Choosing a Bowling Ball for Youth, Beginner and Advanced Bowlers
Bowling has developed into a competitive sport and popular recreational activity, but its roots trace back to ancient Egypt. In the 1930s, British anthropologist, Sir Flinders Petrie, discovered objects that looked like crude bowling tools in the Egyptian tomb of a child. By the 1800s, ten-pin bowling was raging from the East Coast to Illinois, although ball weight, pin weight, lane length and many other requirements varied by state.
Today, the American Bowling Congress has regulated that no bowling ball can be heavier than 16 pounds or it will be considered illegal. The diameter of the bowling ball can range from 8.500 to 8.595 inches. With both standards set for the four types of bowling balls it is important to choose the appropriate weight and type of ball for your style of play.
For young bowlers between the ages of six and 14, bowling professionals recommend a bowling ball weight that matches the age of the child. For example, if the child is 11, an 11 pound bowling ball is a good place to start.
If you are purchasing a bowling ball for your son or daughter, nephew or niece, or grandchildren, consider a plastic ball. Plastic bowling balls are the cheapest of the four types of bowling balls. Prices typically range from $60 to $100. If your child is just learning the sport, plastic balls are great to start with because they do not react to the oil on the lanes. Surprise hook shots should not be a worry with a plastic ball unless the ball is not heavy enough for the bowler. When your child outgrows the finger holes, depending on the length of time he has been bowling, consider upgrading to a polyurethane or reactive resin bowling ball.
Like youth bowlers, beginners in the bowling world should start off with a plastic ball. A polyurethane bowling ball should also be considered for beginner bowlers. Urethane balls have a soft, polyurethane cover that causes high amounts of friction with the lane and allows the ball to hook. Be cautious when choosing a bowling ball weight. A ball that is too heavy will be inaccurate and may cause back strain, whereas a ball that is too light will also be inaccurate and carry no power as it slides down the lane.
A bowler who has graduated past plastic balls would be wise to purchase a urethane or reactive resin ball. Reactive resin bowling balls, like urethane balls, have soft polyurethane covers but also contain small bits of resin within the polyurethane. The resin particles react with the oil on the lanes to allow the ball to slide down the lane then hook with a snap into the pins.
Only experienced bowlers are recommended to use the fourth type of bowling ball: particle bowling balls. A particle bowling ball contains pieces of glass or ceramic, which provide a better grip on the lanes and a much more consistent hook. Best used on oily lanes, experienced bowlers may want to purchase a polyurethane or reactive resin bowling ball for spare shots.