Most of us have read or heard the familiar slogan of a leading insurance company, “the good hands people”. In bowling, “good hands” generally describe those who have developed the art of changing hand positions to achieve medium to maximum hook, roll the ball end-over-end, throw it straight, or deliver a back up shot. Although many PBA players have mastered proper speed control to overcome diverse lane conditions, those who also possess the art of alternating hand positions enjoy a distinct advantage over those who rely principally on powerful deliveries.

Chris Barnes and Norm Duke exemplify versatility by virtue of their innate ability to alter hand positions at any given opportunity. The late Earl Anthony, who collected 41 titles, never relied on an overpowering strike ball, yet he compensated for this by applying proper hand positions, changing speeds, and displaying unerring accuracy.

One of the most coveted aspects in quality bowling execution is a great release. The most important component in a great release is the position of the thumb and fingers PRIOR to the release point.

In practically all sports, coaches and instructors generally recommend certain keys to refine an athlete’s talents; keys that will reassure a player’s strength and help develop greater consistency. In bowling, a majority of coaches and instructors encourage and endorse the practice of utilizing the numerals on a clock to define and clarify ideal hand and finger positions, prior to the release point.

The predominant numerals involved in “bowling by the clock” are 12, 3, 6, and 9. All other numerals serve to determine the desired movement of the ball. The desired path of the ball is contingent on the position of the thumb, the ring finger, and the middle finger.

Let’s begin with the position of the thumb, before and after the release. The 12 on the clock is primarily reserved for the starting and finishing position of the thumb. The numeral 12 ...

John Jowdy

About John Jowdy

John Jowdy has been a bowler, author, instructor, and speaker over the last 60 years. He was coach to some of the most successful bowlers on tour. John’s awards and accomplishments include: Bowling Coaches Hall of Fame, ABC and PBA Halls of Fame, International Bowling Coach of the Year. He was a contributing writer for Bowling This Month for 13 years. John Jowdy passed away in 2013 at age 93.