Key Factors for Proper Bowling Ball Grip Pressure

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How should the bowling ball feel when you put your hand into it? Why is bowling ball grip pressure important?

In order to repeat shots consistently, the bowling ball has to fit just right. Somewhere in between the bowling ball falling off your hand and excessively squeezing it, you will find the proper amount of bowling ball grip pressure.

Scott Pohl, owner of On Track Pro Shop, explains what it takes to get the bowling ball to feel just right so you can bowl at your best.


The length from your thumb to your fingers on a bowling ball is known as your span.

Grip Pressure 1

If the span is incorrect it will lead to excessive grip pressure (a.k.a. squeezing the ball). If your hand is not relaxed throughout the shot, you will likely pull the bowling ball and create more side rotation rather than roll. Neither are good for striking.

Hole Size

Jamming or squeezing your fingers into the holes of your bowling ball will only cause excessive bowling ball grip pressure or squeezing.

Grip Pressure 2

You can evaluate your fit quickly by standing straight up and holding the ball at your side. If you have to squeeze to hold onto it, you need to adjust your fit.


Your hand’s flexibility will determine the pitch (angle) at which the holes are drilled.

Grip Pressure 3

Finger Inserts

Bowling without finger inserts can be painful for bowlers. Finger inserts are softer than drilled holes and can help prevent callusing.

Grip Pressure 4

Lift and Oval are the two opposite sides of a finger insert, and you can choose either when utilizing finger inserts.

Hand in the Ball

Most bowlers put their fingers into the ball first and then the thumb. Two exceptions to this are double-jointed or very flexible thumbs. These bowlers would put their thumb in first.

When your hand goes in, you shouldn’t have to pull or squeeze your grip. It should fit on your fingers and thumb in a way that relaxes your hand when your fingers and thumb are in it.

Grip Pressure 5

Check out Excessive Grip Pressure Warning Signs and Improve Grip Pressure with Wrist Exercise for continued learning on your bowling grip.

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2 Responses to “Key Factors for Proper Bowling Ball Grip Pressure”

  1. Billy Vidler

    Many years ago (80’s) a lot of ball drillers were recommending pitching the thumb away from the palm to force you to stay behind it (Away from the palm with normal revese. Is that still recommended? The issue I found was if you got around it you hung up. Created issues when changing hand positions.

    • Customer Service

      Hello and thanks for the question.

      From your description it sounds like forward pitch in the thumb may serve you better than reverse pitch.

      It’s a whole different feel so beware that you will have to train yourself on reducing grip pressure and eliminate squeezing as much as possible.

      The first ball you throw with forward pitch in the thumb after switching from reverse pitch will feel like it will never come off your hand. It will, you just have to settle you grip pressure in your stance to avoid squeezing.

      It should come off your thumb easier and if you experience wrist pain this should help reduce it.

      Thanks for watching!

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