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Bowling Ball Weight Guide: Choosing The Right Weight For You

One of the key decisions a bowler must make is about the weight of their bowling ball, especially when they’re in the market to buy a new bowling ball. This bowling ball weight guide is meant to make that decision-making process much easier. It’s easy to buy a ball that’s too heavy because you know other bowlers who comfortably throw a ball that heavy.

It’s also easy to sell yourself short and limit the potential pin carry and overall back-end violence you can create with your shot by grabbing a ball that’s a pound or two on the light side. Our bowling ball weight guide is here to help you eliminate the guesswork while informing you on everything and anything that has to do with picking the right bowling ball weight for you.

Choosing The Right Bowling Ball Weight For You

One popular rule of thumb for determining what weight of bowling ball you should use is to find a bowling ball which is the closest to ten percent of your body weight which it can possibly be. However, this rule isn’t foolproof and doesn’t take into account the massive variance of factors which could prohibit somebody who weighs a certain amount from throwing a ball in accordance.

The real truth about finding the right bowling ball weight for you is to pay attention to your own physical well being and be honest with yourself. If you can throw a 16-pound bowling ball, that’s absolutely great. But, can you throw it repeatedly for multiple games without risk of injury or tiring out in such a way that your overall shot efficacy is reduced?

If you find yourself struggling to finish games with a 16-pound bowling ball, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t downsize one or two pounds. In the end, your scores will benefit from being able to throw a consistent shot at your highest capacity – rather than starting out strong and burning out from overtaxing yourself.

In short, the weight of bowling ball you should use is the heaviest one you can comfortably throw for multiple games at a time.

What Is The Average Bowling Ball’s Weight?

It’s hard to pinpoint an exact average as bowlers come in all different ages, shapes, and sizes. However, statistics show that the average adult male will be comfortable throwing a 14-pound bowling ball. The usual range for an average adult male is 13 to 16 pounds, but there’s always variance based upon upper body strength, pre-existing injuries, age and overall physical condition.

As for the average adult female, 12 pounds is the most popular weight for an avid bowler who hits the lanes at least one time a week. The range for an average adult female is usually around 10 to 14 pounds, with the above caveats and variations also applying. 

When it comes to young bowlers, a popular rule of thumb is that the average child’s age will directly correlate to the average weight of bowling ball they will be comfortable throwing. So, an eight year old will usually throw a ball around eight pounds, a six year old will throw a six-pound bowling ball, and so on.

Does Bowling Ball Weight Matter?

Yes, for several reasons. The first is simple physics. The heavier a bowling ball that you can comfortably throw, the more innate force you can utilize thanks to the mass of the bowling ball. It’s all about matching your ability to comfortably repeat a maximum force throw with the very top weight of bowling ball which you can do that with. 

By doing this, you can find the best blend of average bowling ball throw speed, revolutions and general efficacy and accuracy to maximize your overall shot and increase your scores by a heck of a lot. 

Bowling ball weight also matters in the reverse manner. If you are trying to do too much by throwing a bowling ball too heavy for you, your shot will not be optimized and you’ll be left trying to compensate with incorrect form. Not only will this do a disservice to your scores, it could also injure you if you’re not careful.

On the flip side, throwing a bowling ball that’s way too light will also affect your shot negatively – not giving you the proper resistance and force necessary to get the best pin action possible for your particular shot.

What Is The Lightest & Heaviest Bowling Ball Weight?

While there are certainly options out there for toddlers which are a little bit lighter, the lightest weight of bowling ball you can find at most pro shops and bowling alleys is six pounds. Six-pound bowling balls are usually meant for small children or those with severe physical disabilities which prohibit them from throwing a ball any heavier.

The heaviest bowling ball allowed at most bowling alley, in most leagues, and by the United States Bowling Congress is sixteen pounds. This gives bowlers a range of ten pounds for which to choose a bowling ball from – a wide range which makes a bowling ball weight guide like this a good idea when you have no idea what to do and what to choose!

Can You Add Weight To A Bowling Ball?

It is possible to add static weights to alter a bowling ball’s weight, but usually these weight bearings are frowned upon or are downright prohibited in most leagues. In fact, many pro shops will refuse to add static weights to a bowling ball for you if the alterations you’re looking to make aren’t in accordance with normal USBC regulations.

One legal way of altering a bowling ball’s overall weight displacement is to drill a balance hole into the ball which changes the ball’s overall force metrics in such a way as to best maximize a bowler’s shot pattern. There are very hard and fast regulations for balance holes in league and professional play, with a limitation of one ounce of “side weight” (displaced weight from the balance hole) allowed in games sanctioned by the United States Bowling Congress.

Always check with your league administrators before making any alterations to your bowling ball. It’s better to be safe and throw a legal ball than risk expulsion for modifying a ball outside of regulations.

What Weight Of Bowling Ball Do Pro Bowlers Use?

For a long time, professional bowlers mainly subscribed to the bigger is better rule. Just a couple decades ago, the majority of professional bowlers threw 16-pound bowling balls – the maximum weight allowed.

This has changed dramatically in recent years. According to most reports, about 70% of professional bowlers on men’s tours around the world throw a 15-pound bowling ball. A smattering of professional bowlers use 14-pound balls, but the majority of the rest of the field do still throw the maximum weight 16-pound bowling ball.

As for women’s pro bowlers, the average bowling ball weight usually thrown is around 14 pounds. There are a few 13-pound bowling balls being used and several 15-pound balls, but it usually plateaus at 14 pounds for the majority of female professional bowlers.

Closing Thoughts

At the end of the day, you need to be your own bowling ball weight guide. Use your best judgment and listen to your body when you’re at the lanes. If the bowling ball you’re using is demanding extra effort and decreasing the effectiveness of your overall play as the frames roll on, consider downsizing. 

Bowling ball weight is an essential part of any bowler’s shot arsenal. However, the real trick is to find the right weight and not the highest weight. Only the right weight of bowling ball will do the right damage at the right times whether it’s in your first game of the day or several games in.

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