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Types of Bowling Balls

Shashank Nakate Mar 7, 2020
The sport of bowling is played with different types of balls. One of the criterion used to classify the bowling balls into different types is the material used in manufacturing. Size is another factor on the basis of which bowling balls are classified.
The sport of bowling is played on wooden and synthetic surfaces. In this sport, the player has to score points by throwing a ball at pins arranged at the end of bowling lane. The surface of lanes are coated by oil to reduce their wear and tear. Some part of these lanes are not coated.
Use of different types of balls on these surfaces produces different results in terms of experience of drag. Best use of the lane surfaces can be made by the use of balls suited to the respective surfaces. Get more information about the different types of balls used in bowling through this article.

Different Types of Bowling Balls

The bowling balls are classified on the basis of material used and also their size. Depending on the materials used for manufacturing, the different types of bowling balls are as follows: plastic, urethane, particle and reactive resin. Here are short descriptions of these bowling balls.

Plastic Ball

It is the most commonly used ball for bowling. Plastic balls are durable however, not meant for hooking, even if you spin them hard. Hooking is one of the bowling terms used to describe the movement of ball to its left or right after being spun. The plastic balls are best suited for dry lanes.
The coverstock of these balls renders it useless on a long term. You cannot use plastic balls as alternatives to urethane or reactive resin balls.

Urethane Ball

As the name suggests, this type of bowling ball is made from urethane. The urethane ball produces a drag on the surface of lane and it is therefore, suited for hooking. It is softer than other bowling balls; the urethane ball was created in the 70s decade to serve as an improvement over the plastic balls. These are unlike the reactive resin balls which follow a gradual path.

Reactive Resin Ball

The material used to manufacture these balls includes reactive resin and urethane. This ball is similar to that of urethane ball except for the additional resin particles. Resin particles help the bowling ball to skid on the oil surface and thereby take grip on dry lanes. The reactive resin ball are considered to be highly advantageous for scoring points.

Particle Bowling Ball

The particle ball is variation of reactive resin ball. Difference between these two is that the particle ball has a surface embedded with glass particles. This embedding of glass particles increases the friction between the surface of ball and lane; hook potential of these balls is therefore, greater than other balls. It is more suited for use on dry lanes than oil lanes.

Size of Bowling Balls

One of the important factors which helps classify bowling balls is their size. There are many different formats of bowling like the 10-pin, 5-pin, duckpin, etc. These games require the use of balls with different sizes. Types of bowling balls classified on the basis of size are listed below.

10-Pin Ball

The size limit for this ball is 0.69 m (circumference); its weight should not exceed 16 lbs. This ball is available in different coverstocks like the plastic, urethane, etc., explained earlier in this article.

5-Pin Ball

As the name suggests, this ball is used in the 5-pin game of bowling. The 5-pin balls do not come with finger holes because they are small; it is possible to hold 5-pin ball in a palm. Size of this ball varies between 4.75 and 5 inches while the weight ranges from 3.50 - 3.625 lbs.

Candlepin and Duckpin Balls

The candlepin ball has a maximum diameter of 4½ inches and weighs 2 pounds 7 ounces. Duckpin ball on the other hand has a maximum diameter of 5 inches. This ball weighs between 2 and 4 lbs.
The reactive resin and particle bowling balls are a common choice for bowlers as they help win crucial points due to the drag and backend. Now that you are aware of different types of bowling balls, the decision to choose a suitable one for your practice sessions could become a bit easier.