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Bowling Ball Speed General Comments

There are always new players beginning in our game and bowlers who have participated for some time but may not know a good deal about bowling ball speed.

Here are a few bowling ball speed general comments which might help you understand useful information about ball speed:

a) Average ball speed - the bowling ball average speed accounts for the initial speed a bowling ball is delivered and its speed measured at impact with the pins producing an average of the two speeds.

b) Initial ball speed - this speed is measured at the moment a ball eaves the bowler’s hand. Initial speed is sometimes referred to as launch speed.

c) Loss of speed - A bowling ball delivered at 21 mph initial speed and impacting the pocket at 17 mph slows about 4 mph over the distance of the lane. The average speed is about 18 mph and the speed the ball first leaves a bowler’s hand will be measured as less when the ball impacts the pins.

d) Measured average ball speed - there are charts developed with data indicating that if a ball is delivered at a given launch speed, the average speed and speed at impact with the pocket will be calculated near enough to give you useful information.

e) Instantaneous speed - the measured speed at any given point a ball arrives at along its journey down a given lane.


f) Other factors affecting speed measurements - there are several outside factors which influence the average ball speed a given bowler delivers a ball. The amount of oil lubricity on the lane surface, the coverstock texture of a given bowling ball, 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.

g) an average ball speed of 17 mph takes approximately 2.4 or 2.5 seconds to impact the pins measured from the time of delivery, + or - .15 seconds elapsed time.

h) Recommended average ball speed - the USBC Ball Motion Studies and manufacturers conclude that the average speed between 15 and 17.5 mph is the best speed to gain the greatest degree of consistency from modern bowling ball products.

An average ball speed of 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 using physical techniques your coach can help you develop.

Avoid making wholesale changes to your game just to alter your speed because you certainly do not want to sacrifice accuracy or control just to pick up a little speed, as bowlers sometimes do.