How to Choose the Right Size Bowling Ball

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Choosing the right bowling ball size is an important decision when you're at the alley. You should take several factors into consideration when choosing a bowling ball size, including weight, grip size and the size of the finger holes compared with your fingers. Choosing a ball that is not right for you can lead to back, shoulder, wrist and hand injuries. A wrong ball could also have a negative impact on your technique, which affects your score.

Consider your physical makeup, including gender, age and any prevailing physical injuries, such as back problems. Some men choose a ball that is too heavy, while some women choose a ball that is too light. Using a heavier ball than needed could exacerbate any current injuries or create new ones. Lighter balls require more force to knock down more pins. Adults, both male and female, should start with a 12-lb. ball and make adjustments to ball weight as needed, according to Help With Bowling. Children and anyone with a physical injury should start with a ball weighing 10 lb. or less.

Place your thumb into the thumb hole and stretch your middle and ring fingers over the other two holes. The bowling ball is a good fit for you if the knuckles of your middle and ring fingers rest above the holes, according to Preferred Consumer. A wider or narrower grip results in less control of the ball and could potentially result in injury. You can also check the width of the finger grip by placing your palm between the thumb and finger holes. The palm of your hand should fit between the holes.

Check the size of the finger holes by placing the thumb, middle and ring fingers into the proper holes and pulling them out slowly. Though you shouldn't have a lot of excess room, it also shouldn't be too tight. If any of your fingers fit tightly in the holes, find a different bowling ball.


Try to find two bowling balls and take a turn with each ball. It's often easier to find the right fit when you have more than one option.


Avoid choosing a bowling ball that's too light, as it can pose just as much danger as choosing a ball that's too heavy. A ball that's too light might slip out of your grip on the backswing, possibly injuring spectators, Preferred Consumer notes.