How to Choose the Right Bowling Ball
With an annual average temperature of 85 degrees Fahrenheit, Phoenix can be a great place to enjoy outdoor activities. Then again, sometimes it’s nice to just stay cool indoors. Hanging out inside doesn’t have to be boring, though—you can always spend a sweltering afternoon racking up high scores at one of the many Phoenix bowling alleys. Places such as Let It Roll Bowl have built a loyal following with special deals, high-tech features, and kid-friendly events like cosmic bowling.
Once you’ve decided which bowling alley in Phoenix you’re going to visit, the most important decision you’ll make will be which ball to use. To make it easier, we’ve outlined three important variables to consider when choosing a ball: the weight, thumb holes, and finger holes.
Just like Goldilocks’ dumbbells, the weight of the ball should be just right. It can’t be too heavy, because that can restrict the motion of the swing and leave you with sore arms. But it also can’t be too light, which might make you overexert yourself on each swing. House balls usually range anywhere from 6 to 16 pounds, so don’t be afraid to find an open space and test-swing a few before your game (without letting go, of course). Your destined ball should be light enough to swing freely but heavy enough to increase the momentum of your swing, much like a pendulum.
The thumb controls the release of the ball onto the lane as the arm comes forward on the downswing, just like a latch that allows a gate to open. If the hole is too loose, the ball may drop too soon or force you to squeeze harder and throw off your rhythm. If it’s too tight, the ball may not slide off in time, instead lofting itself into the air and into a neighbor's nachos. Stick your thumb into the center to check the size. If it’s a good fit, you should feel the ball surround all sides of your thumb, but you should still be able to rotate it without pinching your skin.
Usually, the size of the finger holes will correlate to the size of the thumb hole. So once you've discovered the latter, practice inserting your middle and ring fingers into the holes up to about halfway to the second knuckle (this is known as a conventional grip). You’ll want a snugger fit for the fingers than the thumb, since with a proper release they propel the rotation of the ball—that helps you knock down more pins.
No matter how many you test out, you’re most likely not going to find a house ball that fits perfectly. Don’t want to buy your own ball? Try using bowling tape to adjust the hole sizes in a house ball. But if you’re getting serious about the sport, you can pick up your own ball and have it custom-drilled to fit your fingers perfectly. Pro shops around Phoenix and the surrounding area are happy to provide that service, including Bowl 300 Pro Shop in Tempe.