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What Can I do If My Bowling Ball Speed Is Not What Experts Recommend?, Originally Posted: 6/2/2015; Updated: 5/25/2022

If you ask what can I do if my bowling ball speed is not what experts recommend, then there are a couple of tips which can help you get close.

As in most things in sports and certainly in bowling, the simplest methods are usually the best ones to follow.

If you are unsure what is the best bowling ball speed to use, then learn first what your ball speed is now.

Next, compare your speed to the speed ranges the manufacturers and the USBC recommend.

If you ball speed is slightly slower than the recommended speed range experts suggest, then work with a coach to bring your speed up as close to the range you are seeking without losing balance and your ability to control your shots.

If your speed is greater than the speed ranges recommended by these experts, then simply reduce your speed slightly to get closer to the ranges recommended but be careful to avoid decelerating your forward swing and shutting off your follow through motion.

It is nice to get wrapped up in the science of ball speed effective ranges, in average speeds, instantaneous speeds measured at various points down the lane but in the end, you can only do what you can do.

Keep it as easy in your mind as possible. With modern bowling balls, you can make up for slow to fast speeds by choosing a ball and a coverstock to help you get a reliable ball reaction so long as your ball speed is not extremely slow or extremely fast.

Rely on your coach or pro shop professional to help you choose which balls best suit your game.

One problem many, many bowlers experience is using unreliable and non-calibrated speed readouts provided by automatic scores. The measured speed by these scorers is generally not an average speed but rather one taken at one point of measurement somewhere on the lane.

This measurement does not accurately take into account how fast your ball traveled when you first released it and how fast it traveled upon impact with the pins, and, finally, what the average speed was for the travel down the entire distance of the lane.

Here is what the USBC says:

It boils down to a bowling ball speed 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 produces an average speed of about 18 mph.

These measurements vary slightly depending on 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 (how much the bowler hooks the ball).

As you can tell, it is tough to get a precise speed measurement for comparison purposes and all of this can be confusing so rather than get tangled up in too much science, use a close speed to what experts recommend and then focus on getting consistent delivering your bowling ball at the same speed over and over again.

If you do, you will at least get a reliable ball reaction giving you a fair chance at aligning to the pocket and picking up routine spares.

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