Why Are Some Bowling Balls Heavy?

Bowling is a sport meant for either competitive gameplay or bonding entertainment. You can pursue a career in the professional leagues or you can just enjoy playing with your loved ones on a weekend. One of the reasons why bowling is versatile, even though you need a bowling alley to play, is because there are bowling balls of different weights.

But why are some bowling balls heavier than others? The answer has something to do with preference and gaming style compatibility. A user may have varied experiences in bowling, and although all balls can be carried by adults, there are certain strokes and forms that are affected by the weight of the bowling ball due to the difficulty in balancing.

Does Weight Matter For Bowling Balls?

If you are an experienced bowler, you may not want to care for the bowling ball’s weight. Your aim might be to become highly adaptable. But if you are a newbie or an amateur, the weight will greatly affect your game.

When you handle a bowling ball, its weight will be your basis for how much force you can exert. The heavier it is, the greater momentum it can generate. Experienced bowlers provide a great spin on the ball before rolling on its path in the lane, and if you can’t handle the weight, the balance of the form can’t be achieved and the spin will be compromised.

What is the Use of a Heavy Bowling Ball?

If you have observed inside the bowling alley, there are various bowling ball weights. The heaviest weighs around 16 pounds. If you are a beginner, you may feel uncomfortable at first, but heavy balls can have great significance to your game and strategy.

Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of using a heavy bowling ball:


  • Better striking

A heavy ball can increase your chances of obtaining a strike. This is due to “inertia” wherein a heavy object in motion needs a greater force to stop it. If the bowling pins are not strong enough to resist the motion of the heavy bowling ball, then they are bound to get toppled.

  • Less deflection

A heavy ball gains higher momentum. If you bowl it on the path you intended, then it will hardly diverge. It will stay in its course, allowing for better accuracy. 

  • Free swing

Free swing refers to moving a ball with less influence of muscular force. Since a heavy ball will deflect less once it gains momentum, alongside greater inertia, an inexperienced bowler can choose it to get better results. You may not achieve a perfect form, but because the ball is heavy, it will be beneficial to have it rolled down rather than throwing it.

  • Larger hooking

You can attain larger hooking using a heavy ball compared to a light one. Since it is heavy, its speed is more decreased, thus giving you more time to complete a hooked path. Hooks are generally compensation for the slippery part of the lane in order to get a better striking angle.


  • Hard to control

Bowling can either be a long or short game depending on the participants. You may feel great at the first few turns, but you will eventually get tired from carrying the ball to your position and exert the necessary force. The more tired you are, the less you can focus; eventually, your control will suffer.

  • Wrist strains

A heavy ball can put a strain on your wrist in the long run. This means that you can be prone to injuries. There might be straps available that can help you secure your wrist position, but repetitive usage without improvement in delivery won’t be favorable to you.

How to Determine If It Is Too Heavy For You

Obviously, a 16-pounder is heavy for most casual users since it is the heaviest bowling ball available on a standard bowling alley. However, there are people who find a 10-pounder already heavy.

How can you determine if the ball is too heavy for you or not? The easiest method is to put the bowling ball on the palm of your hand while in an initial bowling position. If your hand starts to shake and cause imbalance, then that ball is too heavy for you.  

What’s The Use of a Light Bowling Ball?

Most casual users prefer light bowling balls because they are more comfortable to handle. The lightest weight available is 6 pounds. During tournaments, the minimum is a 9-pounder. Using a light bowling ball does not generally mean you will yield great results all the time. Here are its pros and cons:


  • Easy to roll

A light bowling ball requires less force than a heavy ball. You can generally able to roll greatly even if your bowling position seems awkward or imperfect.

  • Comfort

If heavy balls are difficult to control, then the light balls are the opposite. Anyone can handle a light ball because it doesn’t strain the wrist. Aside from that, you can throw the ball towards the lane however you want.

  • Beginner-friendly

If a light bowling ball is easy to roll and comfortable, then it is great for beginners. Those that haven’t figured out the proper bowling position can continue learning bowling and all its techniques. It serves as a perfect start and the more you get better technically, the more advantageous it will be to proceed to the next ball weight until you can become adept on the heavy ball.

  • Control

Since a light ball will not put a strain on your wrists, you can perform properly and achieve the motion you’ve envisioned.

  • Adjustments

Light balls are easier to make adjustments to. What it means is that if you think your stroke is off, you can opt for a lighter bowl in the next turn to achieve the motion you desired.


  • Ball deflection

Since a light ball is easier to release, it can gain maximum speed very quickly. Due to that, any misalignment can spell big diversions fast. If your aim is off, a light ball’s spin is not enough to maintain the right course since its inertia is lesser. Overall, your hitting accuracy will diminish if not corrected.

  • Less impact

Let’s say you bowl with a perfect form. Everything seems right, but as soon as it hits the pins in a position that you can get a strike, there can be a few pins left standing.

Why? It is simply because the weight of the ball didn’t generate enough momentum to drive through the pins.

How to Determine If It Is Light For You

It’s important to know when a bowling ball is too light or not. Although comfort can be a factor in your performance, it doesn’t mean that you can get the desired result always, which is to get a strike or spare. You may want to try increasing your preferred weight as you grow in skill.

One way to determine if it is too light is when you tend to exert more force on the ball than necessary.

Which Is Better To Use?

Which bowling ball is better? That depends on who is using it. For beginners, kids, and senior adults, light bowling balls are the ideal choice. Also, those who are nursing an injury and bound for recovery will have to start using light bowling balls first.

For those who are seasoned and competitive, it is better to use heavy bowling balls. The skills are much more displayed when using them and you can achieve greater scores due to the physical advantages of moving a heavier object. Additionally, if you are playing with beginners or casuals, you might want to leave the lighter balls for them to use.


Like any other sport, balance is important. The weight of a bowling ball can greatly affect yours if you can’t handle it properly. If you want to be competitive in bowling, start training with light bowling balls and move to using the heavy one as you become more skilful.