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Crank Your Bowling Ball

If you are a newer bowler learning the game, a more experienced player wishing to gain additional power, or someone dead set on becoming a high rev-rate style bowler, here are a few tips to help you “crank” the ball.

"Cranking" is a term meaning to impart a strong rate of revolutions on your bowling ball by means of a quick and decisive releasing action producing a sizable degree of axis tilt and with a reasonably high ball velocity.

Your release action determines if a ball will hook modestly, sharply (as a "crank” release hooks), or if the ball will go straight.

A bowling ball with a high rate of revolutions, a high ball speed, and a sharp angle of entry into the pocket will produce the highest chances of getting strikes. However, the risk is greater in controlling a ball with a severe or sharp hooking motion compared to a modest hook motion. Still, both can lead to very desirable results.

Make sure you are skilled enough as a bowler to have good balance, good posture walking to the foul line, and a solid platform when releasing the bowling ball, before you work at generating maximum power in your release. Maximum power with no control of direction will produce far less than favorable results than does a modest hook coupled with accuracy and ball speed control.

Here are tips for “cranking” your bowling ball:

1. Maintain constant and very firm grip pressure on the pads of your bowling fingers.

2. Release your bowling ball between the shoe laces of your sliding bowling shoe and the toe of the shoe. The closer you can regulate the "moment of release" near your bowling shoe laces, the more consistent your release will become.

3. Use a full finger-tip grip drilled by your pro shop operator. Make sure you learn to allow your bowling thumb to exit the ball prior to the bowling fingers. When your thumb exits the ball before the fingers, you can create a strong rev-rate with a strong hooking motion.

4. Varying the degree you rotate your bowling fingers from about one inch of rotation to three or four inches will vary the rotating axis of your ball.

The less finger rotation, the more of a forward rolling motion your ball will achieve. The greater degree of finger rotation, the more axis tilt will be imparted on your bowling ball and the sharper the ball will hook on the back end of the lane.

5. Set-up on the approach with your hand under the ball with the palm of your hand facing toward the ceiling and with your ball resting in the palm of your bowling hand. Work at maintaining your hand behind the ball as long as possible in your forward swing or until your hand reaches the release zone before you rotate your bowling fingers.

6. A quick rotation of the bowling ball with a manageable amount of finger rotation will tilt the rotating axis to a range of 45 - 60 degrees of axis tilt, cause a noticeable high rate of revolutions and will produce a sharp hook motion down the lane.

Be careful not to rotate your entire arm, rather only your bowling fingers; this cannot be stressed enough.

7. Another tip is to tilt the wrist upward in your forward swing as you begin releasing the ball so will “fly your thumb out of the ball” quickly. Make sure your bowling elbow is bent slightly so you can “cradle” your ball on your forward swing and keep your hand under the ball so your wrist uncoils when your thumb exists the ball. This action produces maximum rev-rate and hook potential.


It is recommended you consult with an experienced instructor before adopting the “crank” delivery style, because with a release change you may have to change your walking lines and your shoulder rotational motion when swinging your bowling ball. The techniques required for successfully “cranking” a ball and developing a reasonable degree of accuracy are vital to the success of your game.

Cranking the ball is not for everyone. Make 100% certain you are committed to developing a crank release style before setting out to do so. Cranking requires having good athletic skills and, like anything else in bowling, it requires maintaining balance and being in position to make effective deliveries.

Modern bowling balls allow low rev-rate players with small or modest hook deliveries to be effective and able to compete at the highest levels. Unless you are fully committed to changing to a “cranker” delivery style, it might be wise to work at improving your present game. The choice is yours.