A Guide to Buying Your Bowling Ball

Are you a bowling newbie? Or are you just looking to buy your very own first bowling ball? If yes, then we have just the information you need before going ahead with your purchase. Below we have highlighted some of the most important guidelines needed before buying your first bowling ball.

Basic Bowling Ball Terminologies

Before buying your first bowling ball, you need to familiarize yourself with some basic bowling ball terminologies else you may get confused. There are two essential components of a bowling ball, one is coverstock and the other is core. Coverstock refers to the material that is used in the outer layer of the ball and the core is the weight that sits inside the bowling ball. Both these components are important for determining the different aspects of the ball, such as how much and how smoothly the ball will spin and whether the ball will move in a hook pattern or not as it would travel down the lane. For those who are not aware of the ‘hook pattern’ in a bowling ball, it is the pattern of the ball when it curves to the side once you throw it.

Another term which you may learn when buying bowling is the “Radius of Gyration”. The radius of gyration (RG) is a numerical value that tells you about how fast and slow the ball may start to spin when travelling down the bowling lane. Basically, the RG is in the range of 2.43 to 2.80. If a ball has low RG, then it means it will spin faster as it rolls. If the ball has higher RG, then it will spin slower.

Now, that’s it for the terminologies, time to move to the main part of the article which is how to choose the bowling ball and which things you need to consider before buying it.

The Ball Type

When you’re buying your first ball, you should probably consider buying a plastic/polyester ball. A plastic ball will be the least expensive option and will help you throw straight down the lane if you’re just getting started with bowling. In most bowling alleys, plastic balls are used; as it is appropriate for the beginners and has no hook potential.

If you’re trying to learn how to hook, then you can move to other ball types like Urethane balls, Reactive Resin balls, Particle balls, etc. Let’s discuss these ball types in detail.

Urethane Ball

Urethane balls have much softer coverstock that creates more friction on the lane and gives you more chances of hooking. They will roll better as compared to plastic balls and will have a greater impact when the ball hits the pin. This means the ball will deflect less and you may knock down more pins.

Reactive Resin Balls

The reactive resin balls are relatively better than the urethane balls as they produce more friction on the lane due to the resin particles that are added to its coverstock or outer shell. This increase in friction gives the greater potential of hooking action on both dry and oily lane conditions. In oily conditions, these balls will skid more and may generate much better speed.

Particle Balls

The particle balls are much like reactive resin balls but just have tiny pieces of glass or ceramics added to the outer shell or coverstock. This addition of glass or ceramic increases the friction of the ball and gives it a lot of grip on the oily lane surface. It also increases the potential of hook action and increases the power as well. The particle balls are used mostly by professionals.

The Core Type

Another aspect that is important in finding the perfect ball type is the core type. Just like coverstock, the core that sits inside the ball has different types and has a major impact in bowling. If you’re a beginner then, pancake core would work fine for you. However, if you’re looking for a ball that gives you more options in your style of play then you should go for the balls with symmetrical and asymmetrical core types. The symmetrical design may give you more options and requires less extensive skill. On the other hand, the asymmetrical design gives more flair to your bowling style but requires more extensive bowling skills.

The Weight

Once you have figured out the perfect ball type for you, it’s time for you to choose the right kind of ball weight you are looking for. There isn’t any perfect weight that you can choose as it is going to be different for everyone due to the difference in the strength level. Generally, an average male adult can lift 15 or 16 lbs. bowling ball, and females prefer 10-12 lbs. bowling ball.

The best way to choose the weight that may work best for you is by going to the bowling alley and trying balls of different weight categories. Check a few balls and see which weight is working best for you. Once you’ve figured out the weight you’re comfortable with, just write it down and add one or two pounds to it when you’re buying the ball.

The Grip

After finding the perfect ball type and weight, you need to finalize the grip of your ball. There are two types of grips, one is conventional grip and the other is fingertip grip.

In the conventional grip, your thumb, ring, and middle finger are placed all the way into the ball down to the second knuckle. On the other hand, in fingertip grip, the thumb is inserted all the way into the ball while your middle and ring finger only supports the ball by going in down to just the first knuckle. With a fingertip grip, you may have to use “inserts” that are like plugs and are used for applying extra rotation to the ball. If you’re just starting out, it is recommended to use a conventional grip. However, if you’re learning to hook, then fingertips would work best for you.

Where to Buy

Now that you know all the details about the bowling ball, it’s time for you to buy it. There are some online stores from where you can order your first bowling ball and other bowling accessories. One such store is Bowlers Paradise. Go ahead and buy your first bowling ball with the help of the techniques we have mentioned above.

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