BASIC RELEASE – Benchmark For Beginners

The failure to deliver a consistent score is almost always the result of improper ball release. This is a technique that should be mastered at the start of learning the sport of tenpin bowling. So today, I’m going to teach you how to do the Basic Release.


The position of the hand and wrist principally affect how the ball reacts on the lane. Potential energy is ‘stored’ for later use by how the hand and wrist are ‘cocked’ in the stance. This energy translates into hook and/or roll potential when it is utilized during ball release. The style of the bowler, the type of shot and the condition of the lane determine whether a lot or very little energy is stored.

There are two components to consider:   

 > Hand position (cocked, straight, uncocked)                                              

 > Wrist position (cupped, straight, broken)


Imagine that you are invisible. When bowling, a person at the back would be able to see right through you to the bowling ball in your hand.

Now, imagine a clock face positioned around the bowling ball, with 12.00 being straight up towards the ceiling. Use this mental image when we discuss hand position.

The hand position discussed here is the BASIC RELEASE. The basic release provides medium roll and medium hook potential.

 > For a right-handed bowler, the thumb should be at 10.00 with the middle finger at 4.00 and the ring finger at 5.00

 > For a left-handed bowler, the thumb should be at 2.00 with the middle finger at 8.00 and the ring finger at 7.00.

In this position, the fingers will naturally impart sideways spin or tilt on the ball after the thumb drops out of the hole during the release. Under medium lane conditions, this spin will become hooking power on the lane.

This basic position can be expanded upon to complement a variety of releases. For example, if the hand is ‘cocked’ further by positioning the thumb at the 2.00 position (10.00 LBH), more sideways spin and hook potential can be realized. If the position is relaxed so that the thumb is pointed straight up in the 12.00 position, the ball will track staighter and roll more. Techniques that involve ‘uncocking’ the hand at the moment of release can also be used. At the more advanced level, these techniques can be combined with different wrist positions to engineer a broad range of releases.


There are three basic wrist positions: Cupped, Straight and Broken. They are also referred to as the three M’s.

 > A Cupped wrist provides maximum hooking potential.

 > A Straight wrist provides medium hooking potential.

 > A Broken wrist provides minimum hooking potential.

It is recommended that beginners master the straight wrist before experimenting with the other wrist positions. For more experienced bowlers, changing wrist positions is a great technique for varying ball reaction on the lane.

NOTE: If you cup your wrist, do it moderately. If the wrist is cupped so much that you hang in the ball during release, injury may result.

For more info, check out my ebook at ABC To Bowling Strikes & Spares #Vol 1-BASIC FUNDAMENTALS at

Enjoy trying it out.


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