Heavy Bowling Ball or Light Bowling Ball: Which is Suitable for You?

Heavy Bowling ball vs light bowling ballHow heavy or light your bowling ball should be? Now that’s a question every bowler comes across every now and then, especially the beginners. Selecting a bowling ball that doesn’t feel too light or too heavy is the ideal one. Bowling with a heavier ball can injure you physically. On the other hand, bowling with a lighter ball than your standard will not give you satisfactory performance. You don’t want these troubles, do you?  Therefore, using the right weight (size) of the bowling ball is profoundly important. So heavy bowling ball or light bowling ball, which is suitable for you? Let’s find out.

Heavy Bowling Ball vs Light Bowling Ball

As per the regulation of the US Bowling Congress, we know that the heaviest bowling ball stands at 16lbs. The lightest bowling ball you can find in a bowling center is 6lbs. So a bowler gets to choose any size from this 10-pound range. Before you choose between a heavy or light bowling ball, there are a few things you should know about.


A heavy bowling ball has better capacity when it comes to strikes. The ball’s weight block carries a significant amount of weight and so when it rolls on the lane, the energy remains intact with every roll. When the ball reaches the pins, it can knock down the pins with the ‘extra energy’ you need to achieve strikes. Oppositely, a light bowling ball may or may not have a core on the inside. Even if it does, it serves the purpose of rolling straight down the lane. So the possibility of strikes with a light ball is way less compared to a heavy bowling ball. 

Hooking Ability:

This is for bowlers who have been bowling for a while. After gaining plenty of experience, it’s time for you to hook your ball to increase your average. So you need more strikes and spares in your game. A heavy bowling ball can do that because of its unique symmetrical/asymmetrical core on the inside. A lighter bowling ball will show a straight shot and when thrown in the middle, it will go for the headpin only. A heavy bowling ball, on the other hand, hits about 4pins and that ensures strikes much better.

Free Hand Swing:

Of course, because of the weight, the freehand swing with a heavy bowling ball is less critical as it naturally makes throwing easier. This is because heavy bowling balls give you more pounds per square inch. We don’t really see in lighter bowling balls. Thanks to physics, right? With a lighter ball, you will have to kind of push the ball with your hand as you release it from your hand.


When you play with a heavy bowling ball, you will see it provides less deflection compared to a light bowling ball when it goes through the pins. Bowlers believe that this is one of the major advantages of heavier bowling balls. In comparison to lighter bowling balls, heavy bowling balls improve your carry percentage and that’s an advantage for better accuracy.


Sad but true, your ability to control a bowling ball is higher when you’re playing with a lighter ball. You will enjoy the highest level of control with an entry-level bowling ball. So with a heavy ball, you will have to learn to adapt to its movement. That’s why a great way to deal with this problem is to find the standard bowling ball weight for optimum game play.

Wrist discomfort/comfort:

Wrist discomfort or strains are more common with a heavier ball. The possibility of getting your wrist injured is also higher with a heavier ball. Because of wrist strain, you will have some trouble with your bowling speed and rev rate. Lighter bowling balls, on the other hand, don’t add any discomfort at all and bowlers play pretty comfortably. That’s why bowlers who are just starting with a heavy ball should always wear a wrist guard for protection.


Do you think bowling is an easy sport? Well, you’re wrong. It requires a lot of bodily movement and warm-up exercise. If you’re a beginner and playing with a lighter ball you will still get tired after a while. But the chances of getting tired are more with a heavier ball.  That’s simply because it requires a great amount of energy to roll and throw around. Bowlers playing with a 16lbs ball is more likely to get tired in less time as compared to lesser weight.


Do you think that a heavier bowling ball rolls faster? Well, you’re wrong. A lighter bowling ball is relatively faster than a heavier bowling ball. The reason behind this is- a heavy bowling ball usually imparts more energy. Although it slows down the ball a bit, it also explains why it is more likely to score strikes.


The impact on bowling pins is important. As a lighter ball doesn’t have much weight, it doesn’t roll and hit the pins with much impact. That’s because they don’t have enough inertia. Oppositely, a heavy bowling ball hits the pins like a truck and flies them. Hence you score more strikes.

How to find the best bowling ball weight for you?

Do you know what is the correct bowling ball weight for you? Don’t you worry! You can easily find that out. But how? Have you ever heard of the bowling ball weight calculator? Well, you can easily find out your accurate bowling ball size (weight) using that universal calculator.

The formula goes something like this:

Standard bowling ball weight is = (10% of your body weight + 1).

So all you have to do is, stand on a weight scale and know your body weight. Then calculate the 10% of that weight, and whatever the result is, just add 1 with it, and voila! Now you know the best bowling ball weight for you.


Your standard bowling ball size can either be on the heavy side, or on the lighter side. But whatever it is, it will have consistency with your weight. So it shouldn’t feel too light or too heavy. If you think the standard one feels a bit heavy, go for a pound smaller. And, if you think it feels a bit light, go for a size bigger. So, good luck fellow bowlers!


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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