Monday, 17 Jun 2024

Bowling Ball Speed

Bowling ball speed is a crucial factor in achieving success in the game. Understanding the dynamics behind ball speed can help improve your strategy and overall performance on the lanes. In this article, we will explore the factors that affect ball speed, how to calculate it, and its significance in the game of bowling.

Factors Affecting Ball Speed

The speed of a bowling ball is influenced by several factors. The most significant factor is the amount of friction between the ball and the lane as it moves towards the pins. Lanes with a high oil concentration will result in less friction, causing the ball to retain its speed. Conversely, lanes with minimal oil will lead to increased friction, slowing down the ball.

Other factors that impact ball speed include the type and mass of the ball. Different ball compositions and weights will create varying levels of friction between the ball and the lane, subsequently affecting the speed.

Calculating Ball Speed

There are two methods for calculating ball speed: timing the ball’s travel and video analysis.

  1. Timing the Ball’s Travel:

    • Measure the time it takes for the ball to travel the length of the lane, which is approximately 60 feet or 18.3 meters.
    • Using a stopwatch, record the time from the ball’s release until it strikes the pins.
    • Divide the distance by the time to calculate the average ball speed. For example, if the time was 3 seconds, the average speed would be 60/3 = 20 feet per second or 6.1 meters per second.
    • It’s important to note that the ball’s speed will be highest upon release and gradually decrease due to friction along the lane.
  2. Video Analysis:

    • Capture video footage of the ball’s motion from a side-on perspective.
    • Identify a calibration mark on the screen that can be used as a reference point.
    • Determine the frame rate of the video.
    • Utilize distance calculation techniques specific to video analysis to measure the ball speed accurately.
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Significance of Ball Speed

Bowling ball speed is categorized into three ranges:

  • Slow: Less than 17 mph
  • Average: 17 to 19 mph
  • Fast: Greater than 19 mph

Understanding your ball speed can help you make adjustments to your technique and overall game strategy. It can affect the angle of entry, pin carry, and overall consistency of your shots.


Q: How does friction affect ball speed?

Friction between the ball and the lane determines how much the ball slows down as it travels towards the pins. Lanes with more oil will result in less friction and, therefore, less speed loss.

Q: Can ball weight affect ball speed?

Yes, the weight of the ball can impact ball speed. Heavier balls tend to generate more momentum and may retain their speed better than lighter balls.

Q: Is there an optimal ball speed for all bowlers?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Each bowler has a different style and preference when it comes to ball speed. It is essential to find a speed that allows you to achieve your desired ball reaction and control on the lanes.


Ball speed is a critical element of the bowling game. Understanding the factors that affect ball speed, as well as how to calculate it accurately, can greatly enhance your performance. By analyzing your ball speed and making necessary adjustments, you can improve your overall technique, consistency, and success on the lanes.

For more information and resources related to bowling, visit Auralpressure, your go-to source for bowling expertise.

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