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How to Release a Bowling Ball

New to the sport and wondering how to release a bowling ball? Let the professionals at give you some expert advice!

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Perfecting Your Release

Today’s game requires some versatility in method. Perfecting your release can be your strongest asset. The best releases begin with strong foundations which means you have to stay balanced during both the release and finish positions in order to develop the proper hand tricks to get the strikes you desire.

Once you have gotten comfortable at the line, you will need to learn how to give your ball the spin necessary to hit those pins. Your hand position during the release changes the trajectory of the ball and can make all the difference between gutter and strike.

Understanding the Release

It is important to know what occurs during the release of the ball. Basic components dictate that the thumb will be the first to exit the ball which is then followed by rotating the wrist and then the fingers coming out of their holes.

Though that might sound simplistic, you have to develop your release in way that demonstrates you understand how quickly all of that takes place. The time frame is literally less than a second and you will have to know how to change this process as needed.

There are specific hand positions that change how the ball rolls on the lanes. These three techniques are essential knowledge as you develop your release:

  • Relaxed: Fewer revolutions, low hook, and straighter ball path
  • Firm: Medium revolutions, medium hook, and arching ball path
  • Strong: Most revolutions, most hook, and angular ball path

When it comes to releases, the straight release will help you pick up spares. To perfect this, you need to keep your thumb toward the pins and your fingers behind the ball. Your palm will be facing up during the release and follow through.

The hook release, on the other hand, is designed for strikes and follows the first set of instructions about thumb exiting first, wrist rotating, and then fingers coming out last. The strike potential is increased due to the fact there is more angle to the pocket.

Prep Work Necessary

As you work towards perfecting your release it is important that you practice changing your hand position in your stance. If you want to throw it straight, keep your hand under the ball. If you are hoping to hook it, cup your wrist and move your hand slightly to the side of the ball. Keep in mind that even though you set yourself up in these positions, your hand may finish in your normal release due to the momentum of the overall swing.

If this is the case, consider practicing abbreviated releases. Try a one step version that brings you close to the foul line and keep your focus on your hand position and what it feels like. You can then work up to two and three step swings as you continue focusing on the different hand positions to build your technique.

Now that you know how to release a bowling ball, we hope you will contact the professionals at to get additional advice and for help choosing the right bowling balls and equipment for you. You can give us a call at 844.269.5379 or contact us online.