Bowling is a fun sport to play with friends and family. But, when you want to get competitive, you need to focus on your technique. One problem that players face is the unintended decision to squeeze the bowling ball. If you're trying to break away from this habit, let's go over some tips!
You might not like hearing it. But, it's going to take multiple practices before you start gripping the bowling ball properly. The squeezing probably comes from tensing up. So, if you want to relax your grip, squeeze the ball before you release it. Once you're ready to roll the ball, loosen your grip.
It's not going to be easy to kick the habit out. Whether it's stress or tension, you'll need to find some way to relax at the moment. Otherwise, if you think about it too much, you're going to keep squeezing the ball. If you'd like to go over the process, keep reading.
How To Handle the Bowling Ball
When you're starting to be competitive in bowling, it's instinct to squeeze the ball. After all, a tighter grip will usually give us more control. This way, we feel like it's giving us better handling.
However, that's far from the truth in bowling. You want a more relaxed grip. Since you're going to release the ball, a tighter grip will only hinder your performance. Sometimes, it's not even our intention to grip it firmly.
No matter how hard you try, you keep squeezing the ball. This phenomenon can happen for a couple of reasons. Maybe you're stressed. Otherwise, it's muscle memory from other activities.
Relaxing Your Hand
When it's stress, the muscles in your hand are tense. So, if you want to minimize the squeezing, you need to release the tension. One good way to do that is by squeezing the ball.
More specifically, hold the bowling ball like you typically would. Then, squeeze as hard as you can. Release and repeat a few times. It's a similar technique to squeezing a stress ball.
However, our focus here is to reduce the tension. No, we don't want to keep the hand relaxed entirely. It needs to meet somewhere in the middle.
Your grip shouldn't be so relaxed that the bowling ball falls on the floor easily. In addition, it shouldn't be too tight that you can't consistently release the ball.
Now you should notice a difference in your grip. Hopefully, it relaxes the muscles in your hand enough to release the ball properly. So, play a couple of games and see how it goes.
Here's a YouTube video explaining the method in detail:
If you still have a problem squeezing the ball, it's possibly a technique problem. In any case, let's go over how you should position your fingers on the ball.
What Is the Proper Way To Hold a Bowling Ball?
If your grip is hindering the speed of the bowling ball, take a look at your finger positioning. For more context, think about how you hold onto the ball. Most beginners will use a claw-like grip.
So, their thumb, middle, and ring finger are clawing the ball. The problem with this grip is that you'll have to release the thumb in time. And, if your hands are tight, you won't be able to do that consistently.
The solution to this problem would be to change how you hold the ball. Instead of knuckling the ball with all three fingers, focus on pushing your thumb back. This way, you can release the ball better.
Use the middle of the thumb to keep hold of the ball instead. In this situation, the bowling ball can leave your hand relatively easily. If you continue clawing it, you'd first have to release your thumb. Then, the ball follows.
If you don't release your thumb in time, your shots won't have enough speed or spin. Pushing your thumb back eliminates the need to disengage your thumb. It should feel more natural to roll the ball this way.
Holding the Ball
Of course, changing the way you hold the ball can be tricky. One little change can make a big difference in some cases. Here's a YouTube video demonstrating how tight you should grip the bowling ball:
Even in a relaxed state, it's still enough to keep hold of the ball. If the ball falls off, you may need to adjust the bowling ball itself. Regardless, now you should know what a proper grip looks like.
Now we can move on to how to release the ball.
Releasing the Ball
Releasing the ball is the primary concern when it comes to grip. You need to maintain consistency. Otherwise, your shots won't have enough drive. As bowlers would say, the bowling ball should be releasing you. You shouldn't be releasing it.
It's a figure of speech. In other words, you need to create a way to release the ball effortlessly. Once you do, you can roll the ball with more speed consistently.
Here's a YouTube video demonstrating what it should look like:
Is Your Grip the Most Important Aspect in Bowling?
When you're in a competitive mindset, you're likely paying attention to every little detail. Sometimes, putting importance into every detail can be a disadvantage. There is one question you should ask yourself. How well do you play even if you're squeezing the ball?
A few factors that come to mind are scoring, pain, and releasing. You shouldn't worry about squeezing your hand if you're scoring well. However, if it's causing you pain or giving you consistency problems, the handgrip is only the tip of the iceberg.
As some bowlers suggest, proper fitting is one of the crucial issues. When you have a bowling ball with holes that aren't too big or small, you should be able to pick it up with a skeletal grip.
In other words, it's your bones and ligaments that are holding the weight. When you pick the ball up with only three fingers, friction prevents it from falling to the ground. So, gripping with your fingertips should be enough.
In this situation, the throwing motion when you release the ball should be enough to pull your thumb and fingers out. You won't have to think about it.
How Tight Should A Thumb Hole Be?
Seeking advice is usually one of the ways to solve a problem. Unfortunately, it's not going to help us in bowling. More specifically, it won't assist us in getting the right thumb hole fit.
We're all different. Thus, the advice people give you on the thumb hole fit might not apply to you. So, your best bet would be to seek a professional for help. Professionals are your best bet to identify the problems and get the right fit.
In general, the thumb hole needs to meet somewhere in the middle. It needs to be loose enough to fit your thumb completely. But, it shouldn't prevent you from releasing it correctly.
How Do You Prevent Thumb Blisters When Bowling?
Bowling without a good technique can harm your hands. No one likes blisters. If you can't stop them from happening, you'll need to make some changes. You can use extra equipment to help with this.
Since blisters are a common problem in bowling, you can use bowling tape.
Be careful not to use any random tape. You don't want to add more friction than necessary. Applying it is easy.
Start by straightening your thumb out. Then, secure the tape on your thumbnail. Slowly work your way down.
Avoid stretching the tape when you're applying it. Otherwise, it's going to overstretch as you use it. Consequently, it will not stick to your thumb for too long.
Applying tape to the back of your thumb every time you want to bowl can get tedious. So, the alternative would be to use a thumb sock. It's a spandex glove-like item.
Though, it's essential to note that it doesn't last long. You might need to replace it relatively frequently.
Change the Way You Bowl
The other way to get rid of the pain is to change how you roll the ball. You don't need to use every hole on the bowling ball. Instead, try two-handed bowling. As the name implies, it's a technique that relies on both hands.
The setup will be nearly the same. However, don't insert your thumb. You will use two fingers, your middle and ring finger. This technique is good if you have trouble handling the ball.
Of course, it will take time to adjust to a new way of rolling. However, as long as it's preventing pain, it should be worth it.
There are many reasons why you could be squeezing a bowling ball. Solving the problem will take time or adjustments. In any case, we hope you found the tips helpful!
Before you go, do you have other bowling concerns? Is the ball hooking too much? We can help you find out why! To learn more, check out:
Does the ball bounce when you release it? To find out why that might be, check out: