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Bowling/Ball release and Positioning


QUESTION: Dear Mr. Friedl,

It's Nate here again to hound you with a few more questions. I have been to the alley lately and rolled a few handfuls of games to continue to practice developing stronger, more consistent hook. I have realized (and forgot to mention before) that during my backswing I am unable to cup my hand under/to the side of the ball to generate rotations as my finger placement only allows what looks like a bent claw-position. Even when holding the ball generically, my hand cannot be cupped around the ball. Will this be a big problem toward creating more revs? I feel like it means that I lose control that I would otherwise have on a better fitting ball than my current layout on my Tornado. If it helps, I will mention that I am a conventional bowler but considering finger-tip grips for my next ball.

Thank you again for your invaluable help!

Rev rate and ball reaction are about hand and wrist action with a conventional grip.

Not sure what a bent claw position is.

Not sure what is stopping you from cupping the ball, please explain or provide a visual.

Do you lose control? Explain please.

Ball fit and layout are different. Don't consider finger tips unless you commit to a finger-tip grip. Can't just put finger grips in a conventional ball.

Thanks for the follow up.  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Mr. Friedl,

The first picture is of the general look of the ball (of course)

The second picture shows how there is about an inch between my palm and the ball that I cannot comfortably cup. It shows (typically) how the positioning would look if I were on the approach with my backswing in motion.

As you can see it kind of looks like one of those arcade-claws. Forgive me for the terrible comparison. I do not seem to lose control of the ball at all, it just seems like the added control and hook ability that would normally come from being able to cup the ball and follow-through with the necessary motions are lost.

As a side note: for my next ball I am willing to commit to a finger-tip style!

Thanks again for your help!


Was the ball done in a pro shop with a scale? The position of the CG and pin would suggest quite a bit of finger weight, or a VERY low top weight ball. Do you have the fingers in the finger holes to the second knuckle? a conventional grip? Is there another hole I can't see?

The second picture looks as if your hand is cocked into the ball, potentially stretching the span of one or both of the fingers. Not being able to cup the ball would lead me to believe the grip isn't as comfortable, or as benefitial as it could be. BUT I CAN'T BE SURE with only the minimal view you provided. What happens when you roll the ball toward your wrist (cupping it)? We may just be stumbling over the words being used to describe the feel/fit.

Not sure why the ball would be difficult to roll off your hand, but in my experience, a deficient fit will sometimes make it difficult. Thanks for the visuals.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Mr. Friedl,

I am unaware of what a scale would be in this case. All I can remember is that the driller, placed my fingers in different tube like cylinders with different diameters and had me relay which felt most comfortable. Aside from that I cannot recall any other measurements being taken.

Since I was learning how to bowl ten-pin at the time I had this ball drilled, I knew nothing about pin distance, top weight, PAP or any other bowling spec. He told me that as a result of this he would ensure the ball is designed for a (lefty like me) player starting out and would allow for a low hook/roll.

My fingers are placed in to the second knuckle and the grip is in fact conventional. There are no other holes present in the ball. Hopefully the attached image will allow you a better view.

I couldn't capture an actual image with the ball rolling toward my wrist but in testing what happens is as follows:

Position your dominant arm in front of you with your palm and wrist facing you. Next, bend your hand so that the finger-tips of the same hand are facing directly toward you. That is the only way I can cup the ball (if I am in that position) which is also extremely uncomfortable!

How does one actually let the ball roll off? When I release I push the thumb forward but am actually unsure how to release the two fingers, and turn them to generate more hook. Is the ball literally supposed to fall of the middle and ring fingers? Isn't this where cupping the ball would indeed help generate more revs?

If this is any help at all, my target is the third arrow on the left hand side and the ball comes into the pocket, as you know that is a relatively small hook. Even though it hooks a minimal amount the ball seems to always skid or struggle to pull toward the pocket at each of the different alleys I have bowled on, on different occasions. Since it happens so often in many different places I have ruled out the oil and do believe that in fact my finger release is still incorrect.

All I can do is continue to thank you for your answers and support!

The scale question is about a unique device that weights the bowling ball. The position of the grip and pin looks like the ball could be illegally out of balance. BUT, you can't know for sure unless it's weighed properly.

Thanks for the additional picture. You have a pretty big hand and the angles of the fit may restrict you somewhat from the hand action I mentioned before. If you take a football and attempt to spiral it forward, under hand, you have a very similar motion to what bowlers attempt to do when hooking a bowling ball. The modern fit may facilitate doing the spiral rotation more easily, but the traditional fit requires more specific and consistent wrist rotation to achieve the revolutions and axis tilt for an effective hook.

The cup position as well as additional wrist cocking action helps a bowler create their rev rate, axis rotation and axis tilt. Using the combination (and the untold numbers of variations) consistently allows for a predictable and controllable ball reaction, and the ability to control where and how much a ball hooks. Knowing how much tilt and how much rotation works best for you and what variations give you a better reaction is why top players are top players.

I'd suggest that experimenting with your target line rather than just choosing one target #3rd arrow# will give you a better sense of where the oil is on the lane and where might be your most optimum path to be effective at any given time. There is typically less oil closer to the edge (gutter). With a milder ball such as the Tornado, you might find more ball reaction with your ball where there is somewhat less lane conditioner (OIL). I'd suggest to you the oil on the lane is overwhelming the shiny surface and minimal effect the Tornado's core is providing and of course your skills may not provide enough axis tilt and axis rotation, with possibly too much ball speed, to be effective where you are currently choosing to roll the ball.

Good luck and good bowling. Contact me on my website (, if you might want to do a video lesson.  


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