The Effect of Ball Speed in Bowling

Bowling is at once a sport of grace and abrupt series of crashes. The two actually go hand-in-hand, however. As we will discuss, the more graceful your bowling form, the more speed—and more important, consistent speed—you’re going to be able to generate. We will focus, however, on the effect of speed on your bowling.

The Slow Ball Myth

Some may believe that the slower a ball goes, the more effective it is. This may be because they have seen a ball bowled by a very young person strike the pins and then seemingly lumber its way around until they were all knocked down. The truth is the pins are really knocked down by each other. Hence, a ball that travels faster is going to be more effective.

Momentum Is Your Friend

The reason why has to do with momentum. The momentum of the ball is transferred to the pins, and without it, they would not move at all. It goes to follow that the faster the ball is thrown, the faster and farther the pins will move after they are hit. And as those pins hit others, their momentum is, in turn, faster as well.

How to Get More Speed

Bowling is in some ways like golf. Although the speed of the head of the club can be obtained by muscling your way through the shot, this is both ineffective and produces inconsistent results. The best technique is to properly manage the swing of the club. It’s the same with bowling. Your arm swings back and then forward again, releasing the ball around ankle height each time. A relaxed swing will produce consistent results and more speed. You can change the height of the ball as you begin your swing, and because that gives the “pendulum” of the ball and your arm more momentum, the ball will get delivered quicker. This is more effective than trying to muscle the ball down the lane.

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