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Bowling Ball Finger Hole Pitches

If you are new to bowling and want to be fitted for a new bowling ball, then one of the main concerns the pro shop professional faces is identifying appropriate bowling ball finger hole pitches.

Since each bowler has a different size and shaped hand and individual delivery techniques, the bowling ball finger hole pitches become an important part of the pro shop fitting and measuring process.

Our staff at recognizes the importance of a properly fitted bowling ball. We cannot emphasize enough how the correct finger and thumb pitch angles drilled into your bowling ball influence your delivery technique. This article will make you aware of the importance of choosing an experienced pro shop professional and how that choice can effect the success of your bowling.

If you place your hand in front of you and look at the palm of your hand, then slowly close your thumb and fingers toward one another until your finger and thumb tips point at your eyes, you will notice how your bowling gripping fingers point in different directions. You will also notice how your bowling thumb closes differently than your fingers.

Since each bowler’s hand is unique and opens and closes differently, care must be taken to assess the angles the holes must be drilled into your bowling ball so your hand fits comfortably and exits the ball easily and smoothly when you deliver the ball.

Gripping holes must be contoured to match the shape of your fingers and thumb in addition to being drilled at angles which augment your delivery.

When you place your fingers into the bowling ball, your finger holes may converge near the bottom of the holes because of how your fingers are positioned into the bowling ball. In this case, the pro shop professional must allow enough room between the fingers before drilling the holes so convergence does not occur.

The space between the finger holes on the surface of the ball is known as the “bridge” and the “bridge” can sometimes be as much as ¼” distance between the inside edges of the finger holes depending on the angles the holes are drilled into the ball and upon the predetermined depth of each hole.

Gripping finger pitches can affect your delivery technique. When gripping finger hole pitch angles are toward the palm of the hand, your fingers curl under slightly when inserted into the ball. These pitch angles can cause you to rotate your fingers decisively when releasing the ball and produce a spinning effect on the ball with a relatively high axis tilt.

If your finger hole pitch angles are pitched away from the palm of your hand, the pads on your fingers can more easily press into the insides of the gripping holes which assists you in staying behind the ball and imparting a releasing action that reduces finger rotation. This enables the ball to be delivered with a forward rolling pattern and with a low axis tilt.

Thumb hole pitch angles are also vital for influencing your delivery technique. If your thumb hole angles toward your palm and toward your fingers, then you can easily turn the ball in tandem with your fingers to tilt the rotating axis of your ball. This causes the ball to hook decisively on the back end of the lane.

If your thumb is drilled with an angle away from the palm of your hand and away from your fingers, then this helps your hand stay behind the bowling ball at the moment you make your delivery. This reduces the side turn and the hooking motion on the back end of the lane.

Drilling appropriate pitch angles for your gripping holes is an important task for your pro shop professional. Not only should the distances between your fingers and thumb be measured correctly (known as the “span” of the ball), but the pitch angles in each hole must match the way your hand is constructed to aide in the type of delivery style you use.

There are books written about bowling ball drilling techniques and clinics that ball drillers can attend to learn about fitting and measuring bowling hands.

Once the fitting is complete, the final task the pro shop operator faces is which drilling layout best suits the needs of the bowler, since drilling layouts affect ball motion.

There is a science to choosing an effective drilling layout which will benefit you most. We recommend you consult with your local pro shop professional, evaluate your present bowling ball equipment, and plan for your next fitting.