Why Won’t My Ball HOOK? – Part Three
Click Here for Part OneClick Here for Part Two
In Part One of 'Why Won't My Ball HOOK?' we talked about the importance of having the correct bowling ball. In Part Two we explained the importance of not only having the correct ball, but making sure it fits your hand. Please trust us, if the first 2 steps aren't followed, Part 3 won't be as effective or productive as it can be. So what is Part Three anyway?How to have the proper release to create revolutions!
In order to create revolutions, there are a few things that must happen at the point of release.
- Exiting of the thumb from the bowling ball
- Lifting with the fingers
- Counter-clockwise rotation of the hand and wrist (Clockwise for Lefties)
Let's talk about the first step. The biggest problem most beginning bowlers have when they first get a ball and try to learn to throw a hook is having their thumb come out of the ball properly. The key is NOT SQUEEZING
with your thumb. This goes back to part two when we talked about the ball not fitting your hand. It is important to learn to relax your thumb at the point of release. This promotes lift, rotation and most important - accuracy. We're not trying to churn butter or hang on to the side of a cliff as we're about to fall into the Colorado River. We're bowling. This step takes a lot of practice, but it will be the most important step in the long run!
Step two is really where the revolutions are created. Many people think when someone's ball hooks that they are actually "spinning" the ball. This couldn't be farther from the case. There are bowlers that spin the ball more than others, but to hook the ball you must create lift. At the point where you feel your thumb exiting the ball is when you start to lift. There should be no motions made toward hooking the ball until your thumb is out of the ball. Try to feel the ball on the tips of your fingers and lift as you're getting ready to release the ball.
Step three goes hand in hand with step two. As you're lifting with your fingers is when you rotate your hand and wrist counter-clockwise. The farthest you will ever want to rotate your hand would be to the handshake position. If you rotate any more than that, say to where your hand is on top of the ball at release, you will actually reduce
the hook. If you were to look behind yourself as you swing the ball, pretend the ball is a clock. Throughout the backswing and until the release point, you would want your fingers at 6 o'clock, 7 o'clock at the most. This will put your hand under the ball and in a good position for lift and rotation. As your thumb releases, you'll want to rotate your hand to about 4 o'clock. No more than 3 o'clock (the handshake position). It's not that much rotation, but it's the perfect amount for the optimum ball reaction. Take a football and throw it underhand and try to make a spiral. This is the closest thing I know of to demonstrate the hand motion I'm talking about.
These three steps happen in a matter of seconds, so it's going to take practice to become consistent and really get the hang of it. But it's fun so don't think of it as work! There was one technique I heard when I was learning to hook a bowling ball that really clicked in my brain. Someone told me to pretend the ball was resting only on your index finger throughout the backswing and until the point of release. Pretend all of the weight of the ball is being held by your index finger. Then as you start to release the ball, pull your middle finger to your index finger as quickly as you can. Hopefully that visual will help some of you as much as it did me.
Some of you folks may need to look into a wrist support. Say you've practiced all of these steps, and for example, you can't get the hang of lifting with your fingers. Well there are products that can help with that. The best product on the market, in my opinion, is the Mongoose Lifter
. Not only will it keep your wrist supported, but you only put your middle and ring fingers in the upper strap. This forces you to lift on the ball. It's not a crutch either, it actually teaches you muscle memory. So when your wrist becomes strong enough to bowl without it, you'll still lift the ball like you were wearing it. Another great product is the Bowled Solutions Griips Glove
. This doesn't give you wrist support, but it will definitely make you lift the ball.
What if you're having trouble releasing your thumb from the ball? This can also sometimes mean you need to use a wrist support. Breaking your wrist back can create a weird angle for your thumb to come out and cause it to hang up. The Mongoose would be great for this as well. Also, take a look at the Storm Gadget
, a very good product and extremely sturdy.
You now have all the tools to hook the ball and be very good at it! To be successful with anything takes practice and dedication, but it can be very rewarding in the end. Take these practices and put them to use. In just a short while you'll never have to ask again, "Why won't my ball HOOK?"Dustin Seymour