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Develop A Bowling Ball Speed Control Range

Most bowlers today, averaging 160 or less, are not completely sure about their bowling ball speed. Nor do they have any idea if their natural speed is in an effective speed range when using modern bowling ball equipment.

One method of establishing the top end of your speed range is to get on the practice lane, warm up a few deliveries, and make a few shots as hard as you are able to without moving your head during your approach and without losing balance delivering your bowling ball.

Repeat this accelerated speed of ball deliveries until you are certain you can maintain this increased speed for several games of bowling.

Next, deliver a few shots at the natural speed you have been bowling in recent weeks. If you feel your top speed is well above your natural speed, make your natural speed your new slow speed on a lower end of your new speed range.

All you need to do next is find a middle speed between your new top speed and your natural speed, then you will have three effective speeds to use in competition.

Once you decide on the speed you need in a given session of competition, try and use that speed as long as possible or until you need to adjust to changing lane conditions.

Try to stay in your new speed range without exceeding your upper end speed or falling below your lower end speed. Keep your approach balance and maintain accuracy while practicing using your new speed range deliveries.

If your natural speed is already pretty fast, find one gear above and one gear below your natural speed so your natural speed is your middle speed in your new speed range.

The trick is to not use speeds, too slow or super fast, where you do not have good control of the bowling ball.

The USBC field studies show that an effective ball speed is 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 and about 18 mph overall average speed.

To give you an idea in an elapsed time measurement: a bowling ball takes about 2.5 seconds elapsed time, plus or minus 0.15 seconds, to contact the pins at an instantaneous velocity of 16.7 mph with an average velocity at a desired range of 18 mph.

If you are able to develop your own ball speed range within a mile or two per hour speed of this ideal speed range shown by the USBC, you can best take advantage of modern bowling ball technology and know that you have a great chance at getting strikes on good pocket hits.


If you are a naturally slow ball bowler, find another gear or two of faster speed and use your natural speed as your low end speed in your new speed range.

If you are a fast ball bowler, use your natural speed as the high end of your range and establish a gear or two lower ball speed so you can be effective on most lane conditions.

You can be the judge of your own speed range based on your physical abilities and based on your techniques.

Having a smart range of bowling ball speed where you can maintain accuracy and ball control without looking for more than a three or four mile per hour variance from the top level to bottom level in your range will do nicely.

Once you establish a proven speed range, you can use additional, non-speed oriented adjustments to further compensate for changing lane conditions.

The real key here is to be able to regulate your chosen ball speed each delivery so you can rely on a consistent ball reaction. With a little bit of experimentation and effort to identify your personal ball speed range, you will find yourself on your way to improving accuracy and higher than average bowling scores.