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Rotate Your Bowling Fingers, Not Your Elbow

The phrase “turn your ball” means to rotate your bowling fingers only slightly, not your entire elbow. In fact, do not rotate your bowling elbow whatsoever.

It is possible to rotate your bowling fingers one or two inches of rotation and not rotate your elbow at all.

Rotating your bowling elbow leads to bad results. If you rotate your elbow before your hand releases your ball, you are undoubtedly experiencing your hand being on the side of the ball or worse, on top of the bowling ball and in a weak release position. This unwanted motion is commonly referred to as “turning the ball early” or “chicken-winging the shot.”

Keep your elbow in place during your forward swing and avoid any rotation of the elbow away from your body. Your elbow must remain behind your bowling ball just as your bowling hand should remain behind your ball as your swing enters the release zone near the bottom of your forward swing motion.


Any rotation of your bowling elbow jeopardizes an effective release. Since your bowling fingers need only to rotate the ball one to two inches of rotation for an effective release producing a strong ball motion, your wrist will allow this finger rotation without any need of your elbow also rotating.

Modern bowling ball equipment is engineered to produce specific ball motion for every bowler. The trick is to learn to stay behind the bowling ball, not rotate your elbow, and allow the dynamics of the bowling ball, the pitch angles drilled into your ball, the surface texture of the ball coverstock, and the drilling layout to jointly produce the controllable hook ball motion you seek.

Stay behind the ball, don’t rotate your elbow on your forward swing or as your hand enters the release zone, and think only a slight rotation of your bowling fingers to gain an effective delivery.

If your bowling arm swings closely to your body as you swing the ball into the release zone, the chances of staying behind the ball and avoiding elbow rotation also increase.