</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="VERDANA,ARIAL,HELVETICA,TAHOMA">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="VERDANA,ARIAL,HELVETICA,TAHOMA">Originally posted by JLochner: i just bought my first ball and had the Pro Shop measure and drill my ball. after they finished, they had me slide my fingers in and out...the thumb seemed small so the made it larger. But i think it might be too big?
</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="VERDANA,ARIAL,HELVETICA,TAHOMA">I take it from you statement that you think the hole is too big. When setting up a ball for a bowler you want the thumb hole to be a little large to accomodate the use of tape in the thumb hole. The thought is you want the hole big enough to be able to add 2-3 pieces of tape. Remember, our thumbs change sizes while bowling and from day to day, month to month, and season to season. </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="VERDANA,ARIAL,HELVETICA,TAHOMA">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="VERDANA,ARIAL,HELVETICA,TAHOMA">
i can feel a callous forming on the inside/bottom portion of my thumb. and i read somewhere that you should be able to lift the ball with out squeezing...well, i don't understand how one could possibly pick up the ball without squeezing unless you glued the ball to your finger!
</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="VERDANA,ARIAL,HELVETICA,TAHOMA">Rich has put me on the spot again
so let me see if I can address this so you and others get a better understanding of a proper thumb hole size and how to determine.
The way you can hold onto a bowling ball without squeezing is with:
1. A proper ball span
2. A properly fitted ball without too much reverse pitch in the thumb hole
3. Using tape in the thumb hole
Now, there is some squeezing involved with holding onto a bowling ball. If you try to have a totally dead hand type grip, then yes the ball will fall off. We could not hold anything with a dead limp hand. A common phrase used by instructors is thinking about holding a baby bird in your hand. You need a litle grip to hold onto the bird, but not a death grip, nor a dead hand grip. It is a very light grip. </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="VERDANA,ARIAL,HELVETICA,TAHOMA">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="VERDANA,ARIAL,HELVETICA,TAHOMA">
i also read that the thumb should be straight, and even to have the nail pressing up against the surface in the hole. well, again, i don't understand how you could possibly pick up the ball like that! how do you know if the thumb hole is too big?
</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="VERDANA,ARIAL,HELVETICA,TAHOMA">Yes, the thumb should be straight and not "knuckled" (knuckled is when the thumb is bent slightly which causes the back of the thumb to drag in the thumb hole). I have heard of the "nail pressing" against the back of the thumb hole, but with some bowlers it will sometimes cause a bowler to create tension in their thumb trying to push it backwards. I like to tell people to put their thumb straight in the thumb hole and the grip pressure of the thumb should be between the bottom of the thumb (where thumb connects to your hand) and the first knuckle, on the pad side of the thumb.
Now, we have to determine how big or small the thumb hole should be, and this is done by using bowlers tape - white and black tape. Let me first start out by saying that there are no rules for which color of tape is used on a certain side of the hole. "Generally" white is used on the pad side and black is used on the knuckle side. But I have seen some people use white all the way around and some use black all the way around. For starters, I have people begin with white on the pad side and black on the knuckle side, but I emphasise to them to try different ways of taping later on to find what is the best way for them.
But I have to state a couple of quick points about using tape. One, make sure the first piece of tape applied is BELOW the bevel of the thumb hole, and Two, each next piece of tape is applied OVER the previous piece of tape, but staggered down about 1/16" below the previous piece. The tape below the bevel will allevitate any possibilies of causing hangups, and the staggered tape allows a bowler to remove a piece of tape without disturbing the previous or lower piece...now back to our discussion....
Next we have to be aware of our hand positions in the ball during our pushaway, backswing, and forward swing. As Rich stated, when the ball is falling from the downswing, the weight of the bowling ball and the effects of inertia will keep the ball on our hand. But what about when the ball reaches the bottom of the swing during the pushaway and when the ball reaches top of our backswing? These are two points when most bowlers will grip the ball. But if the thumb hole is the proper size, gripping will be at a minimum or like I stated earlier like holding a baby bird.
If our thumb hole is too big, right after the pushaway and as our ball passes our side and starts to go into the backswing, the ball will fall off our hand and go backwards towards the settee area causing your fellow bowlers to scatter quickly
Here is a good thought for people is to see if they can drop the ball in the backswing as I just covered. If you can then your thumb hole is too big. Now lets move on. When the ball reaches the top of the backswing, our hand is "usually" right on top of the ball. We can duplicate this position with our bowling ball by having the ball in front of us, with the holes up. Place your hand in the ball and while keeping a straight wrist
, hold the ball in the air and see if the ball wants to fall off your hand. If the ball is drilled properly and you have a proper sized thumb hole, the ball will not fall off your hand unless you either go completely dead handed, and even then it is tough to drop it, or if you forcefully try to drop the ball by shaking your hand while pushing down - I hope you can get this picture.
Now we have done the hand on top of the ball test, and we have done the backswing test to see if the ball falls off our hand. If it does, add a piece of tape until it feels snug, but not too snug, and does not fall off.
Now some people will have a sense that if the ball will not fall off our hand during these two tests, that is will not come off our hand at release. REMEMBER AN IMPORTANT POINT - the ball RELEASES FROM OUR HAND, WE DO NOT RELEASE THE BALL
Now on to our last test for thumb hole size. With your hand in the ball, hold the ball in front of you using both hands. Have your bowling hand under the ball and fingers at 10 and thumb at 4 for right handers and fingers at 2 and thumb at 8 for left handers. NOTE!! that this is different from our USUAL release postion, but since we are hold the ball in front of us with our hand under the ball, this is why the position change (remember this is for our thumb size test and not on how to release the ball). Again keeping a straight wrist
, try to "flick" the ball off your thumb into your other hand while keeping a relaxed thumb and straight thumb. This will test out if the ball comes off the thumb properly when we are at the bottom of the swing as we are trying to duplicate the hand position at release. Again I hope you can visualize what I am saying here as it is much easier to describe in person.
Let me quickly review. A proper thumb hole size will enable us to have a light grip on the ball like holding a baby bird. During the backswing we should be relaxed enough to almost think of trying to drop the ball, but the ball will not fall off our hand. At the top of the backswing when our hand is on top of the ball, the ball will stay on our hand by the proper drilling and proper taping - no gripping needed at this point. As we start the downswing, as Rich stated, gravity and inertial will keep the ball on our hand, until the ball reaches the bottom of our swing, and the weight and forward momentum of the ball is responsible for pulling the ball off our thumb at the proper time, we do not release the ball the ball comes off
, and the fingers impart rotation. If the ball is coming off our hand too early at the bottom of our swing, add a piece of tape. If it is hanging up and YOU ARE NOT SQUEEZING THE BALL, remove a piece of tape.
Whew....Now that was a mouthfull and hopefully this has helped in determining a proper thumb hole size. Without the use of bowlers tape, unless you are someone whose thumb size never changes (and I have not found many) you will end up gripping the ball which affects accuracy, speed, and revs.
In another post on the site we talked about people missing their target to the left. This is a very common cause of a large thumb hole and it is one of the points a bowler should recognize for when to add tape.