Bowling Ball Options and How to Choose the One for You

Knowing the differences between different types of bowling balls can help you play your game better and make your moves work how you’d like them to. There are four different types of bowling balls defined by the cover stock that they are wrapped in.


Plastic is a good option for beginner bowlers because it is a very smooth surface that offers little friction compared to the other bowling balls. It has a lower chance of hooking which makes it easier for newcomers to bowl with as well as those who are trying to shoot spares.


Urethane is a more durable bowling ball option and has a higher hook potential because of the friction that is created between the ball and the lane. This is a step up from plastic balls so those who have some experience bowing can move up to give urethane a try. It is better for pin action and is still controllable.

Reactive Resin

Reactive resin is known for three things. More friction, higher hook potential, and increased pin action. These are best in the hands of professional bowlers who have been able to get some remarkable tricks and moves out of them that have never been seen before. They are more difficult to control because of the sensitivity to lanes and operator error so it is not recommended for beginners.


Also known as a proactive bowling ball, this creates the most friction out of all the options available. The surface has a bumpy texture to it which allows it to work well on even the most oiled down lanes. It was created as an added bowling ball to add to intermediate and advanced players’ gear.

How to Choose a Bowling Ball

Choosing a bowling ball takes a few steps. The first is to pick one that is a good complement for your weight. Most people stick to a ball that is around 10 percent of their body weight. Pro-bowlers will use heavier balls closer to 16 pounds. If you’re just grabbing one for a few rounds at the bowling alley with friends, pick what feels comfortable and stick with something you can manage.

Those who are really into bowling will have additional considerations to make when picking out a ball. For one, if the ball is drilled specifically for you, you can go up a couple of pounds in weight and it will feel about the same as one that is lighter that wasn’t made for you. You are also going to want to choose your cover stock which is the different types of bowling balls that are offered (plastic, urethane, reactive resin, particle). Professional bowlers may have a variety of balls. You can look into which type you’re more interested in and practice with them before deciding which one is your go-to.

Finally, you can choose your balls! If you are looking for more help, the local pro shop should have lots of suggestions and tips. Good balls can be found at $50 or less and prices go up from there depending on customizations, drilling, etc.

If you are looking for the perfect place to practice your skills, come check out the lanes we offer at Stars & Strikes. Reserve a lane on our website or get in touch with the location nearest you.