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Finger Pitches Affect Your Bowling Release

If you are presently using a full fingertip grip, there are few things to know related to the pitch angles drilled into the gripping holes of your bowling ball.

Since your middle two bowling fingers are inserted down to the first knuckle joint in a fingertip grip as opposed to the second knuckle joint for a conventionally drilled bowling ball, the angles these finger gripping holes are drilled into the ball will affect your release action and how your bowling ball will react when traveling down the lane.

If a ball is drilled properly to custom fit your hand, there should be little or no separation of the palm of your hand from the surface of the bowling ball with a fingertip drilling.
When your hand is placed properly into the holes of the bowling ball, we recommend placing slightly more gripping pressure on the finger pads of your hand than on your thumb pad and maintain consistent gripping pressure on the ball throughout your swing cycle.

When the finger holes are drilled with pitches toward the palm of your hand, these type of pitches are commonly referred to a “forward pitches” or as “toward the palm pitches.”

If the finger holes are drilled at angle away from the palm of the hand, these type of pitches are commonly known as “away from palm pitches” or as “reverse pitches.”

Forward pitches permit your gripping finger pads to curl under and toward the palm of your hand which will encourage your fingers to remain in the ball a split second longer than reverse pitches. Forward pitches also aid you in rotating your fingers to create added axis tilt, known as side turn, to help your ball hook on the back end of the lane.

Reverse pitches tend to assist in rolling the ball with low axis tilt and in a forward rolling motion. Reverse pitches provide a good feel on the pads of your fingers as you swing and release your bowling ball.

If your finger pitch angles are drilled at right or left directions, right pitch angles (for right handed bowlers) encourage a turning motion and left pitch angles encourage your staying behind the ball a longer period of time resulting in less finger rotation. The opposite is the case with left handed bowlers.

Frequently, the left or right pitch angles vary for each of your two gripping fingers because of the way your hand opens and closes naturally when making a fist.

Every bowler has a unique hand and the pitch angles, whether they are left or right, forward or reverse, will vary in accordance with the given hand and the way it opens and closes naturally. These pitches will also vary with a given type of delivery technique.

Experienced ball drillers carefully consider your hand and the way you deliver your ball before deciding on the precise pitch angles each hole should be drilled.

Your thumb hole also has specific pitch angles chosen by the ball driller by design. If you wish to stay behind your ball as long as possible and reduce your turn and finger rotation, away from palm thumb pitches will be used to promote this type of release action.

If you wish to rotate the ball and gain finger side turn, the ball driller will typically use toward the palm pitches in your thumb hole.

For a fast release, the thumb hole can use reverse pitches. For a slower release action which allows your wrist to stay "cupped" longer than usual and ultimately help provide a stronger finger rotation, the forward pitch angles will promote this specific release action.

There is no guaranteed drilling angles in gripping holes which work the same for every bowler. It is important to know that you may have to experiment with gripping hole pitch angles before settling on ones which help you gain a desired release technique.

Establishing a good working relationship with your pro shop professional is critical as you advance in the game. You may become sophisticated enough to use varying pitch angles from bowling ball to bowling ball depending on the ball motion you seek when selecting a specific ball construction and a certain drilling layout.

As a rule of thumb, your pitch angles should be compatible with your chosen drilling layout and with the ball motion you seek. Pre-planning your equipment is very important as you progress into stiffer competition.

Having a properly fitted bowling ball using appropriate pitches, which are compatible with your delivery technique, is key to obtaining your desired ball motion and ultimate success on the lanes.

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