In bowling, sometimes less can lead to more


Mike Hawkins Bowling Columnist


By Mike Hawkins

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

In my years of bowling, one of my greatest faults was I always had a tendency to squeeze the ball.

This fear of having a ball slip off my hand during a backswing or losing it in my delivery, led to years of unnecessary blisters in the back of my thumb.

So, what causes a bowler to squeeze the bowling ball?

For the most part, it goes back to my personal fear. No one, whether the recreational bowler or the more serious league bowler, wants to be the person who sends their friends scurrying away, as a ball bounces and rolls in their direction, like an old cannonball on a battlefield.

There are a few reasons why squeezing the ball can be detrimental to your bowling game. The first is applying too much pressure in your grip will actually reduce the amount of hook the bowler can get on their shot. So, in fact, applying less pressure will actually result in more hook.

Like many aspects of bowling, squeezing the ball actually begins in the pro shop while being fitted and having the ball drilled. Most bowlers request their finger holes to be a little bigger than they really need, especially the thumb hole. In actuality, the pitch angle has a greater effect on how much a bowler may feel the need to squeeze the ball.

My suggestion would be to ask to have the ball drilled a little tighter than you think, then use a sander to slowly start getting the fit nearly perfect. I always preferred having enough space that I could a piece or two of tape.

Once you’re comfortable with the grip and span of your ball, you’ll need to focus on not squeezing the ball during your stance and finally during the delivery. It’s easy to be setting up for a shot, especially during a string of strikes, and squeeze the ball while trying to bear down for that next delivery.

I had a coach once to remind me to get set, count to three, and blow out a breath before my first step.

That would help relax my body a little before my shot attempt, which helped with me relaxing my grip, and slowing my delivery.

Another way to reduce the chance of squeezing the ball is simply in the way you pick up your ball from the ball rack. Always pick up your ball with two hands and hold it in the hand opposite of your bowling hand. Even after putting your fingers in the ball, you should do all you can to keep the pressure from your bowling hand.

The bottom line is there’s not a coach alive that can coach a bowler through a bad grip, so if you feel yourself squeezing the juice from the ball, make an appointment with Mark Tarkington inside Gutterline Pro Shop and have him analyze and correct your grip.

From local league action, apparently John Bradley didn’t have grip issues, as he topped Monday Night Trio with a 245-607. Stephen Marshall and Lake Krehel followed closely behind with scores of 259-582 and 234-579 respectively. Matt Stanwick added a nice 236 game.

Brittney Gaumond’s 185-497 led the ladies last Monday, along with Beth Marshall’s 183-431 and Amie Wallace’s 181-421.

Tuesday night’s 9-Pin No Tap league featured its first 300 game of the summer, as Rondell Cristian closed the night with the perfect gem.

The night also featured two other men, Eric Craft and john Bradley come down to the last ball before an 8-count awarded each with games of 298!

Bradley tallied a 967 series while Craft finished with a 922 4-game total. JT Turner added a 277-912 to close out the men’s leaders.

Debbie Winslow’s 245-820 topped the ladies last Tuesday night followed by Krista Farrell’s 234-800, Caitie Davis’s 677 series and Jackie Bradley’s 191 game.

On the bumper Crazy 8 league, Kenzie Vanscoy and Trevon Nguyen led the way with scores of 90 and 91 respectively.

Last, but certainly not least, Christopher Vinson had heads and heads spinning while rolling 32 consecutive Crazy-8 strikes (many naturals) on his way to a 253-300-286 839 series! That’s the second straight week the youth have claimed a 300 score.

Following Christopher, Ben Hawkins added a 277-743 while Jacob Davenport tossed a cool 244-696!

Elizabeth Scaff’s 200-545 topped the young ladies, followed by lindsay Porter’s 208-535 and Kaylee Winslow’s 214-482.

Lindsay Perry paced the men of the Crazy-8 with a 263-639 to go along with Korey Gregory’s 220-618 and GS Pinner’s 221-594.

Until next week, good luck and good bowling!