Article Contents

  • 1. Defining the release
  • 2. Ball roll elements
    • 2.1. Rev rate
    • 2.2. Axis rotation
    • 2.3. Axis tilt
  • 3. Checking span
    • 3.1. Any kind of squeezing is bad
  • 4. Practicing the release
  • 5. A note on genetics
  • 6. Conclusion

The release is simpler than people think, even though it is a complex movement that requires perfect timing. When working in-person with bowlers on their release, I actually spend my time teaching them not to do the things they think they should. When we take that away, what’s left is a good release.

In essence, the release is a culmination of the events of the approach that lead to it, but it is still its own unique motion, and one that has evolved significantly from the classic game. We’ll start by defining the modern release, discuss hook potential, and then learn how to develop a strong release in today’s game.

Defining the release

Let’s take a step back from bowling for a moment. What does the word “release” mean? It means to let something go. By extension, releasing something requires you to relax your hand. Holding on requires muscle contraction, even if our goal in bowling is to have minimal grip pressure. In the modern game, an effective release is all about relaxing throughout the kinetic chain:

  • Relax the shoulder
  • Relax the elbow
  • Relax the wrist

Let’s break this down. The modern game sees a cupped wrist through the backswing and downswing, and then about a foot before the ankle, the wrist straightens and extends to allow the fingers to quickly pass from the bottom to the top of the ball. By the time the ball is at the ankle, the thumb is downward, allowing the ball to come off the hand cleanly.

There’s a misunderstanding that the elbow is involved to generate revs, but this isn’t strictly correct. It’s true that bending your elbow can let you get your fingers under the ball more, but it also has its drawbacks. Too much elbow bend shortens your swing radius, affecting your timing, your speed generation, and also often resulting ...

Already a premium member? Click here to log in.

Juha Maja

About Juha Maja

Juha Maja is a professional bowling coach with over 20 years of experience. He has a professional coaching degree from the Kuortane Olympic Training Center, where he was also the former Director and Head Coach of their Bowling Training Center. In addition to being the former national team coach for Finland, Romania, and the Czech Republic, Juha is the author and Head Instructor of the Finnish Bowling Federation and European Tenpin Bowling Federation (ETBF) Level 1-2-3 coaching programs.