Hand Versus Bowling Ball

Discussing the need for and purpose of wrist supports

Hand Versus Bowling Ball

Since the inception of many sports, the equipment has changed—sometimes dramatically. The impact of these changes upon a given sport is often a hotly debated topic. In this regard, bowling is certainly no different. From drastic changes in bowling ball construction, design, and materials, to materials used in bowling lanes, the oils used on those lanes, and electronic coaching tools, all of these have had an impact on our sport and will continue to do so. Next to bowling balls themselves, wrist supports are a hot-button issue—if bowling can be said to have one! Let us take a long, hard look at these devices and see if they benefit our game.

Human hand and wrist versus heavy bowling ball; this doesn’t sound like a fair contest, does it? It seems inevitable that, barring significant wrist and hand exercises, a bowler would find his or her wrist collapsing or at least “breaking back” at some point in the approach. While this is a valid technique for either spare shooting or bowling on drier lanes (this method is known as “killing the shot” for good reason), breaking the wrist backward causes a significant reduction in hook. Regardless of whether the bowler does this intentionally or accidentally, the result is the same.

Wrist supports, therefore, were originally designed to help bowlers not break their wrists backward so that their intended release retained its hook. As we will discuss, there are many different designs of wrist supports, yet all of them provide rigid supports along the back of the hand, extending just past the wrist, specifically designed to prevent this from occurring.

Another intended purpose of wrist supports is to assist bowlers with the core skill of repeating shots. It takes a great deal of training and muscle memory to successfully learn how to repeat shots, ...

Joe Hoenig

About Joe Hoenig

Joe Hoenig is a USBC Silver coach and a graduate of the Dick Ritger Bowling Camps. A Licensed Master Social Worker by profession, Joe works full-time as a Clinical Trainer and Educator for a health insurance plan and takes his love of teaching and bowling onto the lanes, coaching both youth and adult students of all ages and skill levels. Additionally, Joe is a volunteer coach for the Suffolk County, NY Bowlympics youth travel league, which calls South Levittown Lanes its home.