Bowling ball, how to choose: Weight

Bowling ball types and sizes

Bowling ball, if it is right, will make your performance even better.

It is important to know what to pay attention to when choosing one.

If you are a beginner, you will find a few simple and useful tricks to determine the right bowling ball.

Find one that is already drilled and match weight and size with your strength.

But if you want to bowl for serious, use our tips, try out few different balls, and when you find a size and weight that fits you best, go to the sports shop and purchase one that will be drilled based on your finger pattern.

The main factors to look for in a bowling ball are:
Type – depends on your game style. Are you playing hooks or throwing straight?
Grip – you can choose from the conventional grip or fingertip grip.

And last on the list, weight. We will help you to understand better the importance of the right weight of the bowling ball.

Bowling ball types and sizes

For better understanding, you need to know some basics about bowling balls.

We will introduce you to the main sizes of bowling balls on the market.

From bigger to the smallest one, you need to know the terminology and have a place to start your search.

This is a significant factor in purchasing one.

Bowling ball types and sizes
Bowling ball types and sizes

There are 3 sizes of the bowling balls that determine their weight too:

  • Ten-pin ball
  • Duck-pin and five pinball
  • Candle-pin

Ten-pin ball

Ten-pin balls weigh 7.3 kg, and their diameter is from 21.59 cm to 21.83 cm.

The radius of gyrations is from 2.46 to 2.80, RG differential is ≤0.06, and the friction coefficient is ≤0.32.

Holes, finger inserts, and thumb slugs are custom made urethane tubes placed in the drilled holes.

We use finger inserts to enhance torque provided by the fingers after the thumb is removed from the ball hole.

Duck-pin ball

This ball has a diameter that is from 12.1 cm to 12.7 cm.

The weight of the duck-pin ball is from 1.5 kg to 1.7 kg.

These balls do not have finger holes. In size, they are bigger than candle-pin balls.

Bowler uses these balls on a scale down ten-pin lanes in amusement parks and gaming rooms.

Five-pin ball

Characteristics of this type of ball are the same as for duck-pin balls.

Candle-pin ball

This ball weights from 1 kg to 1.1 kg.

The diameter of candle-pin balls is just 11cm cm, and it weighs less than 1.1 kg.

Bowling ball weight

Weight is crucial. If you choose one that is too heavy or too light for you, it will ruin your performance.

If you are a beginner, you need one that weighs right to learn right.

The light ball will make you use much energy to roll it down the lane, and if you use one that is too heavy, you can injure yourself easily.

Because of that, we have few tricks to help you see our simple weight calculation and 10% rule for bowling ball weight.

We have simple calculations for beginners to know where to start.

That can be a great starting point for knowing what number you will find your perfect bowling ball.

Simple weight calculation:

  1. Determine your exact body weight
  2. Convert it into pounds
  3. Divide gave number by 11 and 2
  4. The result is the approximate higher number to look in
  5. Pick a ball that weight does not go above that number

10% rule – another simple tip for beginners – your ball should not go over 10% of your total body weight.

Heavier ball

If you pick heavier balls, you will have more control over it because of the slow throw that will be precise.

The heavier ball will impact pins with more momentum.

Also, it will make more pin action. Another great tip is not to go over 10% of your total body weight.

Moreover, pay attention that the ball is not too heavy to risk injury.

Lighter ball

If your ball is lightweight and you are a beginner, you will feel that you can control your ball better.

But the light ball will make you throw it with 20 mph fast down the lane.

As a result, you will have no control over it.

Whether you choose a lighter or heavier ball, it is crucial to fit you perfectly.

The average weight used:


The average weight of the ball for men is from 5,5 kg to 7 kg.
The average weight of the ball for women is from 4 kg to 6,3 kg.

But that can depend on your body type and strength.

The most important factor is the feeling that you have while holding the ball.

The ball shouldn’t be loose but also not too tight.

It would be best if you had a good grip on it to feel control over the ball.

Trick: the ball should make a sound.

If it ”poops” or ”whooshes” when you remove your thumb quickly, it means holes fit.

Ball – hole sizes

We already mentioned ”pop” that ball makes if it fits you right. Hole size is important because a good grip makes a good player.

If holes fit your fingers, they can easily slide in and out from the ball.

If they are lost, you will need to use much strength to control the ball.

If your fingers get stuck on the other hand, that is a problem too.

How to determine what ball fits your grip:

Firstly, find the right size for you thumb
Secondly, determine your span distance.

Span distance in length between thumb hole and finger holes.

If you are a beginner and want to do bowling ball recreational, the easiest way is to go to a bowling alley and pick different ones from the racks.

Memorize ones that fit you.

But if you would like to bowl for serious, go to the professional sports bowling shop and purchase a ball that will have holes drilled personalized on your finger and span pattern.

Layout grip

Bowling ball Layout grip
Bowling ball Layout grip


Layout grip is a pattern of the positioning for drilling holes related to locator pin and mass bias. PAP determines the layout for drilling. PAP is a positive axis point, pocket end of the rotations initial axis.
Pin down is a place on the layout that is between the thumb and fingers holes.
A pinup is a place on a further layout from the thumb hole than from the finger holes.

Conventional grip – a pattern of drilled holes when fingers are inserted to the second knuckle.
Fingertip grip – a pattern of drilled holes when fingers are inserted to the first knuckle.
Two-handed delivery – bowling type when a player does not insert thumbs.

In the end, calculate what weight fits your body type with our simple ball weight calculation or with a 10% rule.

With that number, you will easily find a ball type that is connected to that weight.

After this, you need to determine your bowling style that you will love to learn.

The fun part, choose coating, materials, and the end design of the bowling ball and additions like bowling ball protective bag and maintenance materials.

Bowling is a complex sport and has many details that you need to learn and know if you want to do this successful and serious.

But we promise you, when you learn the basics and find the perfect ball for you, you will get hooked on it!

When you have this fact, you just need to find a drilled pattern that fits you, or if you want to get serious, get your ball drilled for you, which will make your performance even better. And then you are surely ready to bowl!

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Last updated on October 18, 2020 7:54 am

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