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What Size Bowling Ball Do Pros Use? Are Heavier Balls Better?

A professional bowler, who is cheered on by teammates, uses their own ball instead of a house ball to secure the win.

As a bowling newbie, you look to the pros to learn the game and improve your skills. Their bowling balls, techniques, and more serve as unofficial law in the sport.

One of the most common questions newbies have about pro bowlers is, “what size bowling ball do pros use?” You’ll find many answers online, but here you’ll find the facts.

Let’s get into the most commonly used bowling ball size for pros and everything else you need to know. 

Note: All bowling balls are roughly the same size, so for the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on the ball’s weight. Any time we use the term “size,” we are referring to weight. 

What Size Bowling Ball Do Pros Use?

For anyone who’s ever wondered what ball size pro bowlers use, the answer is simple: whatever size works best for them. Professional bowlers tend to choose a ball that fits their technique, body type, and personal preferences. 

However, there are some general trends when it comes to the weight of bowling balls used by pros. Most professional bowlers use a ball that weighs between 14 and 16 pounds. These balls are considered heavier bowling balls, and a 16-pound ball is the heaviest bowling ball.

Jason Belmonte, one of the top bowlers today, has a 227.59-point bowling average and uses 15-pound bowling balls exclusively. 

Multi-colored bowling balls sit on the ball return as the professional bowler chooses the red and heaviest bowling ball for their arsenal for the strike.

What Sizes Do Bowling Balls Come In?

Let’s touch on bowling ball sizes in general. It will help to keep our recommendations in perspective. Bowling balls come in various sizes, from 6 pounds to 16 pounds.

There are no regulation bowling balls smaller or larger than this range. These are the weight options you’ve got to choose from. 

Advantages of Heavy Bowling Balls

It’s no secret that bowling is a sport of precision. A well-aimed ball often results in a strike, while a poorly aimed ball is destined for the gutter.

So, what’s the secret to success? Some bowlers swear that it’s their ball. Here are some of the top advantages of heavy bowling balls:

  • Since the ball is heavier, it will generate more momentum and be less likely to veer off course.
  • Bowlers find that they have more control over a heavier bowling ball versus lighter balls. 
  • Heavy balls produce considerable power, which can be especially helpful for bowlers who struggle with generating speed.
  • A heavier ball is less likely to slow down as it rolls down the lane, giving you a better chance of hitting more pins. 

Are Heavy Bowling Balls Better than Light Bowling Balls?

The great debate between heavy and light bowling balls has been raging on for quite some time. Which is better? Some bowlers swear by the power of a heavy ball, while others prefer the agility of a lighter ball. 

The right bowling ball weight depends on the individual bowler and their style of play.

For instance, a heavier ball has more potential to knock down all the pins at once than a lighter ball. At the same time, throwing a heavy ball correctly can be a challenge. 

On the other hand, a lighter ball doesn’t require as much strength to throw but often doesn’t have the same impact when it hits the pins as heavier balls do. 

For this reason, it’s impossible to say definitively whether heavy or light bowling balls are better.

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How to Choose the Right Bowling Ball Size for You

A bowling ball’s size affects its hooking potential, ball speed, throwing difficulty, and more. That’s why it takes some real thought to choose the right weight bowling ball.

Knowing how a ball’s size affects all of these factors will help you choose the right bowling ball size for you because the bowling ball weight matter. Keep reading for some guidance on selecting a ball weight. 

  • Are you a beginner or a professional? If you’re a beginner, choosing a ball that is easy to throw is important. For this reason, most beginners use 8 -12 pound bowling ball.
  • Do you want your ball to hook or to go straight? The size of your ball will affect its ability to hook. If you want your ball to hook more, choose a heavier ball. If you want it to go straight, choose a lighter ball.
  • How much power do you want behind your throw? If you want your ball to barrel through the pins with a load of power, go for a heavier ball.
  • How much do you weigh? One of the most well-known unwritten rules on this subject is that the right ball for you should be about 10% of your body weight. So, those who weigh 90 pounds should use a 9-pound ball, and those who weigh 140 pounds should go for a 14-pound ball. The rule only applies up to 160 pounds since the largest bowling balls are 16 pounds. If you’re over 160 pounds, go for a 16-pound bowling ball. 
  • Do you have physical limitations? Don’t forget to consider whether you’ve got any injuries, are up in age, or have coordination issues. A heavy ball wouldn’t be a good idea in cases like these.

Other Bowling Ball Characteristics to Consider

When choosing a bowling ball, weight should not be the only consideration. The coverstock also plays a vital role in determining ball performance.

Plastic coverstocks are best for straight bowlers, while urethane and reactive resin coverstocks are better suited for those who prefer to bowl with curves or hooks.

In addition, the weight block plays a role in determining how the ball will behave. Symmetrical weight blocks are ideal for straight shots, while asymmetrical ones are better for curves and hooks.

With so many factors to consider, it’s no wonder that choosing the right bowling ball can be a daunting task.

However, by taking the time to understand the various characteristics of bowling balls, you can be sure to find the perfect fit for your style of play.

Test Out Your Ball in Person

Bowling balls are not one-size-fits-all – you’ll need to test out a few in person to find the right one. Finding the perfect bowling ball is much like finding the ideal partner. You want one that’s the appropriate size and weight and has the features that are important to you.

The ball should also feel good in your hand and perform in a way that plays into your strengths as a bowler. Of course, you can’t just walk into a store and expect to find the perfect one right away – you have to kiss a lot of frogs first. The same goes for bowling balls.

Try as many as you’d like, and don’t feel rushed into making a decision.  

Testing Jason Belmonte's New Bowling Ball

Ask for Help

If you’re still having trouble finding the right bowling ball, don’t hesitate to ask for help. The staff at your local bowling alley or pro shop will be more than happy to offer their expertise.

Most of them know their bowling balls like the back of their hand. They can answer any questions you have and help you find a ball that suits your needs.

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Though professional bowlers tend to use heavier balls, that doesn’t mean you need one. It’s essential to experiment and find the weight that works best for you. 

Remember that, as a beginner, getting your footing in the game should be your first priority. So, don’t let your search for a ball overshadow the fact that practice is the key to scoring more strikes.

We hope this article has been helpful to you, and we wish you the best in your ball search!