Why do bowling balls curve? (How to Do A Perfect Curve?)

urethane bowling balls vs reactive resin

Table of Contents

Have you ever wondered why bowling ball curves as it rolls down the lane? 

When you throw a baseball or a football doesn’t it go straight across the field? If that’s the case, how can a bowling ball curve with such a force to make eight pins explode from the sidewalls of its lane?

A bowling bowl curves because of its weight distribution. The heavyweight on one side coupled with the perfect position creates a tilt in the axis of the ball. This tilt makes it so that the ball spins in slow arcs as opposed to straight lines.

This guide will help show you why bowling balls curve and how to achieve a perfect curve which is something that every bowler should be able to do. This means every time you step up to the line, you have a chance to execute that perfect shot and knock down a few pins.

Why Does A Bowling Ball Curve?

There are a few reasons why a bowling ball curves during its flight. The bowling ball curve is just due to the weight distributions of the ball.

The weight inside the ball is not distributed equally. It is heavier at one point than at another. So, when you throw it, the greater weight will make it rotate towards that side, hence giving it a curve!

To understand why the ball curves, you have to understand the motion of the ball.

The bowling ball is primarily rotating in the direction that it is moving. Because of this, the ball is moving at an angle in relation to the surface of the lane. This causes friction to act on the ball and make it curve. If you are a right-handed bowler, you will release the ball with a clockwise rotation as viewed from above. The ball will then move to the left due to friction acting on it.

Surprisingly, the weight distribution and the position of the ball in the hand is the key to creating a balling curve. The center of gravity of the ball is the pivot point of the spin.

The heavier the weight on one side of the ball, the more it will curve. This is because the heavier weight will push the CG away from the side of the ball that has the lighter weight.

The position of the ball in the hand also affects the amount of tilt.

Understanding the Bowling Ball Reaction

A bowling ball’s reaction to the lane is generally determined by the interaction of three factors: the speed of the ball, the angle of tilt (rotation), and the amount of axis tilt. The interaction of these three factors can create a wide variety of ball reactions on the lane.

·       Speed Control

The speed of the ball is one of the most important factors in determining ball reaction because friction is directly related to speed. A ball moving at a slow speed will not skid very far down the lane before it starts to hook. A faster ball will skid further, creating more opportunities for the ball to hook.

For example, if you throw a bowling ball straight down the lane with no rotation or tilt, it will hit the pins with no hook. However, if you put a spin on that same ball, it will start to curve as soon as it leaves your hand. This is because spin creates friction with the lane surface and causes your ball to hook once it stops skidding.

·       Angle of Tilt

A two-handed bowler has more control over the angle of tilt than a one-handed bowler does because two-handed bowlers can adjust their grip during delivery. A one-handed bowler’s release causes much more spin and therefore more curve than a two-handed bowler’s release.

·       Axis Tilt

While speed and rotation affect your bowling ball’s initial movement down the lane, your axis tilt determines where it hits, where it goes, and how far it goes towards finding its target. The amount of axis tilt you use will determine your breakpoint (where your bowl first curves).

How to Do A Perfect Curve?

The bowling ball curve is the capability of a bowler to make the ball unexpectedly hit all the pins; making it difficult for other bowlers to beat him.

Bowling balls curve when they begin to roll. This occurs because the ball’s weight is not evenly distributed around its center. The rotation of a bowling ball makes it follow a curved path, resulting in a hook.

To achieve a perfect curve, you must keep your arms close to your body and release the ball as close to the ground as possible. It’s best if you can keep your hand at stomach level or lower when you throw the ball. If you release too high, the ball will fall short in a straight line, instead of following a curved path.

Step by Step Guide for Doing A Perfect Curve!

  1. The first thing you need to do is to get a bowling ball that is the correct size for you. The ball should fit your hand. Your fingers should not be cramped, and your thumb should not have too much room. You have to be able to hold onto the ball securely.
  2. Stand at the line with your feet parallel to each other and shoulder-width apart.
  3. Aim at where you want your ball to hit. Get a good feel for how hard you need to throw the ball to reach that spot before actually throwing it.
  4. Grab hold of your ball and keep it low as you approach the line so that it doesn’t fall over onto your feet or toes.
  5. Now place the ball with your thumb in one of the holes on a flat surface like a floor or tabletop. Make sure that your wrist is straight, but that it does lie on a flat surface.
  6. Keep your wrist neutral. When your wrist is in a neutral position, the fingers pitch downward, and the wrist and elbow are working together as a single unit. This results in the release of energy at the optimum point during impact with the pins, maximizing pin action.
  7. Swing your arm out to the side and back to generate momentum for your throw.
  8. Pull out your thumb before pulling out any other fingers, using an overhand motion to release all of the fingers from inside of the ball.


When it comes to bowling, a perfect curve would be ideal. Bowling professionals who are efficient curving pitchers must be great at learning the art of curveball for more score precisely in their bowling game.

The curve can be improved by perfecting the technique of every component like gripping, body movement, timing, and footwork. This will help any individual to curve a ball.

We hope that you have found this article on how to properly execute a perfect curve interesting and useful!

Picture of Shmulik Dorinbaum

Shmulik Dorinbaum

I play bowling almost daily, and on the days I'm not? I'm writing about my day and what I need to do to improve myself as a better bowling player.

Picture of Shmulik Dorinbaum

Shmulik Dorinbaum

I play bowling almost daily, and on the days I'm not? I'm writing about my day and what I need to do to improve myself as a better bowling player.

Recent Posts

Some Crazy Shots!