A Beginner's Guide to Your First Bowling Ball

Choosing the right bowling ball no longer needs to be a daunting task. Our simple tips can guide you in selecting one that fits your preferences, giving you an edge when it comes time for that perfect strike. With these shopping tips, mastering those strikes will come as easily as rolling them down the lane.

Find the ideal ball weight

Selecting from the best bowling balls of 2023 is more than just a simple equation of body-to-ball ratio. Although many professionals prefer 16-pounders, it’s also quite common for them to bowl with 15 pounds. If you’re new or don’t have access to your own heavier weighted balls, use two extra pounds when selecting from house options. This should give you approximately the same feel and performance as if that specific fit was made specifically for you. Ultimately, comfort trumps all else. Choose whatever feels best in your hand.

Identify your preferred cover stock

When choosing a bowling ball, selecting the correct cover stock is essential to optimizing your performance. Urethane and reactive resin are the primary covering materials, which offer advantages depending on your playing style. Considering how each material will affect accuracy and velocity can help you make an informed decision in finding a perfect fit for your game.

Determine your thumb fit

Selecting a bowling ball with precision is key to upping your performance on the lanes. Not only should you think about size and weight, but you should also consider how well your thumb fits in its hole. Too much slack can be inconvenient during release, while too tight could cause discomfort or even ruin the timing of letting go. Opt for one that offers just enough tension so that there’s an effortless yet secure fit when releasing without any interruption mid-throw.

Select between a right-handed or left-handed bowling ball

When choosing a bowling ball, choosing one that suits your dominant hand is often the most natural option. However, opting for a ball corresponding with your non-dominant hand could give you added benefits in terms of training and helping you become an all-around more competent player. Ultimately, the decision between right or left-handed lies solely on personal preference and playing style. If unsure, try out both sides and see what works best.

Choose between hook vs. speed

In bowling, your choice between speed and hook boils down to one factor—friction. If you’re looking for high speeds, shiny balls are a great way to reduce friction on the lane and let loose with maximum velocity. However, if control is more important than pure speed, then duller ball surfaces create higher resistance levels, making it much easier to get some action around those pesky pins.


Developing skill and confidence as a bowler requires practice. It’s important to select the right ball for your game, understand the fundamentals of bowling technique, then get out on the lanes to hone those skills through dedicated effort. Improvement comes with persistence. While it may take time to see noticeable progress in your scores, staying focused on form and committing yourself to regular practice sessions will make you an adept bowler.

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