Bowling Strategies: The Grip

Say you have chosen a ball. Now you have to choose the appropriate grip style. This is extremely
important when it comes to your release and the way the ball travels along the lane. There are two
basic grips, and when choosing one, you should consider comfort and desired ball movement.

1. Conventional grip - This is the standard grip and you usually see it in a "house ball" (a ball
provided by the bowling center). It allows the middle and ring finger to slide into the ball down to
the second joint, and the thumb to enter the third hole below. The bowler will thus have a firm
grasp of the ball. Since it is so easy to control, this type of grip is used mainly by beginners who
are throwing a straight shot.

2. Fingertip grip – This is a completely different type of grip that is used mainly by more
experienced bowlers looking to throw a hook. The release of the ball with a hook is much different
than that of a straight ball, so the fingertip grip is used to ease in a bowler's fingers slipping out of
the ball much easier. Only the tips of your middle and ring fingers (down to the first knuckle or joint)
slide into the ball.

Here’s a list of what you should do when choosing the right grip:

1. Establish how you want to throw the ball. Is it going to be a straight ball or a hook/curve?
2. Ask for the advice of a pro shop regarding the grip that best suits you.
3. Ask an experienced bowler to evaluate your swing.
4. Make sure the span of your grip is comfortable, so there is no unnecessary strain in holding and handling the ball.
5. Last, but extremely important: choose whatever feels most comfortable.

Checking Your Grip

Are those extra pounds you gained during the off-season starting to bother you? Were you on
medication or did your medication change in the last few months? Then you are one of many
bowlers that should check the grip of their ball before starting your next season. The overall size of
your thumb is affected by the factors mentioned above. A loose or tight fitting thumb will have a
definite affect on your swing and bowling.

You should be able to keep a some grip pressure during your entire swing until release point. The
fingers take control over the ball from this point on.

If your thumb is very loose, your grip will definitely need additional pressure. This is likely to
interrupt the free swing of the ball during your approach and will also interrupt the release process,
then the direction of the ball and follow through. Conversely, if your thumb is extremely tight, you
will be unable to put your thumb all the way to its base. This procedure will have the same affect as
the extremely loose thumb fit discussed above.

How should a good fitting thumb look like? Well, it should be big enough to have a slight amount of
pressure on the sides of your thumb knuckle. Some bowlers prefer to have their thumb hole ovaled
because the thumb's overall has the shape of an oval. A good fit will help you keep the thumb
relaxed and allow it to clear the ball at the bottom of swing and transfer the weight over to your
fingers. Thus, the bowler can establish a consistent grip pressure, and a good free swing
throughout the approach and release position and develops a sense of consistency.

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