How Do You Hold A Bowling Ball Properly?
When first learning how to bowl, one of the trickiest things to master can often be finding the proper way to hold and grip the bowling ball. Many people wonder how to hold the ball correctly and what the proper type and strength of grip needed for a good delivery are. Here, we will take a look at the basics behind correctly holding a bowling ball, including which fingers to use, types of grips, and proper grip strength.
What Fingers Should You Use to Hold a Bowling Ball?
Most people are familiar with the appearance of a common bowling ball, which is usually a large, heavy, colored ball with several holes at the top. The number of holes can vary per bowling ball, with most having three but some having four, five, or even none. However, the majority of bowling balls have three holes in them, two small holes placed side-by-side, and a slightly larger hole beneath them. Each of these types of bowling balls allows for variations in the type of grip that can be used.
The traditional way of holding a standard bowling ball involves placing your middle and ring fingers into the two side-by-side holes and your thumb in the larger hole beneath them, leaving your index and pinky fingers to cup the surface of the ball. This way of holding a bowling ball is called the “conventional grip.” For a proper conventional grip, the bowler should first insert their thumb into the thumb hole, placing their palm flat on the ball, and then placing their middle and ring fingers in the proper holes. The middle and ring fingers should fit comfortably into the holes, reaching approximately down to the second knuckle. The bowler can tell if their grip is good because there should be very little strain when lifting the ball in this fashion.
Other Types of Grips
Depending on the type of delivery one wishes to make down the lane and on which type of bowling ball is being used, a more experienced bowler has a variety of different grips they can use. One such grip is the “fingertip grip,” which involves placing the thumb, middle, and ring fingers in the holes of the bowling ball but only inserting the middle and ring fingers up to the first knuckle. This allows experienced bowlers to throw a hook more easily, but it can cause strain on the fingers.
A much more advanced type of grip is the “semi-finger grip,” which consists of inserting the thumb, middle, and ring fingers into the ball and inserting the middle and ring fingers to the spot between the first and second knuckles. This type of grip is a hybrid between the conventional and fingertip grips, giving the bowler a good amount of control while still permitting them to throw hooks.
A final type of grip, which is perhaps the least common, is the “sarge easter grip.” The sarge easter grip combines aspects of the conventional and fingertip grips differently than the semi-finger grip. In order to perform this grip, the bowler inserts their thumb and ring fingers into the bowling ball either conventionally or semi-finger but inserts the middle finger only to the first knuckle. Some bowlers consider this grip more comfortable, but it can be difficult to adjust to.
How Strong Should Your Grip Be?
Looking at the various types of grips we have described above, many may wonder exactly how strong of a grip they should put on the bowling ball. There is no firm answer as to how hard someone should grip a bowling ball because everyone’s strength is different, but in general, one does not want their grip to be extremely loose or extremely tight. A loose grip will allow the ball to be delivered much easier off of the hand, but if the grip is too loose, there may be a lack of control which causes the ball to veer off the intended course. Conversely, a grip that is too tight will make it hard for the ball to leave the hand and may cause injury. As with any sport, practice makes perfect when learning how to grip a bowling ball, and once bowlers have defined their perfect grip, they may choose to go to a bowling shop and have a custom ball made to fit their grip perfectly.