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How To Become A Bowling Cranker
Your release action determines if a ball will hook modestly, sharply (as a "crank release causes"), or if the ball will go straight. Developing a hook release is generally preferred over a straight ball delivery. A hook ball will enter the pocket at the pin deck with an increased angle of entry more likely to maximize pin carry compared to a straight ball delivery.
A bowling ball with a high rate of revolutions, a high ball speed, and a sharp angle of entry into the pocket will produce the highest chances of getting strikes. The risk is greater, however, in controlling a ball with a severe or sharp hooking motion compared to a modest hook motion. Both can lead to very desirable results. Make sure you are skilled enough as a bowler to be able to have good balance, good posture walking to the foul line, and a solid platform when releasing the bowling ball before you work at generating maximum power in your release.
Maximum power with no control of direction will produce far less than favorable results. Normally, cranker type players are very athletic people and flexible enough to make the relatively violent deliveries of the bowling ball required to achieve a cranker status. Make certain your physical conditioning allows you to proceed with developing a cranker release.
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The first technique in learning how to become a bowling cranker is to create a footwork pattern which promotes a proper arm swing path. For example, the pro bowlers who crank the bowling ball (right handed players - opposite for left handed players) will walk left from the starting position on the approach so the swing tucks in nicely and allows the player to swing and release the ball from an inside path to a target further right down the lane than will an up-the-boards player.
A technique used by players who walk left with a consistent footwork pattern (for right handed players) using a 4 step approach and which encourages good balance is as follows:
1. The first step with the right foot moves straight ahead from it initial positioning on the approach and maintains consistent tempo and distance of the step from one delivery to the next.
2. The second step with the left foot steps to the left about 5 boards from the initial positioning on the approach and maintains consistent tempo and distance from delivery to delivery.
3. The third step with the right foot steps in front of the second step in a tightrope fashion as to step on a line under the center line of the torso and maintains consistent tempo and distance each delivery.
4. The final slide step slides under the chin or the center line of the torso to support the weight of the body and create a stable and balanced platform in which to deliver the ball. The slide foot should enter the foul line in a fairly straight line so the toe of the sliding bowling shoe faces the pocket down the lane.
The pattern of steps to walk to the left, therefore, is "straight on one, left about 5 boards on two, step to the center line of the body on three, and slide under the center line of the body on four." Of course, if you use a five step approach, the first step is straight to get you into motion, then the remaining four steps follow the above described pattern. There are alternative but similar walking methods used by cranker players but this technique is very common and taught by many certified bowling coaches.
Relating to specific hand action, try the following techniques under the guidance or supervision of a professional coach for best results:
1. Maintain constant and very firm bowling ball grip pressure on the pads of your fingers from the stance position on the approach and throughout the swing into the critical release area at the bottom of the down swing as your hand nears the back of your sliding shoe. If you release the ball between the shoe laces of your sliding shoe and the toe of the shoe, the momentum developed from the swinging of the bowling ball will carry the ball onto the lane surface beyond the foul line. The closer you can regulate the "moment of release" to that precise area of your sliding shoe, the more consistent your release will become.
2. Using a full finger-tip grip drilled by your pro shop operator and making sure you learn to allow your bowling thumb to exit the ball prior to the fingers exiting the ball gives you the best chance at hooking a bowling ball. In fact, there are some players who choose to not use a thumb to hold the bowling ball but rather use the fingers only to generate maximum revolutions of the ball. To produce a strong hook requires discipline because of a fast and significant rotation by the bowling fingers and unhinging of the tilted wrist position as your bowling hand releases the ball.
3. Set up on the approach with your hand under the ball with the palm of your hand facing toward the ceiling, or perhaps even further under the ball, as to allow a maximum rotation of your fingers at the moment of release. Work at maintaining your hand remaining behind the ball as long as possible or until your hand reaches the release zone before you rotate your bowling fingers. Tilt or hinge the wrist of your bowling hand as you begin the down swing and allow your bowling elbow to bend and scoop the bowling ball in a slight cradle position which will get your fingers in position to rotate around the the bowling ball with a snappy action at the precise moment of release. Avoid rotating the bowling ball until your hand reaches the release zone located at the laces of your bowling shoes.
4. If you are a right handed bowler (opposite for left handed bowlers), as your hand reaches the critical release zone with your hand maintaining the "behind the ball" positioning on the forward swing, you must rotate your fingers quickly and decisively from left to right or about about three to four hours on a visualized clock dial from "behind the ball" to the side of the ball which is from the 7 o' clock position to the 4 o' clock or the 3 o' clock positions. Try not to over-rotate your bowling fingers beyond the 3 o' clock position as to rotate your entire arm over the top of the bowling ball.
A quick and manageable amount of finger rotation will tilt the rotating axis to perhaps a range of 45 - 70 degrees of axis tilt, cause a noticeable high rate of revolutions and the "crank motion" you seek on your ball, and will cause the ball to hook sharply down the lane. Be careful not to rotate your entire arm but rather only your fingers and wrist action; this cannot be stressed enough.
bowlingball.com always recommends you consult with a professional, certified coach, particularly if you are working on developing a powerful release technique, if you are a two finger bowler using no thumb to grip the ball, or if you are a two handed bowler. Developing a powerful release action is difficult to communicate in words and, therefore, is better accomplished when an experienced coach can guide you through a proper procedure.
Cranking the ball is not for everyone. In fact, it can be safely stated your accuracy will increase if your release technique produces a modest hooking action rather than the powerful, sweeping hook motion which is difficult to control although you will sacrifice angle of entry into the pocket and some pin carry.
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