Hi guys, thank you for supporting my bowling lessons for 2 handed bowling over the past period. I’ve received quite many comments and messages asking about the concept of releasing the ball. I also try to ask myself how I can explain this concept to a newbie bowler, to help them quickly understand and execute the release. If you want to have a powerful yet effortless and consistent 2 handed release, this article is for you.
I will deep dive into the human body anatomy to prove a simple and effective way of releasing the ball. It might be a long article but worth your time. So you can bookmark this article and watch it later if you think it’s useful.
Releasing the bowling ball with hook style means throwing the ball out to the lane while giving it an amount of finger rotation.
So what is throwing the ball? It means we seed an amount of speed to it by swinging and moving our body from the standing point to the foul line.
And what is finger rotation? It means moving the ring and middle finger from the inside and under the ball to the outside.
An optimized release is when the throwing and finger rotation happen simultaneously.
Basically, in 2 handed bowling, when bowlers reach the foul line and the bowling arm is about to reach the ankle, the fingers will finish their movement by automatically closing to the side of the ball.
This is the natural movement of the arm and hands.
In other words, it happens without your intention. To understand this concept, you need to understand the anatomy of the whole arm from the shoulder joint to the fingers. We’ll start to examine the biomechanics of the arm.
According to research about the General coordination of shoulder, elbow, and wrist dynamics during multijoint arm movements:
For most movements, shoulder muscle torque primarily determined net torque and joint acceleration, while interaction torque was minimal. This “shoulder-centered pattern” occurred whether subjects reached targets using straight or curved finger paths.
This research shows that the shoulder muscles and joints play a major role in determining the arm movements. That’s why we should examine the movements of the shoulder or the humerus bone within the shoulder joints.
Firstly, this is the relaxed condition of the arm. You can see that the palms of the hands are close to the inside of the body. Even when you try to supinate the hand, it will automatically come back to the relaxed condition or pronation. This is how the arm is designed to work. This mechanism works exactly during the downswing and release without your awareness.
Let’s dig deeper into this mechanism. This pronation movement is caused by the inward rotation of the humerus at the shoulder joint. When holding and swinging the bowling ball, your bowling hand and arm are in a supination position. This means the arm is just waiting for its pronation during the downswing and release when you finish the shot.
The inward or medial rotation of the humerus is caused by the contraction of the subscapularis muscle, which lies deeply under the scapula bone. That’s why we hardly recognize the existence of this muscle. Once we recognize its existence and function, we can utilize it. Now this can be called the secret of the bowling release.
When the humerus rotates inward, your elbow will also rotate inward, hence your arm and fingers. This is a consequential movement starting from the inward rotation of the humerus.
So the conclusion is you don’t need to intentionally rotate the hand or the fingers at all. The natural and automatic rotation of the humerus did that. If you try to rotate the hand or fingers, you will over-rotate the ball most of the time.
So what we can learn from here is we just need to utilize the automatic pronation of the humerus to create the ball rotation and make it hook. We can forget everything about the hand or finger rotation. This sounds weird but true. The less you do, the more you get.
But how to trigger the pronation of the humerus? Very easy, you just need to tuck your elbow to the inside during the push-away and keep it there during your approach. This movement supinates the arm or exactly the humerus bone. Then the pronation process will automatically happen during the downswing without your intention.
I need to emphasize that you don’t need to supinate the wrist before tucking the elbow. Just hold the ball with 2 hands with the wrist in a pronation position. Then you tuck the elbow to the inside. That’s all. This supination of the wrist is useless in this situation, or it just makes your wrist more tense.
The arm will come back to its pronation placement just like a spring moving back to its stable position when pulled out. This spring back movement creates the rev rate with the least effort. You just need to approach the foul line and follow through.
What you see during the finish of the release or the arm swinging back and forth when the ball has gone off the hand is just the inertia of the humerus pronation. I don’t intentionally try to push the ball out to the lane. I recognize that If I try to do that, I just ruin my accuracy and even lose my release consistency.
The logic is you can hardly control how hard you push the ball out to the lane each time. The moderation of the push depends on your emotions. When you are so hyped, you push it hard, and vice versa. Depending on something inconsistent will not give you consistency. Meanwhile, the pronation of the humerus is quite the same most of the time.
I must confess that it’s really hard to resist the urge to push the ball out to the lane during the release. But you can practice minimizing it by focusing more on the approach, sliding, and keeping the elbow tucked during the approach. Trust me, you don’t need to push the ball much and still have a sufficient ball speed. The speed from your feet and the kinetic energy from the arm is more than enough.
It’s okay to add some push to the ball during the follow-through. But if you want to increase your consistency, I recommend you minimize the push, because it’s very easy to overuse. And why do we have to use more energy to make a shot and strike when using less energy can also create the same effect while maintaining consistency in the long run?
So the concept of the release is we seed the arm to a position where it accumulates kinetic energy. Then we let the body do the rest of the job and follow through with it.
What we need to control during the release is to moderate the pronation to match it with the ball’s rotation angle we want.
How? Very easy. I also mentioned this tip in another article about how to control the ball’s rotation angle.
The hand position during the follow-through dictates the ball rotation angle. The more open your hand is, the less ball rotation angle you have. So opening your hand more or less depends on you, easy right?
In some special cases, you want to have the least ball rotation or you want the ball to roll end over end, move your open hand farther bit to the lane during the follow-through.
So during the swing and release, you just need to tuck the elbow to the inside during the push-away, keep it there, and control the openness of the hand during the follow-through. Tuck, relax your whole arm, and let the body do the job. That’s all! Super simple right? In this way, I guarantee that you will have an effortless yet powerful and consistent release.
Some bowlers don’t tuck the elbow inside during the push-away. I’m not against this style and also tried it when I started bowling 2 handed. The pros of this style are that not tucking the elbow inside is quite natural. But the cons are more detrimental.
When you don’t tuck the elbow inside, the elbow by nature moves outside. If it’s already outside, you can easily over-rotate it, because your forearm or the radial bone will dominate the downswing. Even if you try to control the finger rotation or hand rotation, you still easily over-rotate the ball. This is never a good sign for your consistency.
I know that some bowlers still find ways to fine-tune but my goal is to find the most simple yet effective and consistent way to release the ball. And tucking elbow is my way. You can try both and find the best way for yourself.
So let’s conclude again. The 2 handed bowling release mechanism consists of 3 basic respective movements:
- Firstly, the supination of the elbow joint or you tuck the elbow to the inside part of your body during the push away.
- Secondly, the downward movement of the bowling shoulder under the non-bowling shoulder during the downswing.
- And then, the inward movement or pronation of the humerus.
That’s what you need to understand. And what you need to remember when executing is:
First. Tuck your elbow to the inside part of the body during the pushaway.
Second. Control the openness of the bowling hand during the follow-through.
Now, it’s time you hit the lanes and try my tips. If it helps improve your game, don’t forget to subscribe and give me some comments; also, like or share this article with your friends if they want to improve. See you in the next article. Until then, enjoy bowling!