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#174203 - 12/20/12 12:11 PM Proper Thumb Fit
johngordon73 Offline
Bumper Bowler

Registered: 12/20/12
Posts: 1
A/S/L: 49/Male/Northeast
I've been for over many years and am looking for some good suggestions regarding how to change an unusual grip that I've stubbornly been clinging to for as long as I've been a bowler.

Somehow, I taught myself to insert my thumb only as far as the knuckle, not all the way into the hole. Why? Good question. The best answer I can give is that it's what I've always done and I've had decent success that way (average around 210). But throughout my bowling years, I've had control issues that I'm convinced are mostly due to my incorrect thumb position. I'll lose a shot at the point of release a few times each league night.

It's getting increasingly frustrating as time goes on and I'd like to bowl with my thumb inserted properly. When I attempt a shot with my thumb all the way in, it almost always sticks at the point of release, and the ball either goes extremely right (I'm a righty) or the ball goes slightly airborn because I'm not getting out of it.

So, I'm wondering how much of a challenge it will be to "unlearn" this habit and bowl successfully with my thumb inserted all the way. My mindset has always been that if my thumb is in all the way, I won't get out of the ball at release point. So, I'm sure that's part of the problem.

I just bought a new ball, and am having issues with getting the proper thumb fit. I've used it twice, with thumb in only to the knuckle, and am having the same old control issues.

I tend to squeeze or grab with my thumb as well, giving me eratic results at times. My thought is that if I bowled with the thumb in properly, I wouldn't feel the need to do so.

I guess I need to know exactly how the thumb fit should feel when inserted properly. How snug should it be? Right now, when I try to insert my thumb, it won't go all the way in. It's really tight. I've had it bevelled out slightly a couple of times, but it still seems too tight. But I'm concerned about opening it up too much and having it become sloppy. How easily should the thumb slide in for the proper fit?

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#174204 - 12/20/12 03:06 PM Re: Proper Thumb Fit [Re: johngordon73]
FruitFly Offline
Action Bowler

Registered: 03/23/11
Posts: 262
A/S/L: 29/M/Kiel, Germany
Well, finding a proper fit is a long (LONG!) journey for some of us. I just recently realized, that my problem was less of a fit problem and more of a drastic change in "skin moistness".

Now that I found a solution to this problem the best thumb fit I ever enountered feels like this:
The thumb is in touch with the hole all around. This means an oval hole for many of us. It is not too snug though. I don't have to force my thumb in there.
I asked this question myself and it is not an easy one to answer.

If you are bowling in a league, try and ask the people if you may test their thumb holes. It's just something you have to experience yourself.

Also once you are trying to learn throwing with your thumb inserted completely you should give it time. Grabbing the ball like this is hard to get rid of, but really worth it.

Once the ball starts to let go of YOU instead of the other way around you'll get that much more control!

#174206 - 12/20/12 04:53 PM Re: Proper Thumb Fit [Re: johngordon73]
Calvin Pistorio Offline
State Champion Contender

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 6283
A/S/L: 32/m/maryland
The first thing is to get a correctly fitted grip. I wouldn't be surprised if your span is too long as many pro shops still don't know how to fit a bowler correctly. Even with a correctly sized thumbhole this can cause you to hang up because the thumb can't clear the hole cleanly. This is probably one of the reasons you began to go only as deep as the knuckle with the thumb.

With one of your current balls, but just your thumb in the hole and just let the fingers lay across the finger holes. Don't stretch the hand but don't keep it too relaxed. Where does the first edge of the whole or inner edge of the insert line up on your finger? If possible post a picture or video of you doing so. Ideally the midway point between the first and second knuckle should be there, but doing this test wrong gives inaccurate results. If that edge is closer to the first knuckle (the one nearest the finger tip) then the span is too long.

After that you want to be able to get the thumb in all the way to the base. The hole might have to be larger and bowlers tape used to snug it properly.
Calvin's Highs


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