Bowling is a common and popular sport and entertainment activity, which is based on target hitting. The main constituents of the bowling are bowling balls, pins, and bowling lanes. The lanes are narrow pathways of hard but smooth wood. In this sport, the bowling pins are placed at one end of the bowling lane. The bowling player throws the ball rolling from the other end of the bowling lane to hit the pins.
The pins are cylindrical wooden objects. These resemble- more or less- pears in shape. These are narrow at the top and have an oval middle part with a flat base.
A bowling ball is a spherical ball. These balls are hard and vary in size and outer configuration a lot. Balls for ten-pin bowling- which is the most common bowling- have three holes for fingers and the thumb. Balls of Five-pin bowling, Candlepin bowling, Duckpin bowling, and Kegel have a smooth outer surface, and those are small enough to be held in the palm. The bowling balls – the most common- are about 8.6 inches in diameter and weigh about 6 to 7 kilograms. The weight of the ball is a fundamental element that impacts the performance of the player. Hence a bowling player must get a bowling ball of suitable weight for them.
The bowling balls of various weights are available in the market. Sometimes we get confused by seeing that the other players are using heavier balls. It becomes difficult for us to choose the ball of the right weight for us. This Bowling Ball Weight Guide is a tool to overcome these difficulties.
Before we proceed further, let’s study the effects of ball weight in bowling.
Effects of the Ball weight
The effect of ball weight is visible at the time the ball collides with the pins.
If the ball is too light, it may not knock down pins properly. If the ball is too heavy and you throw it at a regular speed, it may lose momentum till it reaches the other end of the lane, unable to knock down the pins. If you throw the ball with an extra force, it will knock down the pins, but you may sustain an injury at your wrist.
So, both types of ball- heavy or light – have their advantages and disadvantages. The right ball weight may vary from person to person, depending upon his body weight and expertise level. Though some people use the ball with 10 pounds of the ball weight, this weight may be ineffective for some players. They will not get any pin action.
The reasons for the effects of weight on bowling results lie in the laws of Physics. If you choose a heavy ball that you can sustain and throw easily, the overall impact of the collision will be very high. Because a heavy ball moving at a particular speed has a higher momentum as compared to that of a light object running at the same speed.
Now it depends on your skill to find the best speed to have maximum advantage. Besides, you can utilize your ability to find out the best bowling angle, revolutions, and action to have maximum gains.
Bowling ball weight also creates a negative effect. If a ball is too heavy, it is also possible that you may not throw it with full potential, which will result in an ineffective delivery. You will lose the game. Besides, the too heavy ball will affect your health adversely. The fatigue will grip you very soon. You may also get an injury due to the heavy ball.
If a ball is lightweight, it will move with low momentum. It will be unable to create the required effect at the time of the collision. It is easy for the other physical factors, such as the flow of the air, to change the dynamics of a light ball when it is in the motion. In addition, you cannot give the desired swing to a lightweight ball.
But, choosing the right ball weight cannot be generalized for every player. We will have to take into consideration every factor before deciding the correct ball weight for a player.
The Criteria to Choose the Right Bowling Ball Weight
The most prevalent principle which we take into consideration to ascertain the right bowling ball weight is that the ball should weigh approximately ten percent of our body weight. But in most cases, this rule does not hold good due to the influence of various factors. Some people may not cope up with a ball weighing ten percent of their body weight.
The practical rule to find out the right bowling ball weight is that you should be capable of throwing it comfortably in repeated actions. Suppose you throw a heavy ball successfully in the first throw, but you may feel discomfort in consecutive throws. Hence, this weight is not suitable for you. It is recommendable to go for a lighter ball in this case. You will win the game by throwing the ball at the right speed consistently.
In essence, the right bowling weight for us is which we can throw comfortably in repeated throws.
Lightest and Heaviest Bowling ball weights in use
Keeping in mind the young bowling lovers, the ball manufacturers make it a point to create lighter bowling balls. The bowling ball with the least weight available in the market weighs about six pounds. This ball is for small children.
The maximum bowling ball weight, which is permissible by the bowling associations in the USA, is around sixteen pounds. These balls are for adults and professional players.
So, we get a wide range of ten pounds in bowling ball weight. We can choose a ball out of this range as per our choice and suitability.
Bowling Ball Weight for Professional Bowlers
In the recent past, the professional bowlers used to throw heavy balls – sixteen pounds balls. They thought that they could easily knock down pins with the heavy balls because these balls move with higher momentum. Besides, the heavier balls do not bounce off at the collision.
But, nowadays, the scene has changed. A majority of professional bowlers now opt for slightly lighter ball weight. Out of these, some bowlers opt for fifteen-pound ball weight, while the rest go for fourteen-pound ball weight. There are still some die-hard professional bowlers who throw the sixteen-pound ball.
In the case of women professional bowlers, most of them prefer to throw the fourteen-pound ball weight. Though in some cases, they use thirteen pounds and fifteen-pound ball weight, but the most preferred ball weight is fourteen pounds.
Ball Weight for Post-Injury Cases
It is very tough and painful for the bowlers to make a comeback on the bowling lanes after recovering from an injury. The post-injury comeback process should be well-coordinated, and it should be in a phased manner.
If you have resumed bowling after recovering from an injury, you should start bowling by using lighter ball weights. The best recommendable ball weight in his case is six to eight pounds. You have to increase the bowling ball weight gradually. It is advisable to undertake these activities under the guidance of a doctor or a physiotherapist.
Average Ball weight for Different Age Groups
We cannot frame a general rule to determine the average ball weight for a particular age group. The ball throwing capacity of a bowler depends upon various factors viz. their weight, their height, and their fitness. But, it is a general observation that the average ball weight for an adult male is fourteen pounds. This observation also shows that the average ball weight range for the adult male to bowl comfortably lies between thirteen pounds to fifteen pounds.
The adult females generally use ball weights between ten pounds to fourteen pounds, depending upon their physical attributes. Hence, the average ball weight for them is approximately twelve pounds.
The children usually remain comfortable in throwing the ball weight, which is numerically equal to their age. For example, a five-year-old child will use a ball weight of five pounds.
Alteration in Ball weight
You can change the ball’s weight by adding extra weight to it. But there are strict rules for the weight alteration. The ball shop owners usually do not allow altering ball weight if your requirement does not meet with bowling associations’ regulations.
One other permissible way to alter the weight distribution within the ball is to drill a hole in the ball. But, this process will change the dynamics of the ball. Besides, the rules of bowling associations are so strict that a slight variation can disqualify you from the sports event.
The above lines have been written to help you select the most suitable bowling ball weight. We have seen in the article above that the most preferred ball weight is fourteen pounds, but we have to assess our physical fitness and well-being before opting for any ball weight. We hope that this article will guide you to ascertain the right bowling ball weight for you.