Picking the right bowling ball is undoubtedly a daunting and overwhelming task. Even professional bowlers and more experienced bowlers in your league bracket struggle to find a ball they can comfortably throw over and over again.

Whether you’re a bowling center operator or just a beginner starting your journey, finding a new ball is tricky as heck. How do you know if a ball’s weight is right for you? Is a reactive resin cover stock too aggressive to throw a ball in a straight line? How do different bowling alleys affect different balls?

You likely have plenty of questions about picking the right bowling ball. Lucky for you, we have plenty of answers. With the following list in mind, you’ll be able to narrow down your bowling ball choices and find the right option for increased pin action and higher scores!

14 Things To Consider When Picking The Right Bowling Ball For You

1) Pre-drilled bowling balls are a risky proposition.

Don’t settle on a used bowling ball or a pre-drilled option that doesn’t quite fit your hand. You’ll get more control from a ball that doesn’t crimp your middle finger. And when the thumb hole is just right, you’ll be able to get clean releases exactly at the point you want them to happen. Pro bowlers don’t use pre-drilled bowling balls. You shouldn’t either.

2) Try using multiple house balls at your local bowling alley to get a feel for what you like.

Before you invest in your own ball, use a few house balls at your local bowling alley. Go one or two pounds heavier and lighter than you normally would and see how you perform. Use a plastic ball for straight shots and see how it feels coming out of your hand. Gather as much information as you can from first-hand experience with house balls. This will help you find the right ball for you later!

3) You’ll score much higher on average with your own bowling ball than with a pre-drilled house ball.

You’re gonna want your own ball when oily lane conditions make things challenging, or when depleted conditions push you to your limit. Finding a ball with the ideal cover stock for your shot on both wet and dry lanes is crucial to performing at your best. From your first ball to your last, you need a ball tailored to your strengths and weakness as a player.

4) Your ideal ball weight isn’t the heaviest ball you can throw.

A heavier ball isn’t always the best option. Yes, you want to get as much force behind your throw as possible. However, laboring to throw a ball that tires you out will only decrease your scoring potential as the games go along.

5) A heavier ball drilled specifically for your hand might increase your real optimum ball weight.

Whether you prefer a Roto Grip hook monster or a steady Brunswick option, a ball drilled to your hand might increase your idea ball weight. That’s because you’ve got a comfortable, steady grip that allows you to hold more weight more efficaciously. And with most companies offering free drilling or discounted drilling for new balls, what have you got to lose?

6) Don’t look down on lighter balls. You might score more with a lighter ball, regardless of your body weight!

Don’t throw a 16-pound ball just because you think you have to. Oftentimes, a ball that is two or three pounds lighter will offer you better scoring potential over the course of three or four games. With the right cover stocks in play providing you with more friction when you need it, your ball weight will be secondary to both your skill and the construction of the ball.

7) Urethane balls are better than reactive resin for a straight shot.

Urethane balls aren’t outdated, especially as spare balls or options for straight shooters. The outer surface of a urethane ball is built for dry to medium lanes, offering limited hook potential in favor of reliability. With a urethane ball, you’ll be able to hit your spot straight-on and find a groove on single-pin spare shots.

8) A reactive resin bowling ball has the hook potential you’re looking for.

The other shell of a reactive resin bowling ball is made for absorbing oil and creating unique angularity on the lanes. From birthday parties to league nights, you can make people ooh and ahh with the hook potential of a reactive ball. Reactive resin balls start at lower prices than you might think nowadays, and each one offers a different approach to entry angles and breakpoint theatrics.

9) Urethane and reactive resin balls are fantastic options for different situations.

A serious bowler usually has more than one ball on hand when headed to the bowling center. The outer shell of one ball might be perfect for a fresh house shot, while the other might be better for when things get messed up a little bit. Urethane and reactive resin balls are both smart plays at different times, making them a good one-two combo for experienced bowlers.

10) A ball with a plastic coverstock might be the right ball for picking up spares.

Plastic balls are not just for kids. If you want to pick up a single pin or two-pin spare on a straight line, a plastic spare ball might be your best bet. A plastic ball won’t veer wildly on you or hook at the exact wrong time. That makes it a perfect play for trying to hit that pesky 7-pin after a strong pocket hit inexplicably left it standing.

11) Most bowling balls online have reviews that might help you!

We’ve reviewed dozens of bowling balls on this site alone! Read as many reviews of bowling balls as you can before settling on the right ball for you. There are even forums out there dedicated to covering every nuance of a ball, from how it reacts to different lane conditions to its ability to recover down the lane.

12) Pay attention to what you liked and disliked about your previous ball.

If you’re replacing a ball currently in your arsenal, give it one last spin at the bowling alley. What worked for you? What doesn’t? Take notes and use that to find the right replacement. And if you have a particular house ball that works best for you, try to figure out what it is about that ball that makes sense for your game. It will help you as you shop for a new one!

13) Don’t be afraid to alter your finger holes if need be.

If you get a ball drilled specifically to your hand and it just doesn’t work out, there’s a reason. Your fingers often swell or decrease in size as you play, causing finger holes to become cramped or too loose. If that’s the case, you can have your finger holes fixed to the correct shape for you.

14) Ask your local pro shop operator for their advice!

Your local pro shop manager is likely a wealth of bowling ball knowledge. If you have a good idea of what you’re looking for and what you’re not, they will likely be able to steer you in the right direction.

Closing Thoughts

Now you’re ready to find the style and type of ball perfect for your particular game! No matter what lane conditions are thrown at you and how other bowlers are performing, the right ball drilled specifically to your needs is the perfect way to turn open frames into spares and spares into strikes. The best ball for you is waiting out there. Go and find it!