Why Do Bowling Balls Crack?: What to Know

If you bowl often, you may have observed that the coverstock tends to develop cracks after some time. The coverstock of a bowling ball cracks irrespective of the type of its material. There are various factors responsible for these cracks.

Why do Bowling Balls Crack?


When a rolling ball passes through the bowling lane, its motion creates friction between the coverstock and the lane surface.  The frictional force acts as a guide to the ball towards the aim. But it works as a damaging force to coverstock. Besides, the ball comes in contact with different substances during this course. Hence, the balls crack after prolonged use.


There are two factors responsible for cracks on the balls due to storage. 


The ball core or center mass is a solid mass, while the coverstock is made up of elastic material. When a ball remains stationary during storage, gravity pulls the center mass downwards. As a result, the downwards portion of elastic coverstock expands while the upper portion contracts. This expansion and contraction end up cracking the ball.

Air contact 

The dry air in the storage space sucks up the moisture of the coverstock. The dry coverstock tends to crack after some duration.

Role of Grip

The gripping of the ball, too, plays a considerable role in cracking the ball.  The edges of the holes experience wear and tear due to the insertion of the fingers and the thumb. Besides, the palms may contain oil or other substances. The ball cracks due to these factors, too. 

Effect of the temperature 

Cracks occur on the bowling ball due to temperature change. The effect of temperature on bowling balls is two-fold – Physical and Chemical.

Physical Effects 

The overstock of the ball expands and contracts due to the rise and fall of the temperature, respectively. This expansion and contraction create cracks on the coverstock.

Chemical Effect

The change of environmental temperature changes the color and moisture level of the coverstock. These effects are due to the chemical reaction due to the temperature change. Eventually, these effects result in cracks on the ball. 

Tips to prevent Cracks 

It is not a tricky task to prevent cracking the bowling balls. These are some tips to prevent cracks.

  • Keep changing ball position during prolonged storage
  • Wipe the wall with a clean towel after use
  • Let the ball adjust to storage room temperature before storage
  • Always use the ball with clean hands 

Structure of a Bowling Ball  

The bowling ball consists of a core and coverstock.


It is the outer shell of the bowling ball. It has three holes for the handgrip. At present, the bowling balls having coverstock of various materials are available.


The plastic overstocks are usually hard but have a smooth outer surface. These balls exert less friction to the bowling lanes, owing to the smoothness. Therefore, these balls are useful for beginners.


Urethane is a very durable and tough material. So, urethane coverstocks are more durable and harder. But, these coverstocks lack smoothness. These balls require more initial force while bowling. The balls with urethane coverstock come into use for players of intermediate level.

Reactive Resin

These coverstocks are hard and have minimal smoothness. Besides, these are less durable than any other material’s coverstock. But, these coverstocks exert considerable friction to the bowling lane surface. These balls are used by expert bowling players owing to the maneuverability of these balls.


These cover stocks are rough and hard, but these coverstocks offer maximum friction. These balls come into the use of most advanced players.


The core of a bowling ball is a mass placed inside the ball. It may be high or low center mass. A player can choose a ball of low or high mass as per his expertise level. 

Final Thoughts

In the lines above, we have tried to explain – why do bowling balls crack. We hope this article will help you in better upkeep of the bowling balls to prevent cracks and increase their durability. 

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