Lesson 2 - Body Mechanics
Understanding how you release the ball is important. Being able to alter your release to adjust to different situations will help you control your ball reaction to carry more strikes.
A great way to teach a beginner how to hook the ball is to use a football as a teaching aid. Holding the point of the football on the heel of the hand and pointing your index finger and the other point of the football at your target line, all you have to do is "bowl" the football releasing it so that it spirals. Playing catch this way with a coach or a partner will help to feel the proper way to release an actual bowling ball. An advanced technique is to practice different hand positions and watch what happens to the revolution rate of the football.
If you place your palm under the ball (cupping) you will be able to achieve a high rev rate. Place your palm to the side like the shake hands grip and you will get a reduced rev rate on the football. Hold the football like the suitcase grip and your rev rate will be very low. It is an advanced skill to be able to consistently adjust your rev rate to match oil conditions or just to throw the ball straighter at spares.
TAlong with balance and armswing, the release is a critical component to consistency. Rev rate is simply how fast the ball spins. You can adjust this rate by using different hand positions as mentioned in the previous paragraph. The other two factors controlled by the release are axis rotation and axis tilt. Any inconsistencies in these two factors will change the hook potential of the ball and, therefore, strike potential.
Imagine the ball spinning down the lane and imagine there is a steel rod going through the ball so that the ball is rotating perfectly around the steel rod. This rod is the axis of rotation. If the rod is perfectly even with the lane, it is said to have zero tilt. With zero tilt and with the rod being in line with the foul line, the ball will roll in a straight line with little hook potential. The more the rod turns without tilting, the more hook potential you have. When the rod turns so it is now pointing along the target line, it has 90 degrees of axis rotation.
A ball rolling in this manner has the greatest potential for hooking but it affords the athlete the least amount of control on the back ends. Finding the middle ground at 45 degrees will give you adequate hook potential and give you the best chance to effectively play a variety of lane conditions.
How much the rotational axis of the ball tilts upward determines how much of the ball's surface will be in contact with the lane. Imagine the most extreme tilt where the steel rod is pointing straight up in the air. The ball will spin on one spot all the way down the lane and never get into a roll. A ball with zero tilt will have the most surface possible contacting the lane and will have the most potential for hook.
Understanding that your release determines revolutions and the angles of axis tilt and rotation is important to be consistent with your ball reaction. Knowing how to adjust your release to change these factors to match lane conditions is a necessity for the advanced bowler.