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How To Adjust Your Bowling Ball Speed


Learning how to adjust your bowling ball speed and retaining control is an important component involved in improving your overall skills. There are a couple of easy changes to your swing and footwork which will produce good results. First, let's keep in mind that dramatic changes from optimum ball speed are normally not necessary. The bowling ball manufacturers recommend a bowling ball should be delivered at an average velocity of about 20 mph measured at the foul line and about 17 mph measured at the pin deck with a tolerance of perhaps 1 or 2 mph.

Knowing how to adjust your bowling ball speed will help you with challenges presented by lane oil conditions which vary from the normal conditions you most frequently encounter. However, changing the speed of your ball more than the tolerance ranges the manufacturers recommend can lead to non-predictable ball reaction results and possibly to poor shot-making quality. Most bowlers will struggle to maintain good balance and swing control when trying to release the bowling ball with too much speed so caution should be taken to ensure you retain the ability to repeat quality deliveries.

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Trying to throw the ball too hard is a common mistake many bowlers make, particularly when rolling at cross lane, corner pin spares. If you are not well practiced at rolling the ball at a very fast release velocity, you might tend to lose accuracy toward the target on the lane. One important key to ball speed is once you find the best speed for a given session on the lanes is to maintain that speed throughout the session. If you are struggling to maintain a fast ball speed and are losing balance and control of the ball, then use the most speed you can comfortably control.

Trying to roll the ball too slowly can also produce poor results. Too slow of speed below the optimum speed range will allow the ball to react in a non-predictable manner and hook sooner than planned. A bowling ball delivered too slowly will lose velocity at impact with the pins and deflect considerably thereby reducing effective pin-carry. Also, bowlers who try to release the ball too slowly and below optimum speed ranges will typically decelerate their arm swings and follow through motions which may adversely effect the release and direction of the ball toward the target.

It is important to remain in an optimum speed range and make only minor speed changes so you retain the best chances at making good deliveries. If you wish to increase your ball speed, hold your ball higher than normal (about a ball height) in your set-up position so the increased swing arc will provide more speed as desired. If you normally hold the ball at waist level, then hold the ball at shoulder level. If you normally hold the ball at knee level, then move the ball up to at least waist level or higher.

Begin your swing toward your target in a gradual rolling and arc shaped motion until your arm is fully extended as to create greater momentum on the down-swing and back-swing motions. Permit the ball to swing freely, swiftly and smoothly to the top of the back swing and again on the forward swing to a full follow-through position and toward your target. You may encounter a slight and acceptable increase in your footwork to match the increase in your swing speed. Your feet should match the pace of your swing to maintain good timing.

To slow your ball speed, hold your ball lower than normal in the set-up position by a ball height at the minimum. If you normally hold the ball at waist height, then lower the ball in set-up to a position near your knees. If you normally hold the ball at shoulder level, then lower the ball to waist level. The reduced swing arc will produce less ball speed, as desired.

Begin your swing toward your target making sure your arm gets fully extended and permit the back-swing to move freely but more slowly than normal in accordance with the momentum the shorter swing arc provides. It is important to follow through toward your target and complete your swing. You may encounter an acceptable and slightly slower footwork pace to match the decrease in your swing speed.

Please, practice these techniques and you will improve control of your ball speed. We recommend you consult with a certified coach or local bowling professional to develop good techniques in adjusting your bowling ball speed.

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