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An Understanding Of Average Bowling Ball Speed



By: bowlingball.com, 7/1/16

If you are new to the game or a bowler who has participated for some time but may not know a good deal about bowling ball speed, here is some general information which may prove interesting?

Average ball speed is a common term you will hear in bowling circles. A bowling ball average speed accounts for the initial speed the ball is delivered and its speed measured at impact with the pins producing an average of the two speeds.

The initial ball speed is measured at the moment a ball leaves the bowler’s hand. Initial speed is sometimes referred to as launch speed.

All bowling balls traveling down the lane will encounter a loss of speed. If a bowling ball is delivered at 21 mph, as example, and if the speed the ball and impacts the pocket is 17 mph, the ball will have slowed about 4 mph over the distance of the lane.

The average speed is about 18 mph in this example; the speed the ball first leaves a bowler’s hand will be measured as less when the ball impacts the pins.

You may sometimes hear the term velocity when referring to ball speed. Velocity implies the ball speed delivered at a given direction by the bowler.

If you hear the term instantaneous speed, it refers to the measured speed at any given point a ball arrives at along its journey down a given lane.






The average ball speed is generally the most referred to ball speed.

Other factors affecting average speed measurements the amount of oil lubricity on the lane surface, the coverstock texture of a given bowling ball (how much surface friction the ball generates as it travels), the rev-rate a ball is delivered by a given bowler, and the number of boards of hook a given ball uses on a given lane condition.

Another example related to an average ball speed is if a ball travels at 17 mph, it will take approximately 2.4 or 2.5 seconds to impact the pins measured from the time of delivery, + or - .15 seconds elapsed time.

The USBC Ball Motion Studies coupled with studies and recommendations by the manufacturers conclude that an average speed between 15 and 17.5 mph is the best speed to gain the greatest degree of consistency in ball reaction and for carry power upon impact with the pins.

An average ball speed of 15 or 16 mph will help most any bowler get very good pin carry and result in generating a dependable ball reaction.

There are slight adjustments you can make to your ball speed if you think your speed is a bit slow or too fast.

You can use physical techniques recommended by your coach which can help you add or reduce your the overall average ball speed to more closely match an ideal speed compared to your present average speed. You can also switch bowling ball coverstocks to help improve your ball reaction consistency.

Avoid making wholesale changes to your game, however, just to gain or reduce ball speed dramatically.

You certainly will not want to sacrifice accuracy control just to pick up a little speed, as bowlers sometimes do.