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NEW APPROACH The idea of keeping your thumb relaxed when it’s exiting the ball and allowing the ball to roll off your fingers is completely opposite to the popular convention in the 1980s. Because of the old ball technology, bowlers tended to lift with

their fingers to impart revolutions. The prevailing wisdom was that when your thumb came out of the ball, you should pull your fingers toward your palm to create revolutions. It was called “hitting up on the ball,” and it was popular because the balls couldn’t generate revolutions on their own. Mark Roth is probably the best exam- ple of a bowler who imparted high revs by hitting up on the ball at the release point. Today, you want your fin- gers straight — almost hyperextended — so that the ball rolls off the pads of your fingers. The longer your hand stays on the ball after your thumb comes out, the greater the revolutions. That’s why fingertip grips add revolu- tions. You’re lengthening the span of your hand on the ball.

Mark Roth


A helping hand: Click above to view the video of Team USA Assistant Coach Bryan O’Keefe as he explains the simple, yet important, process of putting your hand into the bowling ball.

Ideally, your thumb should come out

first and the ball should simply roll off you hand. Because that’s the desired result, your thumb should be the last thing in the ball. Watch most top-flight bowlers. They tend to cradle the ball with their non-throwing hand, and put their fingers in first. Then they roll the ball onto their thumb, keeping their grip

nice and relaxed. At the ITRC, we teach bowlers that, because your ring finger is shorter than your middle finger, the ring finger is hardest to get into the ball. So, put your ring finger in first, then your middle finger. Again, simply roll the ball onto your thumb. You’ll immediately notice that your hand is more relaxed on the ball, and you’ll feel less pressure

all the way up your forearm and even to your bicep. Is this little tip something that’s going

to make you a noticeably better bowler? Probably not, but it’s a good starting point. And, like everything else in your pre-shot routine, how you put your hand into the ball should be consistent. Do it the same way every time.

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