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Releasing The Bowling Ball - Part 1

By Clyde "Choc" Higa - USBC Coach´s Association

There are several ways of releasing your bowling ball. Each one can, and will at times, perform better on the lanes than the other releases. I have experimented with all of them over the years and determined that my current "3/4 roll" is the most comfortable for me. There are times, though, that I will turn my hand under and throw a "semi-roll" because I can get the ball further down the lane and get more side roll on the ball. I will describe them in this article and you can decide which may be the best for you.

For explanation purposes, we will use the face of a regular clock with hands. Stand erect and let your hands dangle at your sides. Right-handers look at your right hand and left-handers, vice-versa. If you imagine the face of the clock, your thumb will be at around the 9 o' clock position, left-handers at 3 o' clock. We will assume that the greater majority of people will only use the hand positions from 9 o' clock to 3 o' clock (right-handers) and 3 o' clock to 9 o' clock(left-handers). In my descriptions, I am from the right-handed point of view so left-handers please just do the exact opposite of what I say relative to the clock positions, except for the 12 o' clock one.

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When I first started bowling, I threw a straight ball. I released the ball with my thumb at the 12 o' clock position. This is advocated by many to be the easiest way of throwing the ball for most beginners. The ball will roll straight down the lane and is easy to control because you do not have to worry about any hook (ball arcing to the right or left on the lane) action. To aim for strikes, just draw a straight line from where you release the ball to the point that is between the number 1 and 3 pins in the setup (called the "pocket"). For spares, draw a straight line from the pins left on the lane and throw the ball along that line.

A few years later, I progressed to another "simple" release called the "full roller." This is accomplished by holding your ball in a suitcase grabbing position at the point of release. Your thumb for right-handers will be in the 9 o' clock position (left-handers at 3 o' clock). By holding your wrists firmly and the back of the hand as straight as possible, the ball will roll between the thumb and fingers. When your ball returns to you, there will be a "track" that goes completely around the ball as if it were splitting it perfectly in half.

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