Scott Pohl

Bowling Ball Fit Basics

Scott Pohl
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Bowling ball fit can make or break your game. Many bad habits bowlers find themselves working on can be traced back to a bad fit.

Scott Pohl, the owner of On Track Pro Shop, explains what to expect when getting fit for a ball and what it should feel like so you know that you’ve received a good fit.

Thumb sizes

Getting sized-up for your fingers and thumb requires some tools and a common one used amongst pro shops is an oval measuring disc/span ruler.

When evaluating your thumb, make sure it’s not too tight or loose. Think about leaving room for one piece of tape in your thumbhole.

Most thumbs resemble an oval shape. Like an oval, a thumb has a wider side and a narrow side.

Oftentimes a bowler and pro shop operator can find a pre-cut oval that fits your thumb but in certain cases that’s just not possible.

Callipers are then used to gather both the wide side and narrow side measurements.

Next, the pro shop operator will determine where the wide side and the narrow side of your thumb will be angled into the bowling ball.


The span refers to the distance from the front edge of the drilled thumbhole to the front edges of the two finger holes.

To measure your span a pro shop operator will use the oval measuring disc/span ruler again.

The three marks on Scott’s finger identify a conventional grip, semi-finger tip and finger-tip grips.

Your skill level and finger flexibility will determine which is best for you.


Pitches are not a one size fits all measurement. They are designed specifically for your hand and style of play.

The thumb hole angles influence your release technique.

A forward pitch angle in your thumb hole will help you hold onto the bowling ball slightly longer than a reverse pitch angle.

If you’re strong handed with a lot of grip pressure your pitch angles will likely be reversed in the thumb.

For the finger holes, forward pitches allow your fingers to remain in the ball a split second longer than reverse pitches.

Reverse pitches tend to assist in rolling the ball with low axis tilt and in a forward rolling motion.

Watch What is a Good Fit and Fitting for the Modern Game from National Bowling Academy expert coaches to learn more on one of the most important subjects in bowling.

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