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Bowling Highlights

Bowling with no thumb

Ed Townsend
Posted 3/11/22

Our series of bowling techniques has included information about two-handed bowling so this week let's add the topic of bowling without a thumb.

Bowling without a thumb is a way for bowlers to …

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Bowling Highlights

Bowling with no thumb


Our series of bowling techniques has included information about two-handed bowling so this week let's add the topic of bowling without a thumb.

Bowling without a thumb is a way for bowlers to create a tremendous amount of revs on the bowling ball.

Now the question is, which is better, thumb or no thumb? Some bowlers say you need the thumb for accuracy. I've seen bowlers with small hands have difficulty with bowling without the thumb.

I have bowled with three and even tried four fingers, which I had an extra finger hole for my index finger. It's been a while since I did that, and I know that I more than likely did it because I wanted to try it. I figured it might help my bowling in some way, and maybe just because it sounds like fun.

That may be exactly why bowlers try to bowl without using the thumb. They do it simply for the fun of trying it, or they have seen somebody bowling quite well doing that.

I remember watching a bowler at one of the state bowling tournaments bowling with no holes in the ball. He completely palmed the ball and maintained a 200 average and had no special way to control the ball when he shot spares. It did help that this bowler had large hands.

So what is the big deal anyway? Why worry about how a bowler likes to bowl? The game of bowling only requires us to stay behind the foul line and try to knock down all ten pins.

Thumbless bowling has limitations. The one handed thumbless bowlers will struggle with ball balance as the ball comes off their hands. If they begin to lose the ball before they want to release it, it will cause some errant shots. However, they don't have to deal with any sticking thumb problems.

It's helpful when using wrist adjustments to study manuals on this subject.

When bowling without a thumb, your wrist is cupped and you are basically holding the ball between your arm and wrist. You can only go so high with your backswing before you lose control of the ball. So you are not able to gain any adjustment by not cupping the wrist.

If a bowler is able to be balanced and make consistent shots then there is nothing wrong with the thumbless delivery.

With the fingers being well below the equator of the ball, the thumbless delivery is certainly a very strong shot as the bowler is able to generate a tremendous amount of revs on the ball because the fingers will stay in the ball longer.

As long as your ball has the legal amount of holes, it doesn't really matter how you deliver the ball, with or without fingers or thumbless. If you like doing it, learn the best ways to avoid injury, and prolong your body's ability to use that style. It's all about having fun.

Bowling Tip by Mike Luongo

In recent weeks we have discussed topics including how to bowl, choosing your bowling ball, holding the bowling ball correctly, and making the right approach.

This week we want to center in on choosing your throwing angle and the best way to throw the ball.

Now is the time for you to take a throwing angle.

You can either choose to throw the bowling ball in a straight angle or a curved angle depending upon your throwing hand, whether you are left or right handed.

Hooking will require you to twist the ball by twisting your fingers while in a straight-forward motion. You are not going to bend or twist your fingers, which can at times be more difficult than you would expect.

It is now time to throw the ball once you have figured out your throwing angle and brought the ball to the front with a swing.

What you are going to do is use your fingers to make the final motion.

If you are hooking the ball, push the ball using your thumb, and that will allow you to take the fingers out at the right time when you throw the ball. Otherwise, in a straight-forward throw, you are going to use all the fingers to push the ball forward in a straight manner.

And that is what you will need to do to get your strikes and spares and bowl perfectly.

Next week we will get into some of the best bowling tips and tricks.


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