Now that you have practiced your timing (the walking and arm movements together) and you feel comfortable on where to stand for your strike ball, it is time to discuss the “BALL RELEASE”. But first, insert your fingers into the ball and make sure it doesn't feel too loose or too tight. if it's not comfortable, take tape out of the hole or insert tape as I spoke about in Blog Post on April 26, 2021 all about Equipment.
Walk up to the foul line with your ball and assume the position as if you just finished your slide. Swing the ball back and forth a few times and then just let it go. Do this several times until you have a feel of the swing. Then do it again but let the ball go.
To begin, now take your ball and step onto the approach. Insert the fingers into the bowling ball first, and then the thumb last and place your non-bowling hand under the ball to help support its weight, or as I do, rest the elbow on the hip to help support the weight of the ball with the non-bowling hand underneath the ball.
As you walk on the approach, remember on the slide to try to get LOW with a deep knee bend and have the body UPRIGHT and shoulders mostly SQUARE to the target (use the 2nd arrow as a starting point).
To RELEASE the ball, release it smoothly onto the lane as you get to the end of the slide and on the DOWNSWING when the ball is down by your left ankle. Pretend you are landing a plane and loft out onto the lane, NOT into it, as the ball will lose power if it hits the lane too hard. Think of pushing the ball onto the lane rather than throwing it. The THUMB needs to come out first, and then LIFT with the fingers which help rotate the ball. Keep the arm close to the body and bring it upward toward the ceiling so your hand can come up and touch your right shoulder to insure a good Lift. Remember to place the trailing foot out behind you or just SLIGHTLY out to the left. The left arm needs to go out to the side to assist with your balance (do the opposite for left-handed bowlers).
1. STRAIGHT BALL RELEASE: In order to be able to throw a straight ball, you just need to keep your hand FLAT at the stance, throughout the downswing, and all the way through the release. Do NOT turn it at all. If you think of your hand as the face of a clock, holding it out in front of you with the palm facing side up, the thumb should be near the number 3 and your middle finger will be at the 12. Keeping you body square to the lane is also important. This release is great for spares because there is no hook involved. I use this release when going for my 10 pins (7 pin for the left handed bowlers).
2. 10:00/11:00 RELEASE: In order to throw a hook, you can hold your hand flat at the stance, through the back swing, and through the downswing. Then just at the point of release, turn your hand only (not the entire arm) so your thumb is at the 10:00 or 11:00 position on a clock face and your fingers straight up pointing to the pins (on the right side of the ball for right-handed bowlers). You also need to LIFT your two fingers toward your palm during the ball release. This turning and lifting action will give you a nice HOOK shot. (The lefty’s thumb will be at the 2:00 or 1:00 position and the hand finishes on the left side of the ball).
3. You can also try holding your hand in the 10:00/11:00 hand position at the stance, backswing, and on the downswing and release. Or try holding your thumb so it is at the 5:00 position on a clock and your pinky pointing at the 11 at the stance on the downswing and just before the release, turn back to the 11:00 position. It will feel awkward at first, but doing this will put a nice rotation on the ball and give it more REVOLUTIONS (turn). More revs will get more ACTION at the pins!
The idea is to try these different hand positions on the down swing and release to see what works best for you during your practice sessions.
When lanes change from oily to dry after a game or two, you may want to use the straight hand position if the ball starts hooking too much, so you’ll have more control and more accuracy.
Take notes in your notebook during your practice sessions to help you recall what you did just before you start bowling on your league night. There’s lots to remember and easier to just review your notes from time to time.
Check out my book that's available on Amazon/Kindle--"Let's Rev Up Those Bowling Scores".
Join me next week when I'll be discussing "What Exercises are Good For Bowling"
Good Luck and High Scoring!
Hello!! My name is Joanie. Although I'm not a professional bowler, I have loved the sport for more than 45 years, averaged over 200 for several seasons, and learned quite a bit with research and experience.