Is there a certain advantage or disadvantage to having a higher ball speed? Everyone has a certain ball speed or MPH that they throw or are comfortable throwing. From beginner to Pros, from heavy oil to bone dry, we will break down and try to simplify the classes of speeds and their pros and cons.

10-12 MPH

Child or seniors speed. This is the starting point for most. Extremely slow ball speed can cause ball to act erratically, not stay on line and deflect at the pins, thus very few strikes are achieved.


This is the general starting range for most beginner bowlers. There can be issues with pin carry at these speeds and if you have a big rev rate (rev rate is revolutions on the ball or how many time your ball turns over) there can be issues with ball control. New bowler tend to under or over rotate at the wrist.

15-17 Mph

I would call this the standard range for most league bowlers. The ball has energy at the pins and will carry. The ball stays online and depending on rev rate will not usually overhook. Too much rev rate on a dry lane and ball type can overhook making it difficult to stay online. There is an advantage on heavier oil patterns with this speed as the ball has more time to react.

18+ Mph

I would call this the advanced amateur or Professional level . There is a distinct advantage on shorter patterns with this ball speed, by being able to create hold, keeping the ball online to the pocket. Most bowlers at this level have a rev rate to create the necessary hook to combat this much speed. With this advanced skill and speed pro’s can make their own line to the pocket with minimal thought to the oil patterns. This is not to say that the oil doesn’t matter but with speed and the correct ball it makes is easier.

Bowler #3 is the optimal goal for a great start on a house pattern, with the ability to adjust from a #3 into a #4 or a #2. The faster your ball speed the more revs you will need to have to combat different amounts of oil. Heavier amounts of oil to a speed dominate player without the rev rate can spell disaster. The opposite is true for a slower player with less oil, dryer conditions can cause a slower speed player to overhook the ball or have little to no hold down lane.

Being able to judge how much speed and when either to slow down or speed up can be a difficult concept to master. Heavier oil can mean to slow down but depending on the pattern, it can also call for a line that requires speed. Start at your normal speed and if you need to add speed don’t force the issue but raise your starting position to allow more natural back-swing instead of forcing it back or forward which could cause you to pull the ball. Today’s equipment allows for a much bigger variable in lane play, so know what to throw and when to throw it. Practice! Always remember don’t force your back swing as this can throw off your timing and footwork. Stay with the basics and adjust in small amounts to find that sweet spot on the lanes. It gets old but remember, practice practice practice. Always practice your new moves until your comfortable with it. Do not try out something new in league, you’ll just wind up pissing off your team mates