How to Hold the Ball for a Good Start and Maybe Prevent Tendonitis
There is no ONE way that everyone should bowl. There have been several books written on how to bowl, but it only takes one trip to a PBA tour stop to see that an awful lot of these guys forgot to read the book. There are a lot of successful bowlers that use forced arm swings, hit up on the ball, have what appears to be bad timing. They don't slide, they drift all over the approach. I could go on and on. When an already successful bowler comes to me for help and he does all of these so called bad things, I don't just start taking him apart and try to make him into something he is not. I first give him a few test to see what he is good at and where his weak points are. Then we first attack his weak points. This tip on how to hold the ball will mostly benefit bowlers that are attempting to bowl with a free arm swing. It will however help any bowler that holds the ball around waist high to help prevent tendonitis. I believe that most cases of tendonitis in the forearm and near the elbow comes from the way the ball is held in the stance. Holding all the weight of the ball in the bowling hand is a good way to get tendonitis started. I suggest holding as much weight as you can in the non bowling hand. If you are strong enough to hold all the weight in your non bowling hand that is best of all. This allows you to totally relax your bowling hand, forearm and bicep muscles. If you are attempting a free arm swing this will be a big help. Your bowling arm should not even know it is bowling until your ball reaches the bottom of the front down swing. Through pictures I will suggest a good way to hold the weight of the ball in your non bowling hand but if you work at it you may find a better way that suits you best.
Try doing it this way. Balance the weight of the ball in your bowling hand. Take your non bowling hand and make it into a V like the picture in Fig 1. Then move your V under the ball and let the ball's weight roll over and fall into your the V of your non bowling hand like in Fig 2. IF you are strong enough hold all the ball's weight in your V. Even if you are not strong enough at first, if you keep working at it you may be able to transfer all the weight in time.
Now that all the weight is in your non bowling hand go through this check list before you take off. Relax your grip in the ball. Hold the ball like you had a baby bird in your hand. Make extra sure you relax your thumb. If you need a few more revs you can try squeezing slightly with just your fingers. If you can't swing the ball with a relaxed thumb then you need to work on your thumb hole. Maybe you need to add tape or Ron C's Magic Carpet. Next relax the muscles in your forearm and your bicep. Relax your whole bowling arm. If you are able to hold 100% of the weight of the ball in your non bowling hand and your bowling arm and hand are totally relaxed then your bowling arm does not even know it is bowling at this point. When your check list is complete you are ready to take off. Do your push away with the thumb of your non bowling hand (fig 1 & 2) . Your bowling hand is just a guide to the direction you wish to push the ball. Once you have pushed the ball the desired distance and direction with your non bowling thumb you deliver 100% of the weight to your bowling hand and it should not resist the weight at all. The ball should fall as fast as gravity will take it. Your bowling hand should hardly feel the ball till it reaches the bottom of the swing.
If you would like to keep your bowling hand more under the ball you can do it like the picture below. These suggestions are not the only way to get the weight off your bowling hand but I know these work. I will be the first to admit it feels really strange at first. But what major change doesn't at first. I usually can see a major difference in a students swing the first time they do it. Even at the professional level.
This article is reprinted with permission from Bowl4Fun.com
. Ron Clifton is well known around the country for his unique training techniques and original thinking. He coaches some of the top Professional bowlers in the southern region. Ron is also the inventor of Ron C's Magic Carpet. This is a new type of thumb insert that is helping bowlers across the country win tournaments and set records. He is also a Co-proprietor of Creekside Lanes in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Visit Bowl4Fun.com to learn more about Ron and Creekside Lanes. He can be contacted directly at email@example.com