Bowling Ball Fit and Grip Pressure

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Too much grip pressure in bowling creates issues and bad habits in your game, adversely affecting your bowling technique. Getting a proper fit avoids having to unlearn the bad habits that too much grip pressure creates. Scott Pohl, owner of On Track Pro Shop, explains what a proper fit looks and feels like.


When drilling a bowling ball, the goal is to have your grips match the angle to the pads of your fingers. This enables you to have the bowling ball roll properly off your fingers without having excess grip pressure. Pro shop operators use pitch gauges to determine the proper angle for you.

The Setup

Reverse pitch is when the angle of the hole is going from the center of the bowling ball away from the grip. Forward pitch is when the angle of the hole is going from the center of the bowling ball towards the grip. Lateral pitch determines side to side components of the angle drilled in a bowling ball. The construction of your hand determines how much lateral pitch you need to get the ball to come off your hand cleanly.

Testing Your Fit

To ensure a proper fit, put your fingers and thumb into the bowling ball and place it on the side of your body.

The Setup

The bowling ball should stay on your hand, without your assistance. If you are unable to do this, your fit is incorrect and will affect your bowling technique.

Hand Strength

Bowlers with a strong hand versus a weak hand will have their bowling balls drilled differently. Strong handed bowlers typically use more reverse pitch in the thumb to allow their natural strength to relax when in the thumbhole. Weaker handed bowlers use forward pitch in their thumb. It allows the bowling ball to naturally stay on their thumb without having to exert grip pressure on the bowling ball.

To continue improving your bowling technique, check out “How To Properly Grip Your Bowling Ball” and “The Importance of Keeping a Loose and Relaxed Arm Swing” from National Bowling Academy’s expert coaches.