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How Often Should Your Bowling Ball Grip Be Checked

Learning how often should your bowling ball grip be checked is important for new or beginner bowlers. Everything starts with a proper grip. In bowling, a proper grip begins with proper fitting gripping holes. Once you have your bowling ball equipment measured and fitted precisely by a pro shop professional, it then becomes essential after bowling many games with your given bowling ball to keep the gripping holes contoured and fitting the sizes of your fingers and thumb as closely as when the given ball was first drilled. The more games you bowl, wear on your equipment requires reshaping or re-contouring your gripping holes so you still retain a good fitting grip.

The answer, therefore, to how often should your bowling ball grip be checked lies with how many games of bowling have you accumulated on a given bowling ball since it was first fitted to your hand? Regardless if you use finger inserts and/or a thumb slug or whether you use only the gripping holes drilled into the ball with no inserts, you should easily be able to get 60-80 games of bowling before you need to have the pro shop professional check your bowling ball gripping holes for wear on the edges of the holes or inserts. With the bowling ball rolling down the lane and sent back through the ball return devices, your equipment will encounter erosion or slight wearing effect on the holes over time. Depending on how many games you bowl per week to arrive at 60 - 80 games will determine when exactly you should have your gripping holes checked at the pro shop.

When finger or thumb holes are drilled directly into the ball surface with no use of inserts or thumb slugs, the edges of the gripping holes tend to lose contour and require a beveling technique to re-contour the shape of the top of the holes to help you re-acquire the same feel on your gripping fingers as when the ball was first drilled. Wearing on the hole edges generally makes the holes feel a little sharper than when the holes were first contoured. Many experienced bowlers will purchase and carry a three-sided bevel knife with grip handle in their bowling accessory pouches so the gripping holes can be shaped precisely the way the bowler chooses.

In cases with use of finger inserts, beveling the soft inserts is not always as easy as the hard shell of the bowling ball. It is recommended in these cases to simply have the given finger insert or thumb insert replaced with a new one so the proper fitting and contouring of the gripping holes is restored. Don't forget to check each finger insert if it comes loose and requires more glue to hold the insert in place after 30 - 60 games of bowling or as needed.

After several hundred games of bowling, it is likely you may have to plug and re-drill gripping holes to restore the right length of span to the ball and fit your hand properly once again. Constant beveling of finger and thumb holes has the effect of shortening the span of the ball and then your hand will not fit into the ball quite the same way as when the ball was new and first drilled to fit your hand. Checking with a pro shop professional will help you maintain a good fitting bowling ball.

When you encounter noticeable changes of weight, usually a corresponding change in finger and thumb sizes occurs. If you gain weight and your fingers and thumb swell, make sure you have your bowling ball gripping holes checked by a pro shop professional to make sure you can grip the ball properly and you do not lose effectiveness in making good, clean deliveries.

The same is true if you lose weight; losing weight causes your fingers and thumb to become smaller in size and may require either adding bowling tape (or some sort of gripping insert device to take up the additional space inside the gripping hole) resulting from weight loss. Great care should be taken to keep your gripping holes fitting your hand properly if you wish to develop the skills to make consistent and accurate bowling ball deliveries.

We cannot overlook the importance of placing your bowling fingers and thumb into your ball properly each and every time prior to making a delivery. The manner by which a bowler inserts his or her fingers and thumb into the bowling ball and supports the weight of the ball while taking the stance position on the approach of the lane is commonly referred to as the "grip."

A good grip enables you to properly release the ball and thereby make a good delivery. It all begins with supporting the weight of the ball in your non-bowling hand. Next, softly place your bowling fingers, normally the middle two fingers of your bowling hand, and your thumb into the holes drilled into the bowling ball. Make sure your fingers are inserted as far as the holes permit and the same for your thumb.

A commonly accepted procedure is for the fingers to be inserted into the ball before the thumb. Care should be taken to fit your fingers into the holes of the ball carefully and the in same manner each time you are getting ready to bowl. The same is true for your thumb being placed into the hole of the ball after the fingers are properly inserted.

Your bowling fingers should be inserted down to the second knuckle joint for a conventionally drilled bowling ball so the weight of the ball can be supported by the pads of your fingers leading to the second knuckle joint. For a fingertip grip, your fingers should be inserted down to the first knuckle joint and the weight of the ball will be supported by the pads of your fingers from the tip of your fingers to the first joint.

The thumb must be inserted into the thumb hole of the ball down to the second knuckle joint as to allow the ball surface to rest on the palm of your hand and to the full extension of your thumb. If a ball is drilled properly to custom fit your hand, there should be little or no separation of the palm of your hand from the surface of the bowling ball, regardless of a conventional drilling or a fingertip drilling.

When your hand is placed properly into the holes of the bowling ball, there needs to be slightly more gripping pressure on the finger pads of your hand than on your thumb pad. As new bowlers develop into accomplished players and learn to release the ball effectively, the thumb must be released a split second before the fingers so the fingers may impart the rotational action which causes the bowling ball to travel down the lane with an effective rolling and hooking motion. Gripping too tightly, particularly with the thumb, will slow the action of your hand at the moment of release. It helps to learn to grip the ball properly from the onset so you may develop your skill as a player quickly.


bowlingball.com recommends that every beginner purchase their very own new ball and have it professionally fitted to the specifications of your hand. Improperly fitting bowling balls can potentially cause injury to your bowling hand and can adversely affect a good release and delivery of the bowling ball. We also recommend you take a lesson or lessons from a certified bowling instructor or local bowling professional to help you develop good bowling techniques and to ensure your bowling equipment fits your hand properly.

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