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Improve Your Bowling Release


Making an effective release of the bowling ball is a goal all bowlers should strive to achieve. An effective release leads to accuracy and consistency.

One of the biggest and most frequent challenges bowlers face is to avoid turning or rotating the bowling fingers earlier than needed. When your bowling fingers rotate the ball before your forward swing cycle allows your bowling hand to reach the release zone at the bottom of the swing, bad results will surely follow.

Try to delay the rotation of your bowling fingers until your ball reaches the laces of your bowling shoe. One trick is to think about not turning or rotating your bowling fingers at all.

If you stay completely behind the bowling ball and follow through in a normal upward swing motion to a full follow-through completion, you will delay the turning of your bowling fingers long enough to make an effective delivery. Don’t worry, you will still rotate your fingers and hook the bowling ball.

If you already turn your bowling fingers and produce a hook ball delivery, then staying behind the ball as long as you can and focusing on not turning your fingers can, indeed, work in your favor.

In time, you will train your brain to signal your hand to delay the rotation of your bowling ball until your hand reaches the proper release zone and you will witness a noticeable improvement in effective roll applied to your bowling ball.

Turning your hand too soon causes the “chicken-wing” effect. This is when your bowling elbow rotates to the outside of your bowling arm (flies out) and your hand turns too far over the top of the bowling ball before reaching the release zone.

Overturning the ball and “chicken-winging” the shot causes numerous problems. One thing overturning the ball does is produce an ineffective roll on the ball. It can also cause pulled shots well inside your desired swing path and target line. You will likely notice a weak-rolling ball traveling down the lane with the pin action suffering because you are certain to lose a bit of angle of entry as your ball impacts the pocket.


Not much good comes from turning your ball early. In an earlier article posted on our site in "BowlVersity" entitled “Thumbs Up For Bowling Power”, we advocated to never allow your bowling thumb to rotate past a “thumb’s up” position. When your hand releases your bowling ball, make certain your bowling thumb points straight up to the ceiling and continues to a full follow-through position.

This technique prevents an early turn of the bowling ball and instills power in your delivery style. Yet, keeping your thumb pointing up as your hand exits the ball is not enough. In fact, the great PBA Hall of Fame Champion, Marshall Holman, would share with us that his trick was to “visualize leading with my bowling ring finger when delivering the ball.”

It is imperative to focus on not rotating the ball until your hand reaches the release zone.

Because your swing is moving so quickly, it is sometimes difficult to think about the release at the exact time you want it to happen. Therefore, it makes sense to delay any thought of turning the ball altogether as a training technique. In time, your release will improve and you will no longer turn the ball early.

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