A heavy bowling ball is not always better. Remember that you will have to throw it at least 20 times in a game.
  • It is good to practice at home carrying an exercise weight with a weight like the bowling ball. Move your arm, holding the weight as if you were going to throw it. Repeat this exercise 23 times and when you finish, see how you feel.
  • The bowling ball cannot weigh more than 10% of the weight of the person who is going to use it.

Look for a ball that fits the player’s fingers well. The ball has holes for the finger’s hand. That is why it is so important to choose a bowling ball that allows the player to get his fingers in and out. It is also not recommended that the holes be so large that the fingers do not fit well.

  • When the bowling balls are heavier, their finger holes are larger. When the bowling balls are lighter, its finger holes are smaller. Remember this before buying a ball.
  • The specialized bowling stores can make custom holes based on the size of the buyer’s fingers. Do not lose this advantage of having a ball that is perfect for your fingers.
  • Visit bowling stores for more finger accessories.

Choose a bowling ball that is either right-handed or left-handed. It is good to know that there are right-handed and left-handed balls. The difference between the two balls is the location of the thumb hole.

A Method Based On The Player’s Style

Choose the speed of the ball. You can have a hard time getting your ball rolling with speed. For those cases, some types of balls are special for running fast down the lane. One thing to keep in mind is that shiny balls are faster than opaque balls.

  • The faster balls have the disadvantage of not being able to make shots with spin.
  • Companies produce balls with special materials to help the player have a better grip.
  • Another option for beginners is plastic balls. Their great advantage is that they always go straight and do not lose control. 
  • Polishing your bowling ball will also improve the speed in the lane.

Choose a ball for its spin effect. We can also find bowling balls that can make spin effects when they run down the lane. The companies created these balls with special technology and materials to do this.

  • The effect of spinning down the lane can change from one ball to another. You can talk to the store staff and listen to their advice and recommendations on the best balls. The store staff will know what ball to recommend you according to your game style.
  • To learn more about this type of bowling ball, it is best to ask a professional for advice.

Choose a ball according to the lane. You must know when the lane is dry type or has oil. This information will help you to understand what kind of bowling ball you should use.

  • The only way to know if the lane has too much or too little oil is to ask the bowling center staff. The other way is to make several practice throws and see how the ball moves on the lane
  • Sometimes the tracks have oiled more in the center than at the edges. Sometimes there are tracks with more oil in the front than at the back. To find out, throw the ball and after you have understood where is the oil, and start playing
  • Clean the ball with a dry towel before each throw

Choose a color you like. Choose the color or design that you like the most. This may not give the player more speed or spin, but it will give the player more confidence.

What Is The Maximum Legal Weight For A Ball?

The maximum legal weight for a bowling ball is 16 pounds or 7 kilograms. This is a disposition according to the American Bowling Congress.

What Is The Best Weight Ball For A Child?

If you are looking for a bowling ball for your young child get one that matches his or her age.

  • For a 6 to 7-year-old: the 6-pound ball
  • For a 10 to 11-year-old: the 10-pound ball

People can change this rule to a heavier or lighter weight ball depending on the child’s weight.

What Is The Best Weighted Ball For An Older Person?

Older people have more delicate bones. For that reason, experts recommend that they should use a bowling ball that is not too heavy.  

For senior players, a ball of 8 to 10 pounds would be the correct weight. If the older person is a beginner, it is also necessary to look at the flexibility and strength of the hands.

When an older person is still strong, a heavier ball can be a good alternative. Although this ball is heavier, it should give them the comfort of movement.

A Final Thought 

Every bowler should know the differences between a heavy bowling ball and a lighter ball. It is also important to know how weight can change your game.  

If you are new to this sport, you should get things right from the beginning. The best way to build a successful and fun bowling journey is to understand the game and its tools. That formula will give us the best bowling experience possible.

Tim C, M.D.

My grandfather and my mother both taught me bowling in the early 1970’s. I spent the next few decades working my way up to the top tiers of local amateur bowling leagues, and continued to participate in college at the club level. My wife and bowled in coed leagues before kids, and then taught our kids bowling as they grew up. Now I’m here to answer some of the web’s common questions about bowling rules, techniques, equipment and more. To see more about the site, check our About Page

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