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Bowling Thumbs Up

During a PBA Tour Pro Am event years ago, Hall of Fame Champion Johnny Petraglia told his playing partners to follow-through with their bowling thumbs up.

He said that regardless if you are a power player or if you are someone who simply stays behind the bowling ball with a modest finger rotation (a "stroker" type player), this one trick of following-through thumbs up will help you not overturn the ball and produce a strong ball reaction.

If we think about this, no matter how much you rotate your wrist and bowling fingers when delivering your ball, you will develop a very effective release by not allowing your bowling thumb to rotate past a “thumb’s up” position.

When your hand releases your bowling ball, make certain your bowling thumb points straight up and continues into a full follow-through position.

The main reason any bowler loses power with their release is when the bowling thumb overturns and points to the opposite side, non-bowling side, of the body.

Overturning of the ball results in the bowling fingers rotating over the top of the ball causing a weak ball motion, and a noticeable loss of the rate of revolutions applied to the ball.

Some experienced and highly skilled players will intentionally overturn the ball to kill effective roll, particularly on dry lane conditions. Generally speaking, unless you are very well practiced at controlling this technique, it pays to simply avoid overturning the ball.

Switch bowling balls before selling out an effective delivery technique.


Keep you bowling thumb pointing up when it exits the ball no matter how much your fingers rotate the ball and the result will be worthwhile.

If you are having difficulty with your release, it is recommended you consult a bowling instructor or an experience bowling professional.

With a little practice, you can count on a good delivery style with this thumbs-up technique producing consistency from shot to shot.