Bowling tips: Art of controlling ball motion and increasing rev rate

Adjusting axis rotation is one of the most important techniques and widely used in the sports of bowling of all levels. It can be the key to success of many PBA pro bowlers who we can learn from observing the TV Finals. Here are the break down of this crucial skills.

Controlling rotation angle with hand follow thru position

A world-class release has the palm forward. This is a function of the body position and swing path. Ideally, the index finger and its pad should be directly forward toward the pins. This places the ring and middle fingers to the inside of the ball.

The release initiates when the hand or palm starts to rotate while the fingers and thumb are still in the ball. Soon after the rotation has begun, the thumb exits and the palm/hand continues to rotate counter-clockwise. After the thumb exits, the palm continues to turn to the end point where the fingers exit the holes.

Sean Hands bowling relasea follow thru

The more rotation angle, the more skid the ball will attain, plus sharper and stronger back-end and vise versa.

For example: On a house condition, with a built-in larger margin of error, you often want to create a sharper angle on the backend. On the other hand, when the lanes are challenging, you want a smoother backend motion.

This chart will show you how to easily manipulate rotation angle just by focusing on hand/palm position during follow thru.

Bowling Hand position rotation 2

Bowling Hand position rotation 1

#3: Controlling ball motion with “finger dancing”

a. “Base” finger position: medium spread on index finger with closer pinky finger

b. More rotation angle, more skid, sharper hook: spread the index finger wider a bit

c. Less hook, less sharp reaction: spread index and pinky finger wide

d. Even hook, least angle, commonly used with down and in shot: close both index and pinky finger

You can use the above 4 ways of controlling ball motion skill separately or combine or mix them together to create your own skill, for example:

#4: Observe to make changes:

To be great at the sport of bowling, you need to observe your ball motion closely. Watch your ball entering into the pocket as well as where it leaves the pin deck. 

If the ball is flat into the pocket and deflecting too much, you are likely to leave corner pins. If the ball is too strong on the back, you can leave 8s or 9s. If it is too flat, then you need to increase the backend. Conversely, if the ball is too strong, then smooth-out the backend motion. 

If you are Right Handed, is the ball deflecting to the 9 or between the 9 and 10? If so, increase the backend strength. If the ball is going over to the 9-pin side, then smooth it out. 

If you are Left Handed, is the ball deflecting to the 8-pin or over between the 7 & 8?  If so, increase the backend strength. If the ball is going over to the 9-pin, then smooth out and weaken the backend reaction.

#4: The basis of how the rev rate is increased :

The basic rule of increasing rev rate is to increase the distance of the fingers rotating from the inside of the ball to the outside at maximum speed.

So you’ll need wrist and elbow flexion to put the ring finger at least from 6 o’clock to 7 o’clock position (or 6 to 5 o’clock position with lefty) to start the rotation with maximum speed.

The only way to do it is to make your whole arm become… a whip at its sonic boomms!


# How to do that?

1. Imagination & relaxed arm swing:

Imagination has no boundaries…no limits. The key is to relax your arm and imagine it has hundreds of joints just like a whip.


2. Ball fitting:

Make your thumb hole tier with white tapes at the palm of your thumb and black tape at the back of it.

You can also wear a piece of tape at the back of your thumb to make the thumb hole fitter. 

Loose thumb hole makes the ball drop out of your hand sooner, making it hard to coil the ball to the inside for optimal ring finger position needed for higher rev rate.  

Remember: If you can work your ring finger deep inside the ball but the speed of uncoiling the ball is not fast enough, you wouldn’t have expected high rev rate.

5. Do you need to chase for more rev rate?

As you increase revolutions you will also increase the backend reaction as well as skid and push. 

Great bowling is about being able to change to better match-up with the lane condition. It is not always about longer and stronger. Sometimes, earlier and weaker will yield the big numbers. 

High rev-rate is fascinating and a big advantage but not the “must have” condition for success in the sports of bowling. However, success comes with all styles and kinds of RPMs. What you need is:

  1. Matching your rev rate with your ball speed, style & physical condition.
  2. Enhancing your very own skill and playing your “A” Game.
  3. Adapting and adjusting when the lane calls for it.
  4. Investing your practicing on accuracy.

At the end of the day, bowling is still the game of accuracy no matter how you debate.    

One thought on “Bowling tips: Art of controlling ball motion and increasing rev rate”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.