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Are Bowling Balls Weighted to Spin?

are bowling balls weighted to spin

Bowling balls are made of many different materials which are layered to ensure your ball performs properly when thrown down the alley. While the outside is made of different kinds of plastic, many bowling balls contain a weight block in the interior.

The inside of a bowling ball contains a weighted block that will help the ball to roll down the laneway effectively. It is designed to ensure the ball is carried all the way down the laneway to the pins, on the curve that the bowler intended, to hit the pins as effectively as possible. 

The quality of the interior weight will depend upon the quality of the bowling ball. Standard use balls from your local alley are more likely to be symmetrical inside, with the weight evenly distributed. Professional-grade bowling balls are weighted differently, to give bowlers a different experience when bowling, and achieve their desired results. 

Are Bowling Balls Weighted?

Yes, bowling balls are weighted. The average 10-pin bowling ball is weighted between 6 to 16 lbs, depending on the size of the bowler, and their throwing power. A professional bowler can bowl as fast as 22 miles per hour, and with practice and ability, may opt for a heavier ball.

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Due to their size, all bowling balls will have some weight to them. Weight is important to not only be able to carry the ball to the end of the laneway in a straight or curved line depending on the way you throw it, but also to be able to knock the pins down once it gets there. 

Though similar in size, a soccer ball or basketball would not be able to knock down pins in the same way a bowling ball can. As bowling balls are rolled and not thrown or kicked, they need weight to get to the end of the laneway and knock down the pins. While Cristiano Ronaldo could probably kick a soccer ball that hard, most of the rest of us could not. 

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Does the Weight of a Bowling Ball Make a Difference?

Bowling balls are weighted differently to fit all sizes of a person who might be throwing them. Those with smaller frames, or who are inexperienced, may prefer to use a lighter ball to get used to throwing it. However, the heavier the ball, the harder it can hit the pins, if thrown correctly.

The transfer of energy from the speed of the ball to the pin will be greater in heavier balls, but this weight can also make it more difficult to throw. If you are an amateur bowler, you can still get good results from a heavier ball, you just might not get as much speed out of it. 

How to Choose the Right Bowling Ball Size

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Your bowling ball should be 10% of your body weight, standard balls are between 6 to 16 pounds. Children under 60 pounds can still use the 6 pound balls but may need help from an adult. People over 160 pounds can use the 16-pound bowling ball, as this is the highest weight balls are made. 

However, as mentioned above, the heavier balls are typically harder to throw. If your alley has options for balls, start at 10 pounds and gradually work your way up to 16 to see what works best for you. Though 10% is recommended, amateurs don’t need to abide by this as much, as they are not used to the weight or technique for throwing, and could hurt themselves.

Though not weight-related, another thing to look out for when choosing a bowling ball is properly spaced finger holes for your hands. If the holes are too close together, your hand won’t be able to grip the ball, and you won’t be able to throw it properly. If the holes are too far apart, you will hurt your hand trying to hold or throw the ball. 

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How Do Weighted Bowling Balls Work?

The weight on the inside of a bowling ball is shaped in many different ways by manufacturers, to try and appeal to bowlers with different preferences. While all are trying to achieve the main goal – to get a strike – each variation of weight distribution will do so in a different way. 

However, the inside of all professional-grade bowling balls are shaped oddly. They all have a bulbous center of some kind and a weighted disc-like shape at one end. All the bulbous shapes are said to do different things, such as create better hooks, or tweak performance and curves. 

But the weighted disc at the end serves the same purpose in every ball – to help the ball get the momentum it needs to roll down the laneway, and then to hit the pins with enough force to (hopefully) bring it all down. 

Are Professional Bowling Balls Weighted Differently?

Yes, high-end bowling balls will have the advanced technology as described above. This is preferred among professionals, as they are able to manipulate the ball’s trajectory better, and hit the pins more effectively. 

In standard-use bowling balls, which you would find at your local bowling alley, the insides are generally more symmetrical. This is to allow amateur bowlers to get a feel for the movements required to play the game effectively, and because they are easier to mass-produce for the average player at a bowling alley. 

Final Thoughts

While you may not pay much attention as an amateur bowler when at your local alley, bowling balls have different weights to them. The primary function of the weight is to help ensure the bowling ball gets down the aisle and knocks down pins when it gets there. 

Though there are recommendations for bowling ball weights based on the weight of the bowler, this is something that many amateurs don’t need to worry about. If you’re looking to be a more professional bowler, consider working your way up to the 16-pound ball, to be able to hit the pins more forcefully. 

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