If you’re new to bowling, one of the most daunting experiences can be figuring out if you should buy a ball and which kind. Buying a ball compared to using a bowling alley’s “house ball” offers several benefits, as will be explained below. In this article, I’ll cover why you might want to buy your own ball and some of the things you should consider while buying. At the end of this, I have no doubt you’ll feel a little better about making the leap if that is what you choose to do!
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Why You Might Want to Consider Buying Your Own Bowling Ball
The Bowling Universe recommends focusing on ball type, ball weight, and grip when buying your first ball. Although you probably want to buy the best brand or the highest quality ball, The Bowling Universe remarks that most entry-level balls are similar. Thus, don’t worry too much about having the best of the best. Your first ball should fit your hand and align with how you want to shoot (i.e. shooting straight or shooting with a spin).
So why should you purchase your own ball over using an alley’s house ball? First, house balls are drilled at random, As a result, the holes may not fit your hand well at all. This is a key reason why it’s usually suggested to have your own ball fit to your own specifications if possible. Additionally, house balls are heavily used by many users every day and are usually not made of the best materials. Bowling alley balls can be old and made of poor materials for players who are trying to get better. The plastic coverstock is good for straight shots but may not be suited for more advanced tactics.
The foremost consideration in purchasing your first bowling ball is its weight.
Why Choosing the Correct Weight is Important
Choosing the correct weight for a bowling ball is important. It might be tempting to choose the heaviest ball in order to show off to your friends. It is true that more weight ensures a ball strikes pins with more force. But the ball should also be light enough so it gains enough acceleration and speed to send the pins flying. Murrey Bowling Equipment perhaps sums it up best: “The most ideal ball weight is the heaviest ball that can still be rolled easily and consistently every turn.”
The weight of a bowling ball is key to “making consistent deliveries”. You’ll want to find a ball that not only allows for you to throw consistently but also feels comfortable and right for your hand and body. Conversely, choosing the incorrect weight for a ball may pose some health risks. Some injuries commonly experienced by bowlers include carpal tunnel, finger and thumb sprain, rotator cuff tear, and others. You may also experience skin irritation, chaffing, or other injuries.
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What’s the Best Weight to Choose?
According to most sources, the average weight of bowling balls found in alleys varies between 6 and 16 lbs. Interestingly, although bowling balls in alleys have the weight listed on the ball, they may not actually come close to the weight if placed on a precise scale. So if you find a weight that works for you at the bowling alley, feel free to use it as a base, but I would not recommend relying on it as a definitive weight.
The right weight of a bowling ball differs between individuals. A couple of good rules of thumb include:
- Men will most likely use a heavier bowling ball than women (above 14lbs). Women usually bowl best with balls between 10 and 14lbs.
- Pay attention to the size of the finger holes. Their size can help tell you if a ball is too heavy or too light for your hand.
- Keep your physical strength in mind.
- If you have wrist or back problems, you might want to consider a lighter ball.
Some bowlers swear that your bowling ball should weigh about 10% of your body weight.
There is no magic formula for determining the ideal weight of your bowling ball. Rather, it’s dependent on your physical strength, hand size, and size of the finger holes and span.
What’s the Best Ball Type to Choose From?
Bowling balls are made of different types of materials: urethane, reactive resin, and polyester (or plastic). Urethane and reactive resin create friction between the ball and the lane surface – this friction causes the ball to hook, or spin, across the lane’s surface. Polyester or plastic balls, on the other hand, allow for more straight trajectories. The types of throws you’re looking to achieve is something to keep in mind as you’re deciding which ball to buy.
There comes a price difference with buying balls of different types. Polyester balls will run you between $50 and $100 whereas entry-level performance balls made with other materials will cost you between $79 and $130. Keep in mind that you do not need to get the latest and greatest at the pro shop for your first ball. You can always upgrade as you determine which type of ball suits you and your bowling style best.
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What’s the Best Grip to Choose?
There are two kinds of groups you can choose for your bowling ball: a conventional grip or a fingertip grip. The Bowling Universe defines a conventional grip where “you’ll put your thumb all the way into the ball and your middle and ring finger into about the second knuckle”. A fingertip grip “means the thumb goes all the way into the ball and your middle and ring finger go into about the first knuckle.” It’s recommended that you obtain inserts if you choose to go the fingertip route. Inserts create additional friction that can enable more rotations to your throw.
If you choose a polyester/plastic ball for your ball type, you should consider using a conventional grip. If you’re looking to hook with your ball, then you might consider using the fingertip grip with or without inserts.
Next Steps and Where to Purchase Equipment
When you’re ready to make the leap, you can read these articles to learn what bowling equipment we recommend for every different kind of player and choose what suits you better. We try to review the best bowling equipment in the market every few weeks to keep up-to-date with the current trends.
- How To Choose A Bowling Ball Easily
- The 3 Best Bowling Balls For Hook
- Best Bowling Balls For Women
- The 3 Best Bowling Shoes For Beginners
- Best 4 Bowling Shoes For The Money
Having your own bowling ball is one of the best ways to ensure you’ll learn how to bowl better, bowl smarter, and probably have even more fun doing it! I hope this guide on what you should know about buying a bowling ball was informative, interesting, and hopefully even gets you excited about taking the first steps towards making that purchase!