Bowling can be a tricky game sometimes if you let it. When it comes to being a mid to upper level bowler one key factor in the whole thing is the release. The release many would say is the most important part of the entire motion of bowling. The whole approach builds up to the release. Obviously there are also many other important aspects of bowling like spare shooting, reading lane conditions, and using the right ball for the shot. These goes without saying. However, a good release not only generates good rotation on the bowling ball which can generate the most pin action, it also allows you to do on the spot error correction should one thing be out of place. It is what bowlers refer to as the "feel" game.
Here are some tips for perfecting a great bowling release:
1. Make sure the ball is fitted properly – The first and foremost thing is to make sure the bowling ball is fitted for your hand from a Pro Shop Specialist. They know how to drill balls and how to lay out your hand measurements. Each bowler has different size hands. Having a properly fitted ball ensures more comfort ability and that ensures a better chance of a good release.
2. Keep the wrist locked, cupped a bit and stay behind the ball – There are many bowling release out there on e basic rule I use is to keep the wrist in a locked cupped position. You want to keep the wrist firm and solid while at the same time maintaining a smooth relaxed arm swing. Keep your hand behind the ball as you are swinging it. This can take quite a bit of practice to develop the correct muscle memory in order to achieve this.
3. Keep the thumb straight but relaxed – When you are bowling when it comes to your thumb, pretend like you are holding an egg. If you squeeze too tight the egg will crack. Of course, like I mentioned in #1, the ball must be fitted to your hand properly or this will be very, very difficult to do without dropping the ball in the back swing. If it is fitted, the thumb will sought of lock on to the ball until the ball is parallel to the sliding leg where then the thumb naturally should exit the ball and all that is left is the natural rotation and follow through with the fingers. Keep the thumb loose and straight with maybe a hairpin pressure from the inside of the thumb. If you are too loose with the egg even the egg will drop. Also remember that if you need to make the thumb-hole snug use bowling tape. If you don't do that then you will have a tendency to crimp the thumb and the your will likely squeeze the thumb and it won't come out cleanly and/or you will get a blister. Again, this must be achieved along with a locked cupped wrist staying behind the ball with a loose arm swing. I know this is a lot, but that why just like golf, this part of the game can require a lot of practice!
4. Follow through and lift with the fingers - Once your thumb exists the ball continue the motion of the arm and lift with the fingers to obtain maximum rotation of the ball. From the time your thumb exits the ball to the time your fingers exit the ball is where you can generate the most "ball action". This is the time where you lift with fingers by bringing them together toward your palm in a nice effortless but definitive motion. You can also turn the hand by rotating the wrist to 90’s degrees. It’s like doing the “thumbs up” motion all the way through. This will give you what they call turn on the ball and this creates revolutions. It creates a natural curve to your ball which in the end achieves more pin action. It also creates something called "area" or mistake room.
5. Watch a Lot of Video - When you want to get a good bowling release, watch a lot of video. A video of someone who has already obtained a great release like that of most the pro’s can offer you a visual perspective of that. It is something you can try to nail down through the use of visualization. Also record yourself to see what you need to improve on as well. With the advent of online video, you can stop, replay, pause and watch the video in slow motion to see the professional is actually doing. Where and when does his thumb exit the ball? When does the hand start to turn for maximum rotation on the bowling ball? There is no better way to learn how to do something than to watch that of someone that is already doing it.
Like I already mentioned, the whole approach builds up to the point of release. Your timing also has a very important factor. By taking your time with your feet and letting your natural arm swing dictate the pace of your feet as you approach the foul line is key to getting to that “release point”.
There are many ways to release a bowling ball. You have bowlers that are called strokers, crankers, tweener s and more… The best way to start is to learn the basics and then tailor your release to your bowling style. Use a lot of video, put in lots and lots of practice to develop your game and enjoy the learning process!