First video, please critique!

Posted by: SCDraven

First video, please critique! - 12/18/10 03:40 AM



I will try to get better video later, I was kind of rushed(as you can see I fouled a little lol) and had people on both sides while my fiancee was filming.
Hopefully it's good enough to critique me a little though.
Thanks in advance!
Posted by: CoachJim

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/18/10 07:12 AM

You are a step late with your swing, meaning the ball is not behind you on the second step, and you are still early at the line meaning you are still sliding and not stable when releasing the ball. How can this be? Simple, you are controlling the ball with your arm to the point where your swing is too slow.

This starts with the grip being such that you have to squeeze the life out of the ball to prevent it from falling off your hand. Squeezing the ball like this tightens the muscles in your arm all the way to your shoulder and prevents the arm from swinging freely.

Many times pro shops drill the ball so a beginning bowler can squeeze the life out of the ball and still get out of it, but all this does is force the bowler to squeeze the ball, it doesn't teach them to bowl properly without squeezing to hang onto the ball, in fact it leaves them no other option but to squeeze. You will have to start at your pro shop and have your grip checked and fixed to where you don't have to squeeze the ball to have it stay on your hand, then it will release off your hand without you having to let it go, this will allow you to just let gravity swing the ball without you having to control it, and bowl like a stiff robot.

Best of luck it is a long journey, and it starts with one step...in the door of your pro shop that is.
Posted by: SCDraven

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/18/10 07:23 AM

Thanks alot Coach, I appreciate it.
I'm getting a new ball for Christmas, do you have any recommendations for me?
Also, how tight is a thumbhole supposed to be? I went from 1/8 reverse to 0 pitch to try to squeeze less and really feel like I'm not but I believe you, I'm hanging up in the ball sometimes now with the 0 pitch even though it really feels like I'm not squeezing. When I had them put this new thumbhole in they also made it alot tighter than I'm used to but I wonder if it's still not tight enough or needs tape, I feel like I would hang up for sure with tape but maybe I need to work on getting use to it.
Posted by: CoachJim

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/18/10 07:44 AM

Keep your thumb straight and put it in the hole, does it rub or grip in any way, or does it slide in and out freely? If it slides in and out freely, then the only thing that would cause you to hang up is you bending the thumb in the hole.

One way to develop feel for this is to learn to feel where on your thumb the ball is hanging up. If the ball is hanging/rubbing on the back of your thumb then you are bending the thumb in the hole. If it is rubbing on the sides of the thumb, then you need to have the hole opened a little, but it will also do this when you hold your thumb straight when sliding it in and out of the ball.

One other thing to look at is put your fingers in the ball and watch your thumb as it enters the hole, does it bend, or is it straight? Most people with squeezing issues are bending their thumb before they even put it in the hole, try it and see if this isn't you, if it is, keep putting your hand in the ball until you don't bend your thumb and are able to keep it straight. When you get to this point try a practice swing and see if you don't immediately grab the ball as it drops into the swing, if so you should add tape to the front pad of your thumb hole so your thumb doesn't slip. If it still slips put tape in the back of your thumb hole until it is tight enough, if it still slips then try going to 1/4" forward with your thumb and shorten your span accordingly.
Posted by: SCDraven

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/18/10 08:03 AM

Wow Coach,
I just realized I can't even put my thumb in the ball without bending it, although the Pro Shop here told me this was normal. When I straighten my thumb out and try to place it in the ball my nail hits the thumb hole and thumb bends on it's own. Should I take a picture?
I can almost straighten my thumb out when I get it in the hole by pressing against the back of the thumb hole but then the ball falls right off. This is with both of my balls, one with a long span and one with a proper shorter span.
Is the thumb supposed to stay against the back of the hole throughout the whole swing and release? I wonder if my span is still too long.
I'm afraid I have a lot of learning to do and I was averaging around 200 like this already, I can't wait to get this squared away.
Posted by: SCDraven

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/19/10 05:51 AM

Okay I think I finally got it sorted out. I had a new Taboo drilled and had a diff. pro shop go shorter on the span and we put a thumb hole with a "thumb straight" insert in, with release tape and 3 pieces of white tape my thumb fits perfect, not too snug but when I cup my wrist it puts just the right amount of pressure, I think. With 0 pitch my thumb still comes out of this ball really quick and I get a good amount of rev's with it. Does it sound like I'm on the right track at least? I need to figure one more thing out though, when I totally relax my arm it also relaxes my wrist and it breaks back and I try to recup it at the bottom but I think I'm doing it wrong, but if I keep it cupped and cocked throughout the swing I think I'm too mechanical and tense like you said even though I don't feel it!
Posted by: Dennis Michael

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/19/10 06:39 AM

You are mechanical because you are swinging with your arm tense and not letting it swing from your shoulder.

You say this is a new drilling? Yet you use release tape and 3 pieces of white thumb tape to fit? Seems a bit too large to begin with. A loose thumb will cause you to grab and tense your arm.
Posted by: SCDraven

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/19/10 08:16 AM

Well we tried one size smaller with no tape and I hang up in it when I try to do my release.. Maybe I just need to get a tight fit and go back to the basics and quit trying to hook the ball until I get a good swing again? If I let my wrist break and all I can swing it without squeezing and open my hand and let it come off(with the tight fit) but then I get nothin' on the ball so I went with this because I atleast get way better ball reaction.
What do you guys think? Tight fit and throw it with nothing on it til I re-learn everything or this fit which I'm not squeezing(I hope) but is still a little loose with more cup and rev's?
Thanks again.
Posted by: Calvin Pistorio

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/19/10 08:19 AM

You need to learn how to keep the wrist firm yet let the arm swing. You don't need to cup the ball a lot or cock it a lot. It doesn't need to be done through the whole swing either, but you have to develop the timing to be able to get the wrist in position before the release point. That's why many bowlers just try to keep the position through the whole swing.
Posted by: CoachJim

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/19/10 08:43 AM

SC, it sounds like you are on the right track, however it will still take several more re drills of the thumb to get it right, you have to figure out the feel of not squeezing and when you squeeze first, and that doesn't happen over night, at least for most people. I suspect you will not find what you are looking for until you get to 3/8" forward or more with the thumb pitch, just from what you have described with the tight thumb hanging up (because you are still squeezing it). The thumb straight is a great tool for learning when you squeeze, as soon as you do, you will feel your thumb knuckle press the back of the thumb hole and you will hang up. Next step is to put enough tape in the hole to where if you bend your thumb, you will throw it through the ceiling, this will shut off the guy in your head telling you to squeeze the ball. If you still feel the ball slip from your hand, you will need to go at least 1/4" forward with the thumb, and try again. Don't forget that for every 3/8" forward you go, you will need to shorten your span 1/8". You might also need to go to reverse pitch in the finger holes to prevent the ball from heading up in the air off your release.

You will have to divert your attention from scoring to learning to feel when you are squeezing the thumb in practice, scores don't count anyway, if you are getting pressured to score in practice then practice by yourself until you learn this. If you are still pressured to score in practice by yourself, then shut the scoreboard off.
Posted by: SCDraven

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/19/10 02:29 PM

Okay so tape it up until it feels like I'm going to hang, relax completely, and try to throw it that way without putting anything on it until I can get that down, will do! I have a pretty consistent practice routine and don't worry about my scores, I work on one particular thing in my game for a while then move to the next.
The driller has all of my other equipment and is going to re-drill it on Monday/Tuesday so I really need to find out what I want in the rest of my equipment.
I don't think I'll need to go forward more with the pitch but about 2 more pieces of tape will make it hang on good(this is with a warmed up thumb, mine shrinks alot after I leave it in the ball for a minute). I have a pretty beat up thumb so he has me trying an oval hole in one ball and the thumb straight with a round one in the new Taboo. I did like the oval hole, but I hang a little at the top of that one.
Do you think I should move the pitch 3/8 forward anyway and go with this thumb straight with a round hole, or the oval, in my other balls?
Posted by: Dennis Michael

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/19/10 02:49 PM

Ha, round thumb, vs oval. Another piece of the puzzle.

Did your driller fit your thumb in a round hole based on the width of your thumb? If so, the result would be tape in front and back. So, drill the hole the thickness of your thumb from pad to nail. Then, widen the sides for your knuckle. And, remember, an oval hole is not perpendicular to your grip center line. Your thumb is more like 45 degrees.

Hold your hand like you were holding your ball, palm up. Look at your thumb. It is not facing pad to fingers. But, it is angled so it closed more towards your little finger. Everyones thumb is different, so watch out for this.
Posted by: Calvin Pistorio

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/19/10 02:57 PM

Dennis, some people actually have thumbs that are round. I am one of those bowlers. Sure at the nail, it looks flat, but it's not that much wider than side to side and from the knuckle up mine is closer to round than oval.
Posted by: SCDraven

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/19/10 08:57 PM

My thumb is smashed looking, I have a really large bulge on the sides of my thumb and regular size from the nail down. I think oval would fit me a lot better but I come out of the round so much easier and there's no play in the bottom of the hole with the thumb straight. Am I better off doing an oval hole of the correct size with a thumb straight and just getting used to it? I feel like I will hang every time but with some work I'm sure I can get used to it.
Also I should of mentioned, he measures my thumb by putting these round black insert things on and twisting around to see which one fits best, and the oval insert he just grabbed a couple and stuck my thumb in them. Is this the standard way to do it or is there a better way?
Posted by: CoachJim

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/20/10 03:38 AM

You need to have the thumb hole shaped to fit your thumb, that can be round with tape to make up the gaps in the front and back like myself and many others, or it can be with an oval shaped hole, there is no wrong answer here, just do what feels best to you, and if you aren't sure, then try both and trust your ball driller's advice and see what happens from there and let me know and I can guide you a little, but it will be hard if I can't see your thumb or how you are holding the ball, and how it is fitting.
Posted by: SCDraven

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/20/10 06:01 AM








Thanks so much for your time Coach, do these pics help at all? As you can see its almost impossible to put my thumb in straight but i can straighten it the best I can in the hole. I think I may go with the oval instead of this and have the top opened just a touch or something, the oval doesn't require anything but release tape and it feels like it fits my thumb really well it just doesn't come off fast enough/hangs up a tiny bit, could it be suction in the hole even with the release tape?
Posted by: ijohn83

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/20/10 09:56 AM

Some food for thought:
I am in the middle of playing with a double bevel thumb hole. The base of my thumb is so much fatter than the width of it at the 1st knuckle (jammed in sports many times). I have been told that a thumb fully inserted goes to the crease of the thumb where it bends at the 2nd knuckle, near the palm. In order for that to be true for me, I need what is called a double bevel hole. I've had my regular oval thumb hold made - that consists of the drill like Dennis explained; hole drilled the thickness of your thumb from pad to nail then widened to the width of my 1st knuckle. After that a 1 1/4" drill opens the top of my oval to a round hole. Again, itís on top of the oval hole and 3/8" deep. That is the only way to get my thumb in all the way to the palm crease.

Work in progress,

~ John
Posted by: DocLogic77

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/20/10 06:23 PM

I'm a beginner so take anything I say with a grain of salt. But, I do know I have had serious problems with my thumb hanging up even with a proper drilling. It was because of me and not my drilling. I was trying to hook the ball and coming around the ball early causing an awkward release of the thumb. The coaches say you are muscling it. It is hard not to come around the ball early if you are muscling it through your downswing.
Posted by: SCDraven

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/20/10 08:19 PM

Both very valid points, thank you guys!
Coming around the ball too much & too early is something I could very well be doing, I didn't consider it could cause my thumb to hang, very interesting!
Posted by: DocLogic77

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/20/10 08:59 PM

It certainly did with mine. I just wonder outloud that if you have a ball with a proper drilling and still hang up...you very well could be coming around too early. I know with me it was a problem until my swing became gravity controlled.
Posted by: SCDraven

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/21/10 01:56 AM

I did some practice today and averaged 230 out of 6 games, I think I'm finally getting the hang of letting it swing from the shoulder and not grabbing it at all. I noticed sometimes I grabbed it once in a while at the top of the back swing but other then that I think I was much better today, and I didn't hang up at all.
Should I go with a smaller size on the next drilling though since this one needs about 4 pieces of tape + release tape? I think I'm going to stick with the round hole and the thumb straight though.
Posted by: CoachJim

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/21/10 09:04 AM

Four pieces of tape is fine, your thumb might swell, and then you can take some of those pieces out, I used to have as many as 7 pieces of tape in the winter and gradually take 3 pieces out, by summer though I didn't have any tape in the hole at all, since it is winter I would stay with the size you are at.

From the pictures it looks like your span might be a little long. Do your finger nails press against the back of the finger holes? If so you should shorten your span enough to where they don't. You want your fingers to bend naturally into the holes, and not put pressure from stretching to fit the ball.
Posted by: SCDraven

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/21/10 09:19 AM


The ring finger looks a tiny bit short but the middle finger looks spot on to me, do I need to go even shorter? I can feel the back of my fingers maybe barely touching, but I use pretty tight inserts too, and I can kind of put my fingers in the ball after my thumb but not all the way.
One thing I did notice from yesterday was a slight numbness in the tip of my ring finger that's still there, is this because it is too short by chance?
Thanks again Coach.
Posted by: CoachJim

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/21/10 03:44 PM

Take a picture of your fingers bent as tight as you can just the first and second knuckle, like you are making a fist except the fingers are straight off the palm not to the palm. Then look at your finger nails and see if the center of the nails are in line with each other, or one is pointing away from straight up and down, or both are pointed away from straight up and down.

You can post the picture so I can see. It might be your lateral finger pitch, many shops use standard <3/8" and 3/8> when you might need different angles because of how your fingers lay. That might explain the numbness. My span is shorter than yours in both fingers and I have never had a numbness issue. I have heard of people with numbness because the fingers weren't pitched properly, it might be worth checking.

One other thing if you are stretching your hand to get to the point where your fingers are in the picture then your span might be too long, but if like you said your finger nails aren't pressing the back of the holes then it is something else.
Posted by: SCDraven

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/22/10 03:10 AM

I was forced to hurry up and get the rest of my equipment drilled but I talked to my driller about it and he decided to go with a size larger on the finger inserts, they were really tight and he thinks that was causing the numbing, I'll keep you posted.
Now how do I go about getting my timing fixed? I was thinking starting the push away sooner would help, anything else I can try?
Posted by: CoachJim

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/22/10 08:53 AM

Keep your timing the way it is for now and work on letting the ball swing on it's own with no help at all from you, like a dead arm. Keep the weight of the ball in your left hand in the set up, and your right hand with your fingers in the holes, is just going along for the ride. Once you get the feeling of this, shoot a video of yourself doing this from the side and from behind, and post it back.
Posted by: SCDraven

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/22/10 09:01 AM

Will do Coach, thanks so much for everything.
One quick question, I'm going to hit the lanes later for my sport shot league, I was curious about the back swing.. Are we supposed to lift the ball up at all in the back swing if we are starting the ball waste level in the stance? I just can't see getting a decent back swing with no muscle and starting the ball so low, I've always been curious about this.
Posted by: CoachJim

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/23/10 09:47 AM

In order to have the arm swing higher, you need to have the ball drop into the swing, this builds up momentum and allows the arm to swing higher in the back swing. If you grab the ball in any way, it stops the momentum of the ball and you will have to pull the ball back to get it to the back swing the way you need it.

The way I do it, I hold the weight of the ball in my left hand and let the ball roll off onto my right hand, this turns my hand in the position I want it and prevents me from grabbing it. I can hold the ball higher or lower depending on what ball speed I want, and as long as I don't help the swing at all I get consistent speed.
Posted by: SCDraven

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/23/10 10:42 AM

I tried holding all the weight in the other hand last night and transferring it over during the push away the only problem I had was when transferring the weight I pushed the ball out to the right a little on accident a few times. This DID make the ball feel very weightless though and I know this will improve my game a ton, it really helped me not grab it at all.
Now I just need to get my timing right and figure out what to do at the release point correctly.
I will post another video asap, thanks Coach.
Posted by: CoachJim

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/23/10 10:48 AM

Don't worry about the release until you get the swing down, just focus on keeping your hand behind the ball and letting it just roll off your hand without doing anything to it. Doing anything can set you back in learning the free swing, you have to be able to separate muscle groups and work them individually. Many people can't bend their fingers without making a fist, or bend their wrist without bending their elbow, or bend their wrist without bending their thumb and grabbing, in the end you want to be able to put your wrist in position without grabbing or tightening your arm and killing the swing. You have to get the swing free first, then gradually add on to it.
Posted by: spillup24

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/23/10 11:43 AM

Not trying to highjack here but based on the backswing question and Coach Jim's answer....Their is now way that guys like Fagan, Weber, Mallott have free backswings. They obviously pull the ball back with muscle....I am sure the downswing is free but not the backswing. Agree?
Posted by: B-Hammer

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/23/10 11:54 AM

Originally Posted By: spillup24
Not trying to highjack here but based on the backswing question and Coach Jim's answer....Their is now way that guys like Fagan, Weber, Mallott have free backswings. They obviously pull the ball back with muscle....I am sure the downswing is free but not the backswing. Agree?


Here you go, this explains a lot of it: http://www.bowl4fun.com/ron/tip41_files/tip41.htm
Posted by: CoachJim

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/23/10 08:00 PM

The key is the grip fits to where the bowler doesn't have to squeeze the ball to hang onto it. This way the ball falls freely into the back swing after the push away, it builds momentum which propels the ball into the back swing and drives it higher. Opening the shoulder and bending forward at the right point in the approach (as described in Ron's Tip), increase the length of the swing, but if you squeeze the ball, or more to the point have to squeeze the ball to hang onto it, then it's all over, the ball will slow down or even stop as soon as you grip it.
Posted by: SCDraven

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/27/10 08:12 AM

Coach, no video yet unfortunately, I will try to get one tonight, but I have been working very hard on my swing and bowling *a lot* to get it right.
My speed has gone up 2 mph with little effort just by not gripping the ball, and I'm able to get my wrist in a strong position now without grabbing and sacrificing much speed because I've learned to cup without clenching, which I could never do before, I made sure I got the swing down before moving on to the wrist, like you said.
What's better? Cupping throughout the swing if it's more consistent, or should I focus on relaxed til the bottom and trying to time the cup/uncup?
Also it seems like my timing is getting closer to being better on it's own without me doing anything, not to sure without a video though.
I will update later, thanks again!
Posted by: CoachJim

Re: First video, please critique! - 12/28/10 09:07 AM

I suspected your timing would improve as your swing improved that's why I suggested you not work on timing first.

There is nothing wrong with either cupping from the start or getting into a cupped position after the ball falls from the top of the back swing like many of the pros do. There is advantages in both. The advantage of staying cupped is you will get a heavier roll on the ball that will assist you in playing heavy and long oil patterns, and when playing deep inside.

The advantage of cupping in the down swing is it increases speed and revs without forcing the swing as long as you let the ball fall from the top of the back swing before initiating the wrist cupping. This technique is good for just about every other type of lane condition except long and heavy. So if you can learn to do both you will be hard to beat.