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We as bowlers dictate when and how the ball reacts down the lane. I know we all wish to have that magic ball but let's face it, no ball will magically work everywhere you go. Thus, we have to make the right adjustments to allow the ball to work how we may need it to. I will break down a couple of hand positions that will benefit you on certain areas and lane patterns to help you bring your game to the next level.
The very first, and normally the easiest, to do is the "up the back" release. You will see this release used by bowlers who throw the ball straight. When done perfectly, the fingers and thumb will be rolling end over end, thumping down the lane. Elite players will use this release to help them shoot at spares. Like they always say, the easiest path to the pins is a straight path. Take the pattern out of play by rolling up the back of the ball. This helps with bowling on really tough patterns along with helping shoot at spares. The downfall is that you will have no entry angle going into the pocket, making strikes a bit harder to get consistently. Use this release on any pattern, on any given day, just don't expect to put up big numbers by using this release only.
The next release we will hit upon is called the "off the side" release, as seen in the picture. This release can also be referred to as the suitcase release. If you were to bend over and pick up a suit-case by the handle, you will notice everything will be off the side. The outside of your hand will be facing away from your body. By having your hand on the side of the ball, you will create a side rotation which will help cause reaction down lane. The overall ball speed will determine a roll out reaction or a late break due to the side release. This release will also help create a bigger entry angle going into the pocket, thus increasing your strike percentage. This release is not recommended for most spares due to the ball having some reaction. Use this release to help put the ball on line easier. This can be used to play straight on most all patterns.
Finally, we come to what is known as the Pro Release. This release requires a lot of wrist strength. This will create the most overall hook and movement down lane. Your hand position will end up having your fingers in the lower left hand quadrant and thumb in the top right hand quadrant, as shown in the picture. Accuracy becomes an issue with this release since so much power is being generated. Practicing this release over and over will help with making it more consistent to do. By having this powerful technique, it will create the biggest entry angle into the pocket, creating the best opportunities to strike when hitting the pocket. Use this release on most all patterns to help with your strike percentage.
Take your game to the next level by practicing these 3 different releases. Up the back will mainly help more with spares. Suitcase the ball to help play the track area or even further right to help give some reaction in order to strike some. Conquer the pro release and watch your average jump to 200 plus. Practice Practice Practice will be the only way to ever get better at this game!
Steve Lemke Bowling.com SFA NCAA Coach