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Bowling Ball Span, Originally Posted: 6/2/14; Updated: 4/29/21

If you are a new bowler or one who has bowled socially for a long time but are now just preparing to purchase your own bowling ball, there is one important key to getting professionally fitted for your new bowling ball and that is the bowling ball span.

Your bowling ball span is the measured distance between the placement of the gripping holes used to hold the ball. The span refers commonly to the distance from the front edge of the drilled thumb gripping hole to the front edges of the two finger gripping holes.

It is important that an accurate measurement be taken by the pro shop professional so after the holes are drilled into your ball and are shaped, contoured, and beveled for a comfortable fit, that the ball neither stretches your fingers too far due to a span which is too long for your hand nor cramps your grip on the ball because the span is well short for the size of your hand.
Having a properly fitted ball is vital to good bowling. If your ball span is well measured and drilled accordingly, then the pitch angles the gripping holes are drilled into the ball will help your release style as planned for by your ball driller and based on your individual delivery style.

When the span does not fit properly, then it is possible inconsistent deliveries can occur.

Some ball drillers will purposely choose to make the span between either finger hole and the thumb hole longer or shorter than the norm to influence a given release motion for the given bowler.

As examples, there are times when a short ring finger span will aide the bowler in rotating the ball producing a spin motion on the ball and creating a slightly higher axis tilt than if the ring finger was a longer span.

Once your ball leaves the skid phase of motion, it enters the hook phase of motion in the mid-lane.

If the middle finger span distance from the thumb hole is slightly longer than the norm, then the result may be that the bowler can deliver the ball with less rotation and a low axis tilt which produces a forward roll motion on the bowling ball.

In these cases, the ball driller will also choose appropriate pitch angles the holes will be drilled into the ball to produces a desired release action by the bowler.

Since every bowler has a unique hand and fingers, it is important before purchasing a new ball that you decide on an experienced ball driller.

Select a ball driller who has both experience and the knowledge to properly fit and measure your hand so you get the right span and can enjoy the benefits of owning your own bowling ball.

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