how do you pick the right bowling ball for your style 3
how do you pick the right bowling ball for your style 3

Bowling enthusiasts, have you ever wondered how to choose the perfect bowling ball that suits your individual style? Well, look no further because we’ve got you covered! In this article, we will explore the various factors that come into play when selecting a bowling ball that complements your unique technique and enhances your overall performance on the lanes. From the weight and coverstock material to the drilling layout, we will guide you through the process of finding the ideal bowling ball tailored specifically to you. So, let’s get rolling and discover the secrets behind picking the right bowling ball for your style!

Types of Bowling Balls


Plastic bowling balls are an excellent choice for beginners and those who prefer to throw a straight shot. These balls do not have a reactive coverstock, which means they do not hook or curve like other types of bowling balls. Plastic balls are known for their durability and affordability, making them a popular option for casual bowlers.


Urethane bowling balls offer more hook potential compared to plastic balls. They are a great choice for intermediate and advanced bowlers who want to enhance their control and accuracy. Urethane balls have a smooth and predictable reaction on the lanes, making them suitable for various lane conditions.

Reactive Resin

Reactive resin bowling balls are designed for maximum hook potential. These balls are ideal for bowlers who want to generate a significant amount of hook and curve on the lanes. They are commonly used by advanced bowlers who can adapt their technique to match the lane conditions. Reactive resin balls require a bit more skill to control, but they offer a dynamic and powerful performance.


Particle bowling balls have a unique texture on their coverstock, which increases the friction with the lane. This increased friction allows these balls to generate an even stronger hook and provide excellent pin action. Particle balls are recommended for advanced bowlers who have a high rev rate and are comfortable adjusting their shot to match the lane conditions.


Hybrid bowling balls combine the characteristics of both solid and pearl coverstocks. They offer a versatile reaction on the lanes, making them suitable for a wide range of bowlers. Hybrid balls can handle both medium and heavy oil conditions, providing a balanced performance. These balls are a great option for intermediate bowlers who want to improve their skills and adaptability on different lane surfaces.

Consider Your Skill Level


If you are a beginner bowler, it is important to choose a bowling ball that matches your skill level. A plastic or urethane ball would be a suitable choice, as they offer a more controllable and predictable reaction on the lanes. These balls will help you focus on developing proper technique and accuracy before moving on to more advanced ball types.


Intermediate bowlers have a better understanding of the game and can handle balls with more hook potential. Reactive resin or hybrid bowling balls would be a great option for intermediate bowlers. These balls allow for more versatility in adjusting to different lane conditions and can help enhance your skills.


Advanced bowlers have mastered their technique and have a higher rev rate. They can handle balls with the highest hook potential, such as reactive resin or particle balls. These balls provide the maximum amount of hook and power, allowing advanced bowlers to attack a variety of lane conditions and achieve exceptional pin action.

How Do You Pick The Right Bowling Ball For Your Style?

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Bowling Ball Weight

Factors to Consider

When choosing the weight of your bowling ball, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, consider your physical strength and stamina. It is essential to select a ball weight that you can comfortably handle throughout a game without sacrificing accuracy or control. Secondly, consider the style of bowling you prefer. If you prefer a slower, finesse-style approach, a slightly heavier ball might be suitable. On the other hand, if you prefer a faster, more aggressive approach, a lighter ball may be more appropriate.

Bowling Ball Weight Chart

To help determine the ideal weight for your bowling ball, refer to a bowling ball weight chart. These charts consider factors such as your body weight and physical strength to provide a recommended ball weight range. Keep in mind that these charts are just a guideline, and it is crucial to consider your personal preferences and abilities when making the final decision.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

One common mistake many bowlers make is choosing a ball that is too heavy for them. This can lead to fatigue, poor technique, and increased risk of injury. Another mistake is selecting a ball that is too light, thinking it will be easier to control. However, a ball that is too light may lack the power and pin action needed for optimal performance. Finding the right balance is essential for improving your game and preventing unnecessary strain on your body.

Finger Hole Span and Grip

Proper Measuring Techniques

To ensure a comfortable and secure grip, it is crucial to have the correct finger hole span and grip size. To measure the span, place your hand flat on a measuring device called a “span gauge” or spread your fingers out on a flat surface and measure the distance between the thumb and fingers. This measurement should be taken by a professional at a bowling pro shop to ensure accuracy.

Grip Types

There are different grip types to consider, depending on your comfort and technique. The most common grips are conventional grip and fingertip grip. The conventional grip involves inserting your fingers into the holes up to the second knuckle, allowing for a more secure and traditional feel. The fingertip grip, on the other hand, involves inserting your fingers only up to the first knuckle, providing more flexibility and control over the ball’s release.

Custom Drilling

Once you have determined the proper finger hole span and grip size, it is time for the ball to be custom drilled. This process is done by a professional using precise measurements to match your hand’s specifications. Custom drilling ensures that the ball feels comfortable in your hand and promotes a consistent and effective release.

How Do You Pick The Right Bowling Ball For Your Style?

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Bowling Ball Coverstock

Coverstock Materials

The coverstock of a bowling ball plays a significant role in its performance on the lanes. There are three main coverstock materials to consider: plastic, urethane, and reactive resin.

Plastic coverstocks are the most basic and least expensive. They are durable and offer a smooth surface, making them ideal for beginners or those who prefer a straight shot.

Urethane coverstocks provide more friction with the lane, resulting in enhanced hook potential. They offer a controlled and predictable reaction, making them popular among intermediate and advanced bowlers.

Reactive resin coverstocks are highly advanced and offer the highest hook potential. They create more friction with the lane, allowing for a powerful hook and increased pin action. Reactive resin balls are commonly used by advanced bowlers who have developed the skills to handle their aggressive reaction.

Surface Finishing

Bowling ball coverstocks can have different surface finishes, which further affect their performance. The surface finish refers to the texture or grit of the coverstock. Common surface finishes include polished, matte, and sanded.

A polished finish creates less friction with the lane, resulting in a smoother and more controlled reaction. It is suitable for lighter oil conditions.

A matte finish offers a slightly higher level of friction, providing a controlled hook potential. It is versatile and can handle a range of lane conditions.

A sanded finish creates the highest level of friction, allowing for the most aggressive hook potential. It is ideal for heavy oil conditions where maximum hook is required.

Choosing the Right Coverstock

Choosing the right coverstock depends on your skill level, lane conditions, and personal preferences. If you are a beginner or prefer a straight shot, a plastic coverstock would be a suitable choice. Intermediate and advanced bowlers may opt for urethane or reactive resin coverstocks, depending on their desired hook potential and lane conditions. It is essential to experiment with different coverstocks and surface finishes to find the one that suits your style of play.

Core Design and Shape

Symmetrical Core

A symmetrical core design has a consistent weight distribution throughout the ball. This design provides stability and predictable motion. Symmetrical cores are suitable for bowlers who prefer a balanced and controlled reaction on the lanes. They are often used by beginners and intermediate bowlers.

Asymmetrical Core

An asymmetrical core design has an uneven weight distribution, creating a more dynamic and aggressive ball reaction. Asymmetrical cores provide increased hook potential and pin action. These cores are popular among advanced bowlers who can manipulate their ball’s motion to match different lane conditions.

Choosing the Right Core

Choosing the right core depends on your skill level, desired ball reaction, and lane conditions. Beginners and bowlers who prefer a more controlled reaction may opt for a symmetrical core. Advanced bowlers looking for maximum hook potential and versatility may choose an asymmetrical core. It is essential to understand the characteristics and performance of different core designs to select the one that aligns with your playing style.

How Do You Pick The Right Bowling Ball For Your Style?

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Hook Potential

Understanding Hook Potential

Hook potential refers to a ball’s ability to curve or hook as it travels down the lane. It is influenced by the ball’s coverstock, core design, and the bowler’s release. Higher hook potential allows the ball to change direction more aggressively and generate a greater angle towards the pocket.

How to Determine Hook Potential

Determining the hook potential of a bowling ball can be done by looking at its specifications, such as the coverstock material, surface finish, and core design. The higher the hook potential rating, the more aggressive the ball’s reaction will be. It is essential to consider your skill level and the lane conditions when selecting a ball with the desired hook potential.

Adjusting Hook Potential

If you find that your ball’s hook potential is too aggressive or not aggressive enough, there are ways to adjust it. Altering the surface finish of the coverstock can either increase or decrease the hook potential. For example, a polished finish reduces friction and decreases hook potential, while a sanded finish increases friction and enhances hook potential. Additionally, adjusting your release technique, such as altering your axis tilt or rotation, can influence the ball’s hook potential.

How Lane Conditions Affect Ball Choice

Dry Lane Conditions

In dry lane conditions, where there is minimal oil, the ball may have limited traction. To compensate for this, it is advisable to use a ball with a weaker coverstock or a polished surface finish. These characteristics will allow the ball to slide smoothly down the lane and maintain a straighter trajectory. Additionally, adjusting your release technique to minimize rev rate and changing your target line can help navigate dry lanes effectively.

Medium Lane Conditions

Medium lane conditions offer a balance between oil and friction. For these conditions, a versatile ball with a medium hook potential is ideal. A reactive resin or hybrid coverstock with a matte or sanded surface finish can provide the right balance of hook and control on medium-oil lanes. Fine-tuning your release technique and experimenting with different lines can further optimize your performance.

Oily Lane Conditions

Oily lane conditions require a ball with high hook potential to cut through the oil and reach the pocket effectively. Reactive resin or particle coverstocks with sanded surface finishes work well on oily lanes. These coverstocks create more friction with the lane, allowing the ball to grip and hook earlier. Adjusting your release technique to generate a higher rev rate and targeting the pocket on the dry boards can help combat oily lane conditions.

Adjusting to Lane Conditions

It is crucial to adjust your ball choice based on the lane conditions you encounter. By observing the oil patterns on the lanes and understanding the characteristics of your bowling balls, you can make informed decisions on which ball to use. Experimentation and adaptation are key to achieving consistent performance across different lane conditions.

How Do You Pick The Right Bowling Ball For Your Style?

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Considering Ball Speed and Rev Rate

Ball Speed

Ball speed refers to how fast the bowling ball travels down the lane. It is influenced by factors such as the bowler’s delivery technique and the ball’s weight. Faster ball speeds tend to result in a straighter trajectory and less hook potential. Slower ball speeds, on the other hand, can generate more hook potential. It is essential to find the right balance of ball speed to optimize your control and accuracy.

Rev Rate

Rev rate refers to the number of revolutions the bowling ball undergoes in a given span of distance. A higher rev rate creates more hook potential, whereas a lower rev rate produces less hook. Higher rev rates generate more skid and backend reaction, while lower rev rates create strong roll and smooth transitions. Understanding your rev rate allows you to select a bowling ball that complements your style and maximizes your hook potential.

Matching Ball Speed and Rev Rate

To achieve optimal performance, it is crucial to match your ball speed and rev rate. Adjusting your ball speed and rev rate simultaneously allows you to fine-tune your shot and adapt to different lane conditions. Experimenting with different release techniques and ball selections can help you find the right combination that suits your style of play.

Consulting with a Pro Shop

Benefits of a Pro Shop

Consulting with a professional at a bowling pro shop offers numerous benefits. Pro shop experts are knowledgeable about the latest bowling ball technologies and can guide you in selecting the right ball to match your style and skill level. They can provide accurate measurements for proper finger hole span and grip size, ensuring a comfortable and secure fit. Pro shop staff can also offer valuable insights on adjusting your technique and release to improve your performance.

Seeking Professional Advice

If you are unsure about which bowling ball to choose or how to improve your game, seeking professional advice is highly recommended. A bowling coach or instructor can provide personalized guidance tailored to your needs and goals. Their expertise and experience can help you fine-tune your technique, make informed equipment choices, and develop a strategic approach to the game. Investing in professional advice can significantly impact your bowling journey and help you reach new heights in your skills and performance.

In conclusion, selecting the right bowling ball for your style is a crucial aspect of improving your game. Choosing the appropriate type of bowling ball, considering your skill level, weight, finger hole span, grip, coverstock, core design, hook potential, lane conditions, ball speed, and rev rate all contribute to finding the perfect match. Consulting with professionals at a pro shop and seeking expert advice can enhance your knowledge, technique, and overall experience as a bowler. Remember to experiment, practice, and enjoy the process as you discover the bowling ball that brings out the best in your game.

How Do You Pick The Right Bowling Ball For Your Style?

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Jack Jones
Hello! I'm Jack Jones, and I'm thrilled to welcome you to the world of bowling at As a dedicated bowler and bowling enthusiast, I am excited to share my passion for the sport with you and provide valuable tips to enhance your bowling skills. With years of experience in the bowling industry, I have gained a deep understanding of the game and the techniques required to improve your performance on the lanes. I have had the privilege of bowling in various leagues and tournaments, honing my skills and learning from top-notch professionals along the way. Through my articles and content on, my aim is to guide beginners and experienced bowlers alike towards achieving their personal goals on the lanes. Whether it's refining your bowling technique, mastering tricky oil patterns, selecting the right equipment, or strategizing your game, I'm here to equip you with the knowledge and insights you need to excel. I strongly believe that bowling is not just a sport but a way of life. It brings people together, fosters friendly competition, and provides a platform for personal growth. My writing philosophy is centered around promoting a positive and inclusive bowling community where everyone can thrive and enjoy the game. As you explore the rich resources and articles on, I encourage you to reach out and engage with me. Share your experiences, ask questions, and let's build a vibrant community of bowling enthusiasts who are passionate about improving their game. Thank you for joining me on this exciting bowling journey. Together, let's knock down those pins and inspire each other to reach new bowling heights! Sincerely, Jack Jones