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Ball Speed Versus Rev Rate

If you are wondering what your bowling ball rev-rate is based on your ball speed, there are a couple of bits of information you should familiarize yourself first.

Ball speed is an arbitrary factor when determining how fast you really deliver the bowling ball.

The United States Bowling Congress official studies are similar to the data bowling ball manufacturers provide.

Manufacturers recommend the optimum ball speed be about an average of 17-18 mph as the ball travels down the lane.

Average speed is a number which factors the initial launch speed when your ball first exits your hand and the final speed the ball is traveling as it impacts the pins.

In an example of the delivery speed being 20 mph on a typical house lane condition, the speed at impact with the pins is about 16 mph with an average speed being somewhere between the two measurements at about 18 mph.

The question now becomes how does this ball speed match with rev-rate?

Here is a conversion instrument to help you gain some insight into your approximate rev rate without using any complicated test with cameras or with computers:

1. Bowlers delivering the ball 15-16 mph will have a rev rate of 200-250 rpm’s
(mph is miles per hour; rpm is revolutions per minute).

2. Bowlers delivering the ball at 16-17 mph will have a rev rate of 250-300 rpm’s.

3. Bowlers delivering the ball at 17-18 mph will have a rev rate of 300-350 rpm’s.

4. Bowlers delivering the ball at 18-19 mph will have a rev rate of 350-400 rpm’s.

5. Bowlers delivering the ball at 19+ mph will have a rev rate of 400+ rpm’s.

Ball speed in these approximations is measured at the moment of delivery.

The amount of axis tilt will add or subtract from the overall value of the ball speed.

Axis tilt is defined as a measure of the angle of the initial spin axis to a horizontal plane. A low axis tilt will not rev as quickly as a high axis tilt will rev as a given ball travels down the lane.


The industry generally characterizes bowlers into 5 types of groups:

1. Revs dominate ball speed
2. Revs slightly dominate ball speed
3. Revs and ball speed match up
4. Ball speed slightly dominates revs
5. Ball speed dominates revs

A coaches goal would be to change Player #1 with a low ball speed into Player #2 level and Player #5 with a very high ball speed into Player #4.

The key for you is to gain access to how fast you deliver your bowling ball. Most competitive bowlers fall into the 300-350 rpm range or just slightly higher or lower. If you feel your ball speed is too slow, implementing a technique to pick up your ball speed without losing balance or accuracy can help you gain revs.

If you are a “fire ball artist” who delivers the ball at 20+ mph at delivery, slowing your speed will help better match your revs to your ball speed.

The end goal is to attain consistent ball motion so you can make good alignment and adjustment decisions.