How to Hold a Bowling Ball

Learning how to hold a bowling ball correctly will greatly increase your bowling scores. Whether you are a beginner or an intermediate player how you hold the ball can make all the difference in achieving that new high score.
How to hold a bowling ball

In this article, we will explore some methods for holding the ball in order to make sure you’re doing it right.

There are Several Different Grips to be Aware of

The best grip is the one that feels most comfortable to you, however, here are the following types of grips to be aware of if you are trying to experiment or increase your score.

Conventional Grip


If you are new to bowling, try the conventional grip. This grip is comfortable and gives you good control over the ball. Most beginners and intermediate bowlers use this grip.

To do it, slide your thumb all the way into the hole. Your middle and ring fingers should each be in their hole up to the second knuckle.

Common Bowling Grip

This is one of the most common bowling grips. It is used by beginner and moderate bowlers. You can use this grip with the 3 hole ball drill.

To set yourself up for the conventional grip, put your thumb in the single hole on the ball.


Put your hand against the ball and slide your middle and ring fingers into the two holes above the thumb hole. They should go in comfortably to the second knuckle.

To hold the ball, keep your pointer and pinky fingers flat against its surface. There should be minimal to no strain when you try to lift up the ball using this grip.

More Control

The conventional grip is a good grip for bowlers who want more control over their ball. This grip will help prevent the ball from hooking, which can make it difficult to roll the ball in a straight line.

If you’re working with a house ball or one that hasn’t been prepared specifically for your hand, this grip is considered to be the ideal grip.

Rev Rate

This grip has a downside because its rev rate (the number of times the ball turns on its axis) is lower than with other grips. This can make it hard to hook the ball or give it more spin.

If you are a bowling enthusiast, you can always buy a bowling ball that has an exceptionally high rev rate to overcome this caveat.

How to Properly Hold a Bowling Ball with a Conventional Grip


Once you have a good grip on the bowling ball, you can lift it to find the one that feels best and suits you.

A typical bowling ball has three holes. Two are side by side and one is located below the other two. There are however bowling balls with different numbers of holes.

Put your middle finger and ring finger in the side-by-side holes. Put your thumb in the thumb hole.

Make sure that your fingers are inserted as deeply as possible into the holes. If you are a beginner, this should typically be down to your second knuckle joint on each finger.

Some pro bowlers experiment with shallow insertions to add different spins to the ball when they throw it.

The Fingertip Grip

The fingertip grip is for more experienced bowlers.

You still fully insert your thumb, but only insert your middle and ring fingers up to the first knuckle.

This grip requires more strength than the conventional grip and it makes the ball more difficult to control. This grip allows for more hooking and pin carry.

Many advanced bowlers use the fingertip grip to increase their hook and scores.

Harder to Hold

This type of grip is harder to hold onto and can cause strain in the fingers, but once adjusted you will find that throwing a hook becomes more natural and easier to execute.

If you have difficulty keeping your finger inside the ball, you can get a ball drilled specifically for your fingertip grip. Bowling balls with high rev rate also pair really well with this grip.

Semi-Fingertip Grip

This grip is a combination of the two grips mentioned before.

As you might expect, this grip requires the thumb to be fully inserted and the middle and ring finger to be in between the first and second knuckle.

More Hook

The semi fingertip grip gives you more power to hook the ball and more control over the ball.

This grip is only for the bowlers who have mastered both the conventional and the fingertip grip.

This grip is more comfortable than the fingertip grip, but it doesn’t offer as much control. You need to be good at controlling your ball and managing your grip if you want to use this style of grip.

Sarge Easter Grip

The sarge easter grip is a grip that is not used very often in leagues and tournaments.

This grip attempts to blend the conventional and fingertip grips into one design. Fingertip grip hole locations are established for the thumb and index finger, while the ring finger hole is drilled in conventional style.

This grip is designed to assist the ball’s forward roll and alleviate tension on the ring finger. Many bowlers use this grip because it helps them have a more forward roll by reducing the ball’s rotation.

Another benefit of the sarge Easter grip is that it reduces finger tension, particularly on the ring finger.

Some bowler use this grip because of injury or arthritis.

This grip does require a large experimental and adjustment period. Before deciding to purchase a bowling ball with this grip see if anyone in your league has a sarge easter drilled ball you could borrow and practice with.

Which Bowling Grip Should I Use?

Stand with colorful bowling balls in club

Knowing the grip you use and what to expect from that grip can help improve your game.

If you want to improve your game, you should try new grip styles. Don’t be afraid to switch back and forth between them.

Try to master these grip styles if you are trying to become a better bowler. Just remember that conventional grips are always a good start.

Why Is It So Important to Have a Good Finger Grip?

How you grip your ball is very important when bowling. Your grip will control how fast the ball goes, how you release the ball, how consistent your revolutions will be, and the direction of the ball.


Your grip also aids you in aiming your ball and maintaining consistent throws. Having a good grasp for you is critical to raising your scores, as it plays an important part in so many areas of your throw.

Why You Should Learn How to Hold a Bowling Ball

Most people learn how to grip and pick up a bowling ball by themselves. Usually, people use a house ball from a bowling alley when they are learning.

We learn how to move our body, arms, and fingers in just the right way to make the ball go down the lane and hit the pins. We may also learn how to aim and approach on our own, by trying different things and seeing what works best.

If you were self-taught, you most likely learned how to bowl using a ball with three holes drilled into it: two for your middle and ring fingers and one for your thumb.

There are different types of bowling ball hole drills. Some have two holes, some have four, and some have five or even no holes.

How Do You Know Your Ball Is the Right Fit?

Bowling balls can have a variety of attributes that will help your playing style. Your middle and ring finger should always feel comfortable.

Your grip should always be comfortable, with enough space in the holes to allow your fingers easy entry and exit, both during stationary holding and release.

Finding the Right Fit

House balls can have different-sized holes, as long as they’re big enough for your fingers.

You don’t want them to be too tight, and you don’t want them to be too loose. However, if the holes are set at the right distance apart, this isn’t usually a huge problem.

First, put your thumb into the thumb hole. Lay your middle and ring fingers over the finger holes.

Hold the bowling ball ( middle and ring fingers bowling tips)

  • Put your thumb in the bottom hole.
  • Then, put your middle and ring fingers into the other two holes.
  • Your fingers should be placed in the holes in a way that is comfortable for you.
  • Make sure that your fingers are all the way through the hole.
  • In the end, you should hold the bowling ball securely in your hand.

Professional bowlers often experiment with the depth of their finger insertion to put different spins on the ball as they release it from their hands.

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