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Bowling/grip feel = desired release


Hello Gary,
I just wanted to know if getting the desired feel in the grip layout equals getting your desired release.  I love to have the ball sit in my palm with the contacts of both fingers and thumb flush with the pads.  With this grip I have a good feel during the swing but struggle getting my hand out of the ball from the back to slightly around during the release point (I do not like to be in the pre set release position on the down swing into the release).  It feels as though my thumb is initially moving into the thumb hole as opposed to having the thumb slip out of the thumb hole.  The center fleshy part of the base of the thumb also feels as though it drags.  The grip layout that works now with my release puts the contact of the thumb slightly on the inside front of the thumb. This is ok as I do not have much of a callous aside from a little friction on both sides of the thumb and a little light callous at the very base of the thumb. The ball sits slightly more on the middle to slightly towards the middle and index finger.  So am I chasing something that is not fundamentally sound to the grip/release or do I just need to tweak the pitches more?  My PAP is 4.5 x 0.  Thanks you Gary.

Hi Casey, what you are talking about is "feel." Generally speaking its very difficult to teach feel. In bowling, proper fit is key. When a bowler has no clue as to how to deliver the ball coaches will offer guidance in delivering the ball. This is probably a rare time they will discuss how it should feel which is definitely a one on one situation.
  Personally, for bowlers who are looking for a "feel" I recommend launching the ball off the front part of the hand. This gives a feel that has more direction to it rather than just projecting the lateral circling of the ball into a spin.
  When it comes to the feel "off the front of the hand," I am referring to a forward momentum swing of the ball, that allows the hand and fingers to "start the ball up" as the thumb clears the thumbhole.
  Although many bowlers have been taught to cup the ball and keep it cupped through the release, many bowlers have found that cupping and then unloading the ball at a point just past the ankle will promote accuracy and better revolutions.
  Casey, you are not chasing something that is not fundamentally sound, it's about literally placing your hand and fingers in a "consistent" position that give you an assurance that you will hit your targets again and again.
   Often coaches will individually train a bowler into a particular style of release that the bowler is trying to achieve. If a coach can not personally train a bowler they will refer that bowler to another coach or player that is well experienced in a particular release, be it...stroker, cranker, suitcase, two handed, back-up bowler, or something in between.
   In summary Casey, feel is something the bowler has to come to know. Placing the ball into play off the hand can be done in several ways. I describe a couple in my bowling book, "True Bowler Adjustments." Whether you deliver the ball off of your finger joints, finger pads, the pad of one finger and the joint of the other is an individual preference. This comes totally under the heading "hand and eye" coordination.
   So "feel" can vary from bowler to bowler. I prefer a bowler trains with a softball, rather than a football. This way you can project the ball directly at your targets.
   Rather than have me directing you to position your hand a certain way and then telling you what you should "feel" in this is more important that you be shown personally through individual instruction.
    Seeking an answer to this question online is not the best practice. Hiring a coach to observe and correct any misses on the lanes with you is what's needed. When your delivery becomes consistent the "feel" will creep into your game.
   I appreciate your questions and truly wish you were here in Vegas. I'm sure you would understand after a few tosses of the ball with me. Take care Casey. God's Blessings to you this holiday season. -Coach  


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Gary L. Oatis, PBA Coach and USBC Silver Level Coach, PBA Member, Pro Shop Staff Member


I am the author of True Bowler Adjustments bowling book. I can answer bowling adjustments questions dealing with the body, the ball, the lanes and using your eyes to read the ball reaction. I can also answer "most" drilling questions about bowling balls. I will generally answer your questions within 2 days. I am truly a "software guy" who loves the human or people part of coaching. Any questions concerning ball drilling, we want to direct to the "hardware guy," the true expert regarding ball fitting! Ball fitting is what I consider to be your first priority in bowling! Thanks in advance Warren!!! It will always be about teamwork with me! A very special "thanks in advance" for any help with drilling questions I may receive! If your question is about "How to bowl better? physically and mentally," I am here for you. Anything else will most likely be sent to the question pool for consideration by other members. I recently began my first year of ball drilling(6/1/2010). Thank you. :-)


20 years in bowling as a coach and player. Annually I coach over 250 bowlers. Author: True Bowler Adjustments Bowling Book Facebook Testimonies: Facebook contacts 5000+!/TrueBowler

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True Bowler Adjustments bowling book,Author - Copywrite 12/2008 Radio shows - "Let's Go Bowling" and "The 13th Frame Radio Show" / Jan 2010 feature article in The National Bowling Association (TNBA) Magazine pg.29, writer Dustin Markowitz - March 25, 2012-What Happened to Bowling#16 Los Angeles Senate (TNBA Online Newsletter, "Ask Coach Oatis") 1500 members Questions Answered - 300 Responses.

Gary L. Oatis,MSgt,USAF(Ret.) Associates of Science in Radiological Technology (we x-ray the cores of bowling balls as practice phantoms sometimes!) PBA Coach and USBC Silver Certified Coach Journeyman, Pro Shop Staff Member, Nadeau-Haynes Bowling Supply, Las Vegas, NV.

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299's, 297's, 290's, 288, no 300's or 800's "yet!"

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Charles Nibert - USBC Senior Masters Champion and Alaskian State Champion Randy Stiedl also of Alaska recently shot 800! Numberous PBA Regional Bowlers who compete across the US. Zach Hattori $64,000 scholarship winner from Las Vegas, NV. Shawn Crossley, $10,000 Amateur Bowling Tour Winner 05/2011. Haley Rubin of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, won $7,500 in scholarship funds at the prestigious North Pointe Competition helded in Las Vegas, 2010. Lareece Chambers first female to bowl a perfect game in her bowling center, Victorville, California. Most enjoyable, are my local Las Vegas bowlers. Many have won their 1st ABT or JBT tournaments with my help. I am grateful to every bowler who puts their trust in me. Helping them apply bowling knowledge to reach their goals is truly the best fun I have ever experienced in my lifetime.

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