The average speed of a bowling ball depends upon the three factors that are:

1. Oil conditions of the lane

Extra slick lanes require slow bowling and dry lanes require fast bowling. If the lane is slippery, it means heavy oil has been applied to the lane. For such a type of lane, you need to slow down the bowling speed. Oiled lanes can be challenging for fast bowlers. In contrast, if the lane is dry, it means that a small quantity of oil has been applied to it. Therefore, such type of lane requires fast bowling. 

2. Bowling ball coverstock surface texture

Bowling speed also depends on the coverstock material from which bowling balls are made up of. A solid coverstock has a different bowling reaction than a resigned coverstock. Therefore, you need to adjust your bowling speed according to the needs of different materials.

3. Hooks

To adjust bowling speed, the amount of hook produced by the ball needs to be controlled. Sometimes learning a bowling hook can be challenging for the bowlers. But once they know how to adjust the bowling hook, adjusting the speed becomes much more manageable. 

Besides these factors, ball speed also depends on the height and the length of your steps. In addition, the speed of the ball depends upon the bowler’s body movement. The faster the body movement, the greater will be the ball reaction. 

Calculating Bowling Ball’s Speed

The ball speed is measured at different points. The speed values are averaged to obtain the mean value. The formula used for getting the bowling ball’s speed is:

Bowling Ball Speed = ( √ ( X 2 + Y 2 ) ) 1/2 x 58.313

The first step is to measure the ball’s location after it leaves the hand. If you have a camera or other recording device, its images can be used for this purpose. After the ball is moving, it takes a moment for the ball to reach the 10 pins. The distance between the bowling pin and the ball is measured to obtain its traveling distance at that instant point. 

In most bowling centers, speed readout devices on automatic score devices have been used to measure the bowling ball speed. But sometimes, the scorers do not give an accurate answer. In such situations, a stopwatch system and ball speed chart can be helpful.

Using a Stopwatch

A stopwatch has also been used to determine the ball speed. It measures the time from the ball’s release to the bowling pin impact. Because of the two measurement points, it gives the more accurate rate of the ball. 

You need a person who can hold a stopwatch in their hand. The stopwatch should be started with your ball release. The moment when the pin is impacted, the stopwatch should be stopped. Shoot at least five throws. The person needs to measure the ball’s speed at each throw. After the five throws, take an average of your bowling speed and match it from the speed chart. This method gives more accurate results with a bit of practice. 

Speed Chart

If the ball takes a shorter time traveling down the lane, it means it is going faster. Below is the ball speed chart by USBC and ball manufacturers showing the bowling ball’s average speed. 

3.0 sec: 13.9 mph

2.9 sec: 14.4 mph

2.8 sec: 14.9 mph

2.7 sec: 15.4 mph

2.6 sec: 16.0 mph

2.5 sec: 16.7 mph

2.4 sec: 17.4 mph

2.3 sec: 18.1 mph

2.2 sec: 19.0 mph

2.1 sec: 19.9 mph

2.0 sec: 20.8 mph

If the ball speed is slower or faster than the middle range, the ball speed needs to be adjusted.

Essential Tips for a Perfect Shot

1. When bowling a perfect shot, you need to adjust your ball’s speed according to the conditions of the lane.

2. When starting your bowling game, use a slow ball at the front part of the lane.

3. Before releasing your ball, use an empty hand with relaxed fingers to measure the surface tension of the lane.

4. To achieve more bowling pressure on the ball, hold loose fingers behind your hand while holding the bowl. 

5. Aiming for different distances requires different speeds. You can adjust your speed according to the target. 

6. Always hit a 7-pin to give yourself more bowling opportunities in the future.

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Measuring and optimizing the bowling ball’s speed is important for achieving the best results. By adjusting the ball speed, you can work on striking the pins and the ball’s maneuvering on the lanes. In addition, you can achieve more speed control in your bowling game. When you feel the ball is spinning fast and in control, it means you have achieved a perfect shot. Lastly, you can calculate the speed of the bowling ball through various methods, including a stopwatch.