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Bowling Having Difficulty Hooking the Ball PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joe Slowinski   
Saturday, 14 October 2006

Here is one of my posts to the USBC Bowling Talk forum.    An individual asked about his wife who was having difficulty hooking the ball.  In the post, I discuss how to teach a general hook as well as determine if this female has an arm shape that will make it difficult to hook the ball.

Two very important things to consider.  First, you need to check the shape of your wife's arm.  Most bowlers don't realize that the shape of the arm in women can prevent her from hooking the ball much.  Below I provide some guidance on how to check and what to do.  If this is not the case, I also provide guidance on how to help her achieve a more consistent 45 degree release to help achieve a hook.  This should help you help her. IS THE HOOK POTENTIAL MINIMAL DUE TO THE SHAPE OF THE ARM?First, do a quick test.  Through my coaching experience, I have seen a situation in which many women have an arm shape that makes it difficult to throw a hook.  The arm hinges away from the body at the elbow.  Begin by having your wife extend her arm straight down at her side.  Is the arm straight or is the arm angled away from the body?  If it is the latter, she will have a difficult time and you need to follow recommendation A.  If the arm is straight, go to recommendation B. RECOMMENDATION A: IF THE ARM IS ANGLED AWAY FROM THE BODY, TRY THIS....I have found this method to be very successful with females with this arm shape. The natural arm shape prevents the bowler from the natural hooking motion.  But, there is hope. In fact, in most cases, they are hooking the ball within 5 minutes.  Granted, the amount of hook will be limited due to the arm shape. Have your wife begin in the stance with her hand in the 4 (middle) and 5 (ring) o'clock position.  Ask here to keep her hand in this position through to the follow-through.  You can experiment by spreading the index finger.  But, have your wife begin with her fingers tight together with the index and pinky not spread.    RECOMMENDATION B: IF THE ARM IS STRAIGHT, TRY THIS....Have her begin with her hand directly under the ball in the stance with the index finger and the pinky tight (i.e., like you were extending your hand to collect something).  How this reference system works is to imagine a point of reference, a large clock face, in front of you out on the lane suspended above the arrows relative to your position on the approach.  12 o'clock should be considered directly over and in front of the ball-side shoulder.  Think of this as suspended over the arrows in the air.  Instruct your wife to imagine that she will lead her thumb to the 1 o'clock on the clock face, relative toher body position, in her follow-through. Specifically, if she rotates her hand to the 4 (middle) and 5 (ring) o'clock position and extend the thumb, you will see what I am suggesting.  Notice how the thumb points to one o'clock. After the ball exits, you want the thumb to point to 1 and follow-through to this position. Since the reference is at the end of the follow-through, you will rotate the hand to 45 degrees and keep the hand in this position.  This will lead to a nice consistent arcing ball path.  And, the reference of thumb to 1 o'clock contributes to consistency and the ability to repeat shots.  She will rotate her hand slightly due to the outer reference of following-through to 1 o'clock with her thumb.  It is similar to sweeping a slightly angled letter "j"  with your hand as you follow-through and release the ball.  The top of the j would be pointed at 1 o'clock.  This allows the bowler to keep the rotation to a minimum because they want to get the ball to the 1 o'clock position or 45 degrees.  NOTE: As you read this, the 1 o'clock thumb position is where the thumb points in the follow-through after it exits the bowling ball.  And, this is written for right-handed bowlers. And, she can practice this with a nerf ball, tennis ball or PUFF rosin ball.  If the ball does not arc, she is rotating her hand to late.  Ask her to begin to rotate her hand at her heel. For more beginner bowlers, there is more of a delay in processing the hand rotation.  So, I don't talk about rotating at the ankle.  The heel has been better.  When you go to the lanes, bring the NERF ball with you or use a PUFF rosin bag or tennis ball.  Have her follow-through to 1 o'clock three times with one of these before bowling 1 shot.  You need to help her build a feeling.... CLOSING THOUGHTSI've developed an easy-to-use reference system to vary the amount of axis rotation on the bowling ball.  This allows bowlers to consistently rotate their hand a specific amount leading to a more reliable desired ball reaction.  And, this allows them to control the skid, shape and backend reaction.  In fact, this system will be published in the November issue of Bowling This Month.  The article is more extensive than the post and has graphics as well.  As a coach, I developed this system to enable bowlers to easily change the amount of rotation for repeatability.  I always begin teaching bowlers to throw with a 45 degrees or the fingers at the 4 (middle) and 5 (ring).  This produces a nice arcing trajectory and the most overall hook with a medium and predictable backend reaction.  To see an illustration of the thumb to 1 o'clock in the follow-through (45 degrees of axis rotation) desired ball reaction, look at the following graphic at  http://www.bowl4fun.com/ron/New%20Releases/Photo-G.gif       This is what the ball reaction should look like.  Ron Clifton's site (http://www.bowl4fun.com) has a nice graphic of what you should see.    Joe Slowinski, ABD, M.Ed. This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Director of Coaching and Coach Certification National Sports Council of Malaysia USBC Silver-Level Coach Top 100 Coach 2005 & 2006 http://www.bowlingknowledge.info
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