We had a lock-in for our junior bowlers (I just got home from it). I had some ball work to do, so I figured I'd mess with one of my RH balls that I wouldn't mind tinkering with to start changing my RH thumb pitch. It was originally drilled 5/16 reverse (zero lateral), and was probably 7/16 reverse with the tape layering I did with it. I slugged it and went with 1/8 forward and I also shortened my span a smidge (1/16"). I used ExBronxiteBowler's ovaling suggestion he sent to me (it worked like a champ this time, EBB...thanks) so I didn't have to grind out the thumb oval with a bevel sander. When I finished the thumb, I didn't bevel it a whole lot, either; just enough to contour the edge and smoothed it with the bevel sander. I did have to put in about 7 pieces of tape because my thumb has shrunk from not bowling RH for 2 months, but I didn't taper-layer it like I used to, so it still maintained the 1/8 forward pitch.
Now, the lanes this morning were D-R-Y. I'm talking 1970's-80's less than 3 units so bone-freakin' dry a Manhattan Rubber would move 15 boards dry (good enough imagery?). The ball I tinkered with was my Command Zone that works well on drier/torched track conditions. I rolled about 2 games with it and it felt good. No pain in my shoulder and even better, I didn't have to squeeze the ball, which allowed me to loosen my grip, which loosened my wrist, which loosened my armswing. I couldn't try to fan the ball or rip through it because of the conditions, so I'll have to find a different time for that.
Now, normally if I was increasing speed and decreasing revs at the same time like I had to do this morning, I'd have to squeeze the hell out of the ball to do so. Uh uh, not this morning. I was able to hang onto the ball with my thumb stuck at the back of the thumbhole. The only pain I had was the back of my thumb under the thumbnail. It's a little black and blue under the nail right now, but better that than a kink in my shoulder. I probably need to bevel the front lip just a little so my thumb can clear the front lip a little better and that should go away. Otherwise, I'm pleasantly surprised and extremely happy.
I'll keep my pitch at 1/8 forward for the time being. If there comes a point when I feel I'm starting to squeeze again, I'll bring it forward another 1/8. What really stuck out at me, though, was when I was taking that ball to work on it and it just felt wrong even carrying it. I had to squeeze just to tote it. Now, I don't have to squeeze and there's enough play but enough "snugness" to be comfortable to me. Now I just need to order some slugs and finger inserts.
I'm thinking I'm going to scrap my bowling LH experiment because now I found something that, hopefully, will keep me pain free, and will benefit me for quite some time without sacrificing my power and accuracy. Again, thanks CoachJim for being adamant about forward pitch in the thumb. I'm now advocating that to anyone who asks me to drill a ball for them and to my junior bowlers, and if any of you reading this post had your doubts initially, I hope you at least consider it now from what I've written.
Word of mouth is a powerful advertiser.
"There are no magical balls, just magical bowlers"