Bowling Ball Coverstock [Ins and Outs]

Bowling Ball Coverstock

Finding a top-quality bowling ball is essential for bowling. But how you choose a first quality bowling ball? A lot of factors depend on a bowling ball. If you have no prior knowledge, Buying the best bowling ball for professionals isn’t enough.

If you’re a beginner, a professional bowling ball won’t help you improve your gaming style and score. Hence, knowing about all the key elements that make a bowling ball perfect is very important. Coverstock is one of those elements that influence the ball’s overall performance, yet many of us forget to focus on the coverstock type and finish when buying the balls. So, let’s get to know about coverstock in depth.

Bowling Ball Coverstock: What do they mean?    

A bowling ball is primarily made of two main parts – Coverstock and Core which is also known as Weight Block. While the core builds momentum at various paces, the coverstock ensures the ball’s smooth and controllable travel all the way to pins. The Coverstock is the outer shell that wraps the core of the bowling ball. It is the part of the bowling ball you can see and for that ball manufacturing companies add design, color for aesthetics, and finish/polish to match the core type. As coverstock makes direct contact with the surface of the lane, it is highly influential for hook and flare potential.

Types of Coverstock

1. Polyester/Plastic Coverstock:

Polyester or Plastic Coverstock balls are the cheapest and least aggressive bowling balls in the market. Plastic balls are most suitable for entry-level players or, bowlers who need their ball to go straight up-the-boards of the lane. As they aren’t ideal for hooking, Bowlers use plastic balls for spare shooting, especially the remaining corner pin to score some spares. Lanes that are extremely dry are good for this coverstock as well. The outer layer is very smooth, so the balls don’t create too much friction and roll down the lane just fine.

2. Urethane Coverstock:

Urethane bowling ball coverstock is a more durable option. First introduced in the 1980s, the Urethane coverstock was remarkable and innovative for everyone. Of course, Urethane is the base and main material for this type of coverstock. A regular urethane ball ensures a great entry angle to go into the pockets. It offers more friction on different boards and lane conditions compared to a plastic ball. This higher friction allows the ball to hook and obviously, a better pin action. However, the ball won’t arch if played on oily lanes. This is why Urethane balls perform best on medium to dry lanes or on dry lanes. If you want to have some control over the ball’s motion, reaction, and breakpoint, Urethane is the way to go for a better ball reaction in the mid-lane.

3. Reactive Resin:

Although Reactive Resin came after Plastic and Urethane balls, comparatively, it is less durable. But on the bright side, it offers more hook potential, friction, and pin action. The materials of Reactive coverstocks are quite similar to regular urethane formations, but, there are some extra additives blended with the formula which makes it different from Urethane coverstocks.

In general, they’re difficult to control, but a good hooking ball to be in your arsenal. If you are not a pro bowler, we will not recommened this ball for you. Reactive Resin is sub-categorized into three different types of Reactive coverstocks. Some provide additional traction and a stronger backend reaction, some are more sensitive to the lane conditions. Each has separate ball motion capabilities and hook-ability.

i. Reactive Solid Coverstock:

Out of the 3 Reactive coverstocks, Solid Reactive coverstock reacts the earliest. Generally, they come in either a high polished finish or a sanded finish for a specific and controlled surface reaction. Solid balls have more microscopic reactive pores on the coverstock surface than other reactive coverstocks. Solid Coverstocks are most suitable for fresh to heavy oil patterns. Indeed, they cut through the oil finely, however, the surface absorbs the oil too fast. Hence, they require more maintenance compared to Hybrid and Pearl reactive. They also achieve more friction out of the three and rolls down the lane evenly which later allows an overall smooth breakpoint. If you want your ball to have hook potential, Solid Reactive will be a nice investment.

ii. Reactive Pearl Coverstock:

Unlike the other two, Pearl Reactive balls go the longest. They are composed almost as same as other reactive balls, but Pearl Reactive have the mica material mixed into the formula. Mica reduces the microscopic holes which prevent the oil to get absorbed in it. Hence, they react best on dry lanes with extended length and then hook with a more aggressive arch when approaching the pocket. Reactive pearl reads and reacts to the lane quickly which leads to high friction backend motion. This mica material also adds a sparkly appearance to the bowling ball’s surface.

iii. Reactive Hybrid Coverstock:

The name ‘Hybrid’ indicates that this is a combination of pearl and solid reactive covers. And, this is why they have the advantages of both types of coverstocks. Hybrid coverstocks are designed to give the mid-lane reaction like the solid coverstock, and the manageable backend reaction like the pearl coverstock. They have so much versatility of friction match-ups to offer. Recently, they are manufacturing Hybrid coverstocks with innovation to provide a range of aggressiveness. Hybrid has now earned the place of the best-selling and most popular option for serious bowlers out there.

iv. Particle (Proactive) Coverstock:

Pretty much similar to the Reactive Resin balls, Particle coverstock balls are pretty great! The only big difference is that it has some extra microscopic pieces of material in the coverstock mixture. It is made so to reach through the heavy oil lane conditions. The ‘bumpy’ feel on the surface allows to dig in and make better responsive contact with the highest friction with the lane surface. Particle balls are a must-have for intermediate and advanced bowlers for sure.

How to choose Coverstock?

Beginners Guide to Coverstock:

If you’re very new to the bowling game and need a lot of practice to learn the basics, you can go for the plastic coverstock bowling ball. After a good amount of practice, when you feel you’re ready to go for some real action, get yourself a Urethane bowling ball. For Pro bowlers who are looking for a spare ball, Urethane will be perfect in that case as well.

Professional’s Guide to Coverstock:

If you’re a slow speed player, you should go for Pearl reactive coverstock to enjoy the natural length. On the other hand, high rev bowlers would prefer Solid reactive coverstock to hit the pins aggressively. But, overall, Reactive Resin coverstocks are versatile for intermediate or advanced bowlers who want to hook a lot. Although, Proactive coverstocks are a must-have for intermediate and advanced players. And, as for professionals, they are capable of playing in almost all bowling balls. Apart from polyester, the rest of the coverstock can easily be handled by them considering the lane conditions. If you feel the Bowling ball coverstock differences in the lane and read it properly, no one can stop you.

Difference Between Bowling ball Coverstocks and Cores

As mentioned before, the bowling ball consists of two main parts- Coverstock and Core. The core of the coverstock act as a weight block. The core of a bowling ball builds momentum for a powerful and uninterrupted ball revolution. The Coverstock is the outer shell that wraps the weight block of the bowling ball. Coverstocks make sure the ball is rolling down the lane smoothly and deliver controllable travels all the way to pins.  It is the part of the bowling ball you can see. As the core remains on the inside, you cannot see it. Both play important roles for bowling, but remember, almost 70% of the ball reaction depends on the coverstock and its finish.


So, there you have it, folks! I have explained each and every coverstock type and its performance and reaction to the lanes and how it differ from others. If you are about to buy a new bowling ball, make sure you have a clear idea regarding the Coverstock in detail. You’ll be sure that no one is making you fool and you will see the expected results considering the type of bowling ball coverstock. Good Luck!


I’m an aspiring bowler with an immense love for bowling. I started playing the game at a very early age and it’s been an integral part of my life ever since.

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