29 Comments on “Does Your Bowling Ball Fit Properly? Pro Tips to Help You Bowl Your Best!”

  1. Good one! Doing a fit test is the first thing I do as a coach (I went through Jayhawk so I could do that competently). One more point…if it’s been a long time since you were fitted, and there have been changes like weight gain or arthritis, and the ball isn’t coming off your hand clean, you need to get rechecked.

  2. Like Al, I’ve been to Jayhawk, and one thing we can ask bowlers to look at is callouses. That can give coaches and PSOs a headstart on looking at pitches.
    Another great video InsideBowling!

  3. All good advice, but there is still a paucity of information about how the thumb should really feel in the hole. How tight is too tight? How loose is too loose? Should the thumb apply a little bit of pressure? If no pressure, how does it stay on your hand in the back swing? Should the ball really “hang on to you rather than you hang on to the ball”? Does the ball come off your thumb strictly by gravity at the bottom of the swing or does it pull itself off by forward swing momentum? Thanks.

    1. You’ve hit the nail on the head. There is no “right” answer. The key is “feel”. It’s up to the individual. Here’s what I’ve discovered for myself. At the bottom of the push, the ball can try to “fall off”. At the top of the backswing, same. What I try to do is snug up the thumb so I don’t have to apply any extra pressure. If I can get the fit to that point, my release takes care of itself. Otherwise, there is a tendency to squeeze a bit at those two points. I want to avoid squeezing the ball at all, keeping my grip relaxed throughout what then becomes a more relaxed swing. Also, it may require adjusting the thumb pitches to maintain that “feel”.
      Hope that helps.

    2. Great question!

      The ball mostly stays on the hand by the span of the hand with minor assistance of hole size and pitch.

      During the swing the force of gravity along with the rotation of the arm generate inertia of motion to enable the ball to adhere to the hand.

  4. How tight should It be on the sides, I’ve always had a problem of it being too snug and I end up having to dig in my thumb to loosen it up

    1. Your thumb hole should be shaped to your thumb with bevel or cuts with the drill. You should not be able to twist your entire thumb around the hole. If you can, it’s too big somewhere. The exception to this would be if you had a really round thumb which is uncommon.

  5. Waiting for that axiom to be available at my local proshop so I can finally get a ball drilled to my liking, 2 hand bowler here. I currently use my brothers balls, they are like 7 years old now lol.

    1. Some people use 3/8 to 3/4 depending on span. Every hand is unique and your pro shop operator will make sure you have a great fit!

    2. @InsideBowling 4 7/8 ” span with 3/4 right and 3/4 reverse in the thumb…. and I think I may need more right. Tough finding someone that knows what to do with a thumb like mine. They all want to put me back to 0 or 1/8 right. Been out bowling a bad fit my whole life.

  6. This is a tough one for me. I just got a new Black Widow yesterday and the thumb was snug. After a few throws the top inner skin on the knuckle became sore and the thumb swelled to the point it would stick on release. I had it opened up a bit more, which lasted all of 3 frames when my thumb started to stick some more. I had it opened up more where it slipped in and out easily, but no where near as loose as my other ball. Today the thumb is a bit looser, but sure as rain it will snug up after a few frames, so hoping I got it right. I do have a thumb glove to take up some slack if needed, but if I can avoid any helper items, the better. I have a callous on the side of my thumb from the other ball, but the new ball is rubbing just above it. Going to have new callouses from this ball.

  7. Another BIG question that needs to be addressed is – does the bowler use a finger-tip grip? I’ve bowled for fifty years, but never had my own ball until tonight. I literally just walked in the door with it. After the guy finished drilling it, he said he cut it for finger-tip grip, although he didn’t ask me before he did it. I don’t use that kind of grip. It doesn’t feel comfortable but I will try it out to see how it does. But I have a feeling I’ll be getting him to re-drill it for me.

  8. Awesome tip, I discovered my span is too long, hence I hang up coming out of my thumb….reducing rev rate and consistency. Thanks for the great tip.

    1. The span will be longest for a finger tip grip and shortest for conventional. Since all of our hands are different, be sure to visit a qualified pro shop to get the best fit for you. Thanks for the question and good luck!!

  9. No and never will fit because I don’t use my birdie finger I use my ring finger and pinky finger so can I get an answer on this I think my pinky hole needs to be an inch down below my ring finger and they never do

  10. A negative finger pitch is a disturbing new trend. I can see that working for a 2 hander. Zero pitch would be better for a 1 hander in the fingers

  11. The ergonomic objective of bowling ball fit is too find the right balance between ball control and operational ball release.

    Hole size and span friction enable control, but also must facilitate timed release.

    Pitch I believe is more nuanced and largely overlooked. There is a tendency for the pitch bias too much for control rather than rev release performance.

    High track – low axis tilt bowlers are ring finger dominate.

    Low track – high axis tilt bowlers are middle finger dominate.

    Adjusting the pitch forward or reverse can produce positive results in performance.

    FYI. Moving the pitch forward reduces the span. Adjusting the pitch reverse – like opening up and extending the hand increases the span.

    Pitch/Span ratio is critical.

    Bowling ball fit is everything about getting the right vectors for functional control and maximizing optimal thumb release and fingers generating high revolutions.

    It is advanced knowledge and skill few PSO are capable to provide.

  12. Excellent tips on fit. Each time I get fitted for a ball I keep in mind that I’m going to add tape to the thumb hole. I seldom add slick tape to the back of the hole, but I will add 3 or 4 narrow pieces of tape there for my thumbnail to sit on. I also add tiered white tape on the pad side to fill in the gap between my thumb tip and the front of the hole. Most times I’ll ask for a good bit of bevel on the top front of the thumb hole, too. If I get it right, my thumb is relaxed in the hole and it’s free to slide out at the right point of my swing. If not, a little adjustment may be needed…

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