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The Best Bowling Ball Speed

If you are unsure what is the best bowling ball speed to use, then you understanding what the experts suggest can lead you to the decision of either increasing or decreasing your normal ball speed.

Before getting into what the manufacturers recommend and the USBC Ball Motion Studies reveal, it is important for each of us to understand that the more consistent you are in delivering your ball and regulating your speed, the better ball reaction you will enjoy.

Of course, if you are a very slow speed bowler, you likely will need to either work on picking up some speed through various techniques an instructor would suggest or use bowling balls which are built with low friction capabilities and simply do not hook much.

If you are a speed ball bowler just throwing the ball with abandon, then perhaps learning to slow the speed down a bit where you improve your ability to make consistent and accuract shots will benefit you most.

It is also difficult to rely solely on automatic scores to give you precise ball speed readouts. If using the automatic scores as your primary method of providing you your present ball speed information, then it is advisable to also consult a bowling instructor to make sure your delivery speed will serves you well.

OK, now let’s examine what the guidelines provided by the manufacturers the United States Bowling Congress' (USBC) recent Ball Motion Study regarding optimum ball speed reveal.

It boils down to a bowling ball speed traveling about 16-17 miles per hour (mph) measured at impact with the pins and about 20-21 mph when the ball is released onto the lane, plus or minus one mph tolerance will produce an average speed of about 17 mph.

These measurements reflect how much lane oil is used and which oil pattern is applied to the lane surface, the type of bowling ball used, and the given bowler’s delivery style.

Typically, a bowling ball takes about 2.5 seconds elapsed time, plus or minus o.15 seconds, to contact the pins at an instantaneous velocity of 16.5 mph.

If a lane has a heavy application of oil on the front end, then you will show a faster speed than if the lane is dry with little oil.


There are slight adjustments you can make to your ball speed if you think your speed is a bit slow or too fast. Avoid making wholesale changes to your game just to alter your speed because you certainly do not want to sacrifice accuracy or control just to pick up a little speed, as example.

There are bowling balls and release techniques slow ball speed bowlers can use to compensate for slow speeds. It is best to trust the services of an experienced coach if you think you need to address you present ball speed.

The name of the game is being consistent and accurate. Regulating your delivery speed and using a speed recommended by manufacturers is the best all-around method of attaining a good ball reaction.