GoodCoach, first a question. You do me cocked (adducted position akin to what the wrist would look like before flinging a Frisbee) , not cupped right? Since cupping is flexing, the minute you flex, you have tension,
add a weight, and there's more tension.
I'm including some posts that I have saved because they both touch on waiting for the ball and not trying to juice the ball too early or needlessly
outrace gravity and add stress to the arm and wrist etc.
I'm going to include a post that I saved made by "Dursty" on www.pba.com
a while ago. I think there are a few keys there that might help.
Here is the post by Dursty -
" A post by Dursty re: the wrist in bowling.
This is a reply that I wrote to somebody else awhile back, and I think it might be applicable to you. I added a couple of things for your benefit.
Your wrist and forearm will strengthen over time as long as you don't damage something first. One thing that I use that helps is a NDL wrist brace which helps absorb the shock of releasing the ball 60 games a week. It doesn't interfere with wrist movement at all like a Robbie or a full blown wrist brace would. Strengthening your wrist and forearm outside of bowling would probably help as well, although if you bowl a lot (40 50 games a week) additional workouts probably wouldn't be as beneficial.
And to answer your question, Yes, it's normal for new bowlers to injure there wrist, usually due to bad technique, and the fact they are trying something new and the body just isn't prepared for it.
One problem that I've noticed with new players that are trying to get that strong ball roll and more revolutions; if your cupping the ball in the swing and over accelerating too early from the top, you will severely increase the amount of force required to maintain that strong wrist position, and will contribute to a higher probability of a wrist injury.
If you watch a player like Bryon Smith who cups his wrist a fair amount, pay attention to the force he applies at the top of the swing... just about zero. Bryon just lets the ball fall and lets gravity accelerate his swing. By doing that he can maintain a strong wrist position with less chance of damaging his wrist, and be in a much better position to accelerate smoothly though the release zone. I mentioned Bryon because his swing is very, very smooth and non-mechanical. Many books and publications have mentioned the free, loose, non forced arm swing although often they don't do a very good description of why one should have one. I have to add that it's hard to do well too. One thing that I've noticed is that statically, good left handed bowlers seem to have this feature in their game more than right handers. I've been bowling for awhile now and still have a tendency from time to time grabbing it early from the top. By doing grabbing early it will rob you of a strong release position, ability to accelerate through the ball, and on top of that it over stresses the tendons in your wrist more than necessary.
Since you have a video camera, you need to get profile shots of yourself bowling. Pay attention to your wrist position and your swing acceleration. If your wrist is max cupped at the top of your swing (whatever that amount is for you), and then your wrist breaks down during the swing as it comes forward, this my indicate that your arm speed is out accelerating gravity by too much a factor. Note, very very few bowlers swings are pure gravity swings. Some acceleration and control is added, but the amount added in the best swings is fairly small. Small enough that when added won't cause you wrist break down on the downswing or alternative takes tremendous strength to maintain. Of course if your fighting it, it might not show up on video but your certainly feel it. With a good smooth swing you shouldn't have to strain to maintain a good strong wrist position. I haven't seen you bowl so I'm of course just speculating what could be causing your wrist to hurt.
Wrist injures can become chronic and career ending in a hurry so be very very careful. If your wrist is hurting, do not, ***DO NOT** bowl on it!"
There it was.
Here is perhaps another good one by a Mr. 879.
"James, I have to agree with these posts that advise "tense" forearms do not equal free swings. You can probably fix that with a trust drill where you do a push away into a friend's hands then relax the forearm. You'll do a LOT of this if you ever go to one of Dick Ritger's Camps.
As to revs, I can tell you how I fix 4 out of 5 strokers with low revs. While you are standing still, have a friend walk past, in front of you, from your right to your left. Have him walk slowly. As he passes, put your hand on his back and apply as much pressure as you can.
Now have your friend RUN past you. As he nears, try to put your hand on his back and apply as much pressure as you can as he runs by. How'd you do? Not much pressure the second time, eh?
Then how would you expect to put finger pressure on a ball that is moving as fast as you can swing? Guys apply pressure to accelerate their swing TOO SOON. Apply ball speed with your FEET, apply finger pressure with your arm.
Next time you're out on the lanes, be patient with your swing from stance to delivery. This is especially true at the top of the backswing and it is called the "wait state." The ball actually stops, then gravity begins to bring it down. It is critical, at this point, not to add pressure to the ball. Don't push the ball, let the hand FOLLOW the ball as though the ball was pulling the hand. At the bottom of the swing, as the thumb relaxes, THEN and only then, do you apply pressure.
Now you can tweak this process to fit your timing and foot speed but try not to accelerate the ball too soon. I'll bet you'll find that you were accelerating the ball on the downswing (before). Try a deliberately slow, muscled, downswing where the ball is moving TOO slow. At the point of release, do you see how much pressure you can apply? That's the theory. And this, of course is in conjunction with other criteria that must be maintained. For example, this will not work with a broken wrist.
You cannot apply finger pressure until the thumb begins to exit. So speeding the ball before the thumb releases only adds to ball speed. It does NOT add to revolutions.
Best wishes. "
Also, if you have not been to Ron Clifton's website, check it out, you may find a few things there of interest to you. See www.bowl4fun.com
P.S. The grip of the ball is so crucial. Here we have our thumb and fingers inserted in a sphere, trying to impart a desired rotation along a chosen path. Not an easy task at all. Kim Adler has a nice write up on the grip at www.kimadler.com
I know that being USAB Silver, you probably know most if not all of this, but perhaps there are one or two things in this post or at the websites mentioned that may be of help.
I would be very interested on what type of cue phrases you decide to use
and how you achieve your desired results.
You might be able to take any small weighted object and emulate a swing and the wrist positions. This would give your body the task of managing the weight through the swing without the task of targeting, release etc.
This will also help you isolate your focus I would think.
Also, if you just sit in a chair, with not weight at all, move your wrist an hand, then use your other hand and finger to feel the muscles up and down your arm, that may clue you in to the feasibility of your goals.
I'd also suggest that if you are not familiar with a bit of kinesiology and biomechanics, you start to do some research there. This will give you a better knowledge of how the body works and what's what so to speak.
I hope there was something here that will prove helpful.
I'd appreciate your feedback, because I'm looking to learn too!
What would be really helpful would be to be able to have a Q&A with some players on the tour(s) to pick up some ideas from them. For example, you can see pictures on the web or in books, but you do not know the bowlers intent on that shot. Taping TV can help, but the camera angles are not set up for analysis. I want to mention two examples that come to mind. The first one is a picture of Leanne Barrette
the ball is in the downswing I believe and prior to the release zone, the wrist is in a weak position (spare attempt or just riding the swing). The second one is Kelly Kulick, Kelly Straps the ball a bit and she has large hands, ball at top of swing, wrist fairly straight, little evidence of cup.
Steve Wilson kind of sling shots his wrist, clearing riding gravity waiting for the release zone to accelerate his hand, in essence using gravity while he can instead of wasting his own energy.
One more thing, although there is a trade off, a lighter ball is easier to manipulate, but without a well fitted ball there will almost always be arm tension.