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Bowling How To Hold The Ball

The majority of gripping pressure should be with the pads of your bowling fingers with very little pressure on the pad of your thumb. If you focus on keeping your elbow and the palm of your bowling hand behind the ball on the forward swing and into the release zone, your chances at making an effective delivery will be very high. If your bowling arm swings closely next to your body as you swing the ball into the release zone, the chances of staying behind the ball are also very good.

Drill depths determine how far each finger can rest in the hole, with some comfortably accommodating up to the second knuckle but others stopping at just the fingertips. The depth of the first and second knuckle is something that most bowlers adjust depending on the purpose of each throw. Professional bowlers may install an interchangeable thumb slug to switch their thumb hole if they experience swelling during the game. Typically oil is placed on a lane thick near the foul line, thin in the middle of the lane, and with zero application near the pins.

How Do You Hold A Bowling Ball Properly?

Finally, release the ball and follow through with your hand as if you’re going to be shaking hands with someone. More experienced bowlers tend to have a more shallow hold, some even using a semi-fingertip grip where not even the first knuckle is in the ball. This bowling grip allows advanced bowlers to maintain the most control possible and easily maneuver and hook the ball.

WikiHow’s Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. Bumpers are small rails that can be installed on either side of the lane to keep wayward balls from ending up in the gutter. The lane is the oiled strip of wood that you actually roll the ball down.


Ask around among the better bowlers to find out who they recommend. But you need an honest re-assessment of what your hand requires. You are probably still growing and your hand is changing. I have done this more than once when I suspected my grip was a problem, because I’m older and less flexible than when I was a young bowler. The last time I had this done I didn’t even change drillers, I just wanted to see if he would recommend the same fit I had been using for years. Turns out he suggested a change, but he wouldn’t have if I hadn’t indicated that there might be a problem.

Yet because the thumb hole edge wasn’t rounded off as much, there was still enough of an edge to the hole that the ball hung on to me during my swing without me having to squeeze it at all. Then through release, it just flung right off perfectly. Whenever I teach someone how to bowl a leg break, I tell them to focus on the direction that the palm of their hand is facing.

For right arm leg break bowlers, the palm should be pointing in the direction of the number 2 on a clock face, or in a north-east direction on a compass. For left arm leg break bowlers, the palm of the hand should be pointing towards the number 10 on a clock face, or in a north west direction on a compass. If you are prone to squeezing the ball before release, there are many tips and tricks on how to stop yourself from squeezing the bowling ball. Remember, squeezing or gripping the ball too tightly with your thumb, middle, and ring fingers won’t do you much good. Professional bowlers tend to experiment with the depth of their bowling finger insertion to put different spins on the ball as they release the ball from their hands. Notice how the bowler’s hand is on top of the ball at the release with the thumb close to the thigh and the fingers on the outside of the ball, away from the body.

What Fingers Do You Hold A Bowling Ball With?

That’s because they want a sharper, more sideways hook to create more violent pin action after impact. When you place your thumb, middle and ring finger down to the second knuckle and brace the ball with your other hand, you can maintain maximum stability and control during your swing. Until you get your mechanics down and find your groove as a bowler, a conventional grip is a good safety measure to find the pins and do so in a manner that doesn’t risk injury. Use your index finger and your non-dominant hand to brace the ball as you hold it. This prevents injuries to your thumb and the other two fingers in the side-by-side holes.

To keep your hands clean and to wipe the oil and dirt off the ball so it will hook consistently. Remember, if you’re eating, never eat with the same hand that you bowl with. Remember that a strike is 10 plus the next two balls, whereas a spare is 10 plus the next ball. If you strike in the first ball in the 10th frame, you get two more balls to determine your final score. Hold the ball slightly to your side with your bowling hand underneath the ball and your other hand resting on the bottom side of the ball for extra support.

When the thumb hole is too big for your thumb it can cause a bowler to overly grip the thumb hole in the arm swing which can make it hard to release it at exactly the correct time for a smooth exit by the thumb. For a straight ball bowler the thumb will be on top of the ball during the release and it will exit the ball first followed by the trailing fingers which come up the backside of the bowling ball. When a ball fits your hand just right you should be able to put your thumb in the ball and pick it up without the aid of your other fingers or hand. This is why it should be very easy for a person to swing the ball and release it with the entire thumb inserted into the hole. A commonly accepted procedure is for the fingers to be inserted into the ball before the thumb.

It is also a good idea to have a more experienced bowler or coach watch you while you do it. While big hooks generate more power, it is important to note that, generally, the bigger the hook is, the more difficult it will be for a beginner to control. Find a happy medium that you feel comfortable with and doesn’t compromise your balance.

TLDR – For right handed bowlers take 1-3 steps and slide at the foul line on your left foot. Just before you slide you should have the ball behind you in the backswing. You should be attempting to throw a basic hook if you want a better chance of getting a strike and scoring higher. The easiest way to learn a basic hook is to hold the ball like you would a suitcase. Swing your arm under your body with the thumb on the thigh side of the ball from start to finish making sure to never twist your wrist. When you slide and the ball swings forward for your release let your thumb out and the fingers will follow a split second later with no effort on your part.

Like anything else, learning to bowl skillfully takes time and patience. Fortunately, bowling is a fun, social activity that can be extremely enjoyable even if you’re not an expert. It’s good to get in the habit of inspecting the lane up close before you start your first game. Just like in golf, the conditions of your playing surface can have a huge influence on the way you bowl. If you’re right-handed, it may help to stand slightly left of the midpoint of the lane so that your ball doesn’t travel too far to the right.

When you pick up the bowling ball, cradle the bottom with your other hand in order to hold it steady. As you release the ball, make sure your grip is loose and smooth. I read a lot on forums over the years and they almost always said not to grip the ball, but how do I keep the ball from falling out of my hand? E.g I’m standing up, with my fingers and thumb in the ball and bowling arm is parallel to my body with ball hanging over the ground. Should the ball not fall off without applying any grip or pressure? Whenever I bowl, I’m always gripping the ball with my callus pressing against the side wall of the thumb slug, nothing else.