You Say You Want Revolutions?

You Say You Want Revolutions? – bowling techniques

Bill Spigner

* I throw an Ebonite Jaguar and am able to get enough hook out of it, but I don’t know how to get all the revolutions like the “pros” at my lanes. I’ve experimented with finger and wrist combinations but have found that nothing has worked. Can you please tell me the correct way to get maximum revolutions?

Developing a release with a lot of revolutions isn’t easily done. You need a combination of timing, hand position, swing direction, and speed.

To get a lot of revolutions, you need to start with your wrist position. The wrist should be cupped enough so your fingers are under the ball when it reaches the release zone. Consider a slight bend to your elbow and a slight cup to your wrist, which is the way many crankers do it. With the elbow slightly bent and the wrist cupped, your fingers will end up under the ball.

Your hand needs to be behind the ball so that your fingers are at about 6 to 7 o’clock when the ball reaches the bottom of your swing. The swing should travel slightly inside out, allowing your fingers to lift through the back of the ball from the inside out. The fingers move through the back of the ball from about 6 o’clock out and up to about 2 o’clock.

While your fingers are lifting the ball, you need to keep your forearm facing your target. If your forearm rotates outside of the hand, your hand will go around the ball. When the ball reaches the bottom of the swing with your wrist cupped and arm slightly bent–with your hand behind the ball and your swing traveling slightly inside out–everything is set for a powerful release.

The timing of your release is also crucial. When the ball reaches the bottom of the swing, your arm straightens and the wrist unloads. The wrist actually goes from a cupped position to a broken-wrist position. This is where timing is most critical. The thumb needs to be released so the wrist can unload before the ball is being lifted upward. Speed is important–after the thumb is released, the fingers must lift quickly from the bottom to the top of the ball. The faster the fingers move up the ball, the more revolutions you’ll get.

As you can see, just trying to cup the ball and get more lift is not all there is to increasing your revs. It takes a lot of work to develop more revs. If you have the time to work on it, it may be worthwhile. The more you hook the ball and the more revs you put on it; the more strikes you’ll get–but you will run the risk of being a lot more inconsistent. Remember, it doesn’t take a monster ball to get real good.

* When you get upset after doing something wrong, what do you do to calm down? I get upset easily.

There’s nothing wrong with getting upset when you aren’t performing up to expectations. Bowling is a very personal game, and our performance in front of teammates and fellow league bowlers is important. So there is pressure to do well.

The key is how you manage your emotions so they don’t affect the next shot you roll. You should look at the length of your league season. You’re going to be bowling for about 35 weeks and roll at least 1,050 strike balls over the course of the season. You can’t make all your shots perfect–you’re going to make some bad shots and get some bad breaks. However, you’ll also make a lot of good shots and get some good breaks. I’m a big believer that everything equals out in the long run and you only get what you earn.

Becoming overly upset about a single ball can be very distracting. I always try hard to get into my game more when things aren’t going right. If I get distracted, I will lose sight of figuring out what I need to do. That might sound difficult, but you need to be able to quiet your mind, calm your nerves, get on with the next shot, and try to make every shot better than the previous one in order to become a better bowler. You don’t want to be making the same mistakes over and over.

Again, remember that the season is long. Stay focused on your next shot, and don’t be distracted by the previous one.

* I’m a right-handed bowler with a straight ball. On my release when I throw a good ball, it feels like my thumb touches my middle two fingers. On my release when I throw a bad ball, my thumb comes out too early and the ball stays down the right side. I still bowl with a hard ball from the ’70s, and I can’t decide what new ball I need for my game. On release, my thumb goes from 12 to 9 o’clock. I roll my ball across the third arrow and use a semi-fingertip grip.

There are a number of things you can do to help your game. First of all, you definitely need to get a resin urethane ball. There are many great balls to choose from in the resin urethane family. Make sure you bring your old ball with you when you go to the pro shop so the operator can see your current grip and the track on your ball. Seeing the track on the ball is very important when someone is drilling a new ball for you. If possible, ask the pro to watch you roll a couple of balls; that will allow he or she to become familiar with your game.

If you can’t find help from a pro shop, I would recommend one of the medium-priced resin balls. Every company manufactures very good bowling balls in the $140 to $160 range. Some of the better ones on the market include Columbia’s Messenger titanium, Brunswick’s Battle Zone, Ebonite’s Cat series, Hammer’s Reaper, and Storm’s Eraser.

It sounds as if you are getting plenty of turn on the ball but very little hook. Besides getting the new ball, I would recommend going to a fingertip grip.

You should also make a couple of other adjustments. First of all, with your thumb turning from 12 o’clock to 9 you are getting plenty of turn, but that type of turn is also an indication that your wrist is breaking back and your hand is going around the ball to the top. You want to keep your wrist straight and your thumb rotating only to about 11 o’clock. This will help you lift the ball from behind.

Making these changes to your ball, grip, and release will get you more hook. But that also means you’ll have to change your target. Move your eyes to the second arrow or a little outside of it, because most bowlers miss inside their target. Keep your feet in the same place; adjusting your eyes will help you compensate for the additional hook you’ll be getting. From there, you can fine-tune your starting position on the lane and approach.

* Help! I’m realty getting frustrated by my thumb problems. They seem to be getting worse as I get older. I’m 76, and I carried more than a 190 last year. I’m still enthused about the game, but the problem is the constant change in the width of my thumb, and adding and removing tape to compensate. Sometimes I use eight pieces of tape, and that much tape doesn’t provide a comfortable or trustworthy feel. Changing plugs in three or four balls becomes quite expensive. I’ve been told my problem is water retention. Is there a fix for this problem (i.e., replaceable plugs)? Years ago I tried the “cook” adjustable plug, but that proved impractical because of my many ball changes.

Getting the thumb to fit well is an ongoing problem for many bowlers. There is no perfect-sized hole that can be drilled. We have to use tape to adjust the size of the hole and shape the hole so our thumb fits better.

I don’t know what type of tape you’re using, but eight pieces means you are probably using electrical tape. Use white grip tape instead. White grip tape is thicker and has some texture to it; you will use less and get a better grip. Also, the way you put the tape in the hole is very important, as is the size of the thumb tape. The tape comes in three widths: 1-inch, 3/4-inch, and 1/2-inch, so you need to experiment in order to find the right size for you. Sometimes you may need a combination of tape sizes to properly shape the hole for your thumb.

One thing to experiment with is the pitch of your thumb hole. You can reduce the reverse pitch or go forward with it. This change could allow you to hang on to the ball with a looser fit. If you change the pitch of your thumb hole, you will also need to change the span a little.

The best thing to do is talk to your ball driller. He or she should be able to advise you on your grip change and whether or not you need to change your method of taping the thumb hole.

There’s nothing we can do about changes to our bodies. The weather, the fit of the ball, and what we eat and drink can affect how our hand swells. If you think you are having a water-retention problem, see your doctor.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Century Publishing

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group