Article Contents

  • 1. So what is good thumb timing?
  • 2. Pitch demystified
  • 3. Universal truths
    • 3.1. The tighter the thumbhole, the faster you get out of it
    • 3.2. Reverse pitch allows for a fast exit and forward pitch delays it.
  • 4. Forward pitch
  • 5. Interchangeable thumbs

A thumbhole is pretty much just a complicating factor in our game. In fact, if I consider challenging lane conditions, tough crosses, or other difficulties in bowling, I’d still pick the thumbhole as the most annoying.

One solution, of course, is not to use your thumb for gripping purposes like Chuck Lande, Mike Miller, or Jason Belmonte. That certainly takes care of any issues. Another effective method for dealing with thumbhole fit annoyances is to use interchangeable thumbs.

I think that interchangeable thumbs are almost as significant a development in bowling as adding the 10th pin! Yes, I know, that seems pretty dramatic. Well, there is way too much drama in sticking in thumbholes, delay of game penalties while folks search for their tape applicator, the tape itself, put tape in, take the tape out, store the gross used tape on the console, and other thumbhole taping irritants.

Interchangeable thumb molds make most of that go away. There are still the rare occurrences when folks struggle to get the mold out, but it doesn’t happen very frequently. Problems with interchangeable thumbs are unremarkable, in my opinion, compared to the issues with traditional thumbholes. More on that later….

If your thumb gets out of the ball at the right time with a quick, clean exit, you can put lots of stuff on the ball. If ...

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Susie Minshew

About Susie Minshew

Susie Minshew is a USBC Gold Coach, Master Silver Instructor, a regional PWBA champion, and past president of IBPSIA. She has authored two new books, Whoever Finds It First, Wins and Bowling Whisperer. Visit her online at