What Size Bowling Ball Should a Woman Use?

what size bowling ball should a woman use

Ideally, your bowling ball should be 10% of your body weight. That means an adult female should use a bowling ball weighing anywhere from 10 to 14 pounds. 

Are you an adult woman who wants to play bowling? Then you need to pick the right bowling ball size. Here, we’ll tackle the proper ball weight to help improve your game.  

What Size Bowling Ball Should a Woman Use?

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Adult female bowlers should use bowling balls weighing 10 to 14 pounds (4.5 to 6.35 kilograms). 

This range corresponds to the 10% rule, wherein your bowling ball should be 10% of your body weight. 

That means if you weigh 120 pounds, your ball should weigh 12 pounds. Incidentally, this is also the most popular weight for adult female bowlers who play once a week. 

In case you get a decimal number (say, 13.6 pounds because you weigh 136 pounds), round it up to the next digit. This should give you a bowling ball size of 14 pounds.

The size range is lower compared to men (14 to 16 pounds) simply because women have smaller-built bodies.   

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Exceptions to the 10% Rule

The only exception to the 10% rule is if you find it difficult to use a ball size meant for your weight. This is especially the case if you have had arm surgery or any other related condition. If you have any of these issues, then you may opt for a lighter-sized ball.

Another issue is age. 

Teenage girls are often smaller and lighter than adult women. Because of this, they should use balls weighing 11 to 14 pounds. Younger players often need to follow the age rule, i.e. a 14-year-old girl should use a 14-pound ball. 

The same goes for senior women. Since older people lose muscle and strength with age, they should play with lighter balls, i.e starting with a weight of 10 pounds. 

Why It’s Important to Choose the Right Bowling Ball Size

As with anything else, size matters a lot.

For one, the right size will help you throw consistent speeds and result in better pin action. 

Remember: speed multiplied by mass equals the impact of the ball. Because of this, you’d want a ball weight that suits your body weight. 

If not, your game will not be as good as you want it to be. 

What Happens When You Use a Lighter Ball?

A lighter ball comes with a lighter force. You won’t be able to hit the pins even if you throw it with all your might.

So how do know if you’re using a lighter ball? From the get-go, you’ll feel that it’s just too easy to use. 

Since a lighter ball is easier to throw, you’ll end up catching a lot of air when you do so. 

To avoid these problems, try the next weight. Use it for a few sessions to see how it changes your gameplay. 

If it makes your game better without causing body pain or soreness, then it means that this next size is the right one for you. 

What Happens When You Use a Heavier Ball?

A heavier ball will lead to speed loss because you’ll find it harder to throw. Expectedly, a slow-moving ball will potentially miss the pins.   

Apart from affecting your game, using a heavier ball may lead to physical harm.  

Using the wrong ball size can lead to sore muscles ; joints. You may also experience aches ; pains on your shoulder, arm, wrist, and/or back. 

Even with the use of braces, prolonged usage of a heavy ball may lead to more severe complications (i.e. muscle/tendon strains or tears). 

Factors to Consider When Buying a Bowling Ball

Apart from picking the right weight, there are several other factors you need to consider when purchasing a bowling ball:

Coverstock Material

Coverstock, which is the material that covers the outer surface, helps determine how the ball performs in certain lane conditions. 

Best for beginners, a polyester or plastic coverstock is durable and less porous.  It offers no friction and less hook, which means you should use it to hit pins that are split.

Another option is Urethane, which is ideal for beginner and intermediate bowlers. Compared to plastic, it provides better friction – and thus, moderate hook potential. With this, you can hit pins at certain angles. 

Last is Reactive Resin, which is often used by advanced and professional bowlers. It provides the most friction, which means it hooks and carries pins better.

This expensive option is available in 3 types, namely reactive hybrid, reactive pearl, and reactive solid. 


This large mass inside the ball helps distribute the weight around it. In essence, it helps build the momentum once it moves down the lane. 

A symmetrical core is more stable and thus provides more consistent movement. 

An asymmetrical core, as the name suggests, has disproportionate top and bottom weights. This means it can move faster or slower, thus giving you better hook potential.  

Thumb Fit

You can check this by inserting your thumb into the proper hole

Press one side of your thumb to one side of the hole, then slide it in and out. 

If your thumb barely reaches the size, then you’ve got the right thumb hole size. If it’s too loose or tight, then you may need to try the next size. 

Bowling Ball Span

The span pertains to the length between the ball holes. In other words, it’s the measure of the distance between the drilled thumb hole to the two other holes. 

To check for the right span, try to fit a pencil beneath your hand when you hold the ball.

The right span should allow the pencil to lightly touch your hand. If not, it means you’re not overstretching your hand or even tightly gripping the ball. 

Final Thoughts

Picking the right bowling ball size will greatly affect your game.

So if you want to play well, then your ball should remain within the recommended range for adult females: 10 to 14 pounds. 

Depending on your physical condition or age (teenage or senior), you may need to settle for a lighter ball. 

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