Pros play the inside of the ball

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The title of this article authored by Jim Merrell paraphrases a comment heard by a forum member while viewing a PBA telecast.
Source: http://forum.bowlingchat.net/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=8158 post #10


What follows are the Musings of Jim Merrell, offered to clarify and explain just what working the inside vs. working the outside of the ball means. If you like this article, remember to visit Jim's original post and click the green plus sign.


Wouldn’t it be great if the PBA Tour went back to presenting a “Tip of the Week”, that added value to the game.

Saying the Pro’s play the inside of the ball and the amateurs play the outside of the ball is opportunistic moment to educate the bowling public. But what does the mean without a visual reference? The comment probably flew over the heads of most viewers, and others like you are left guessing. With all the technology available today, a thirty second infomercial would go a long way towards growing our sport.

The following is my interpretation of the announcer’s comment. Read at your own risk.

This article is not to suggest that this is the only way to bowl, just an explanation of how to make the inside out release happen if you choose to give it a try.


Inside to Outside reference points

20130614 file1.jpg


To understand what this means we must have a reference point. In my first attachment, I have drawn a vertical line through the center of the ball as my Reference Line. Additionally, I have shown representation of the hand being Inside, Behind and Outside the Reference Line.

As the swing and ball enter the release area (this is defined as the ball position being just slightly behind the calf of the slide leg) while the hand is still positioned on the Inside of the Reference Line.

As the swing and ball near the bottom of the swing the hand moves to a position approximately Behind the Reference Line.

As the swing nears the front of the foot the hand has rotated to a position on the Outside of the Reference Line.

So in a distance of approximately 14-16 inches the hand rotates from a position Inside of the Reference Line to a position Outside of the Reference Line.

This is what the announcer was referring to when he stated the Pro’s played the inside of the ball. See the Pro release examples below for further reference.

Note: the examples shown all have maintained some degree of wrist cock as they enter the release area. Their high rev rates are a resultant of rapidly uncocking and rotating the hand from Inside to Outside the Reference Line in a short time frame.


Pro Example 1

20130614 file2.jpg

Pro Example 2

20130614 file3.jpg

Pro Example 3

20130614 file4.jpg

Pro Example 4

20130614 file5.jpg


Let’s now take a look at the physical game technique leading up to the ability to play the inside.

As you can see in RR1 (below), by the time Ronnie’s back swing has reached the bottom of the back swing he has incorporated quite a bit of wrist cock (which is defined by the blue lines).
Incorporating wrist cock makes it much easier to keep the hand on the inside of the ball all the way up to the top of his swing in RR4.

Ronnie’s gravity controlled downswing from RR4 to RR7 allows him to maintain the wrist cock set going back in RR1 well into the down swing as seen in RR7.

Once in this position, it’s time to work the inside to outside release as explained previously.

Jim Merrell - Ronnie Russell.jpg




Playing the Outside of the Ball.

Again I will utilize the red Reference Line, but have added a green line at the ball’s equator.

Let’s look at two examples of playing the Outside of the ball.


Amateur A


20130614 file6.jpg

As the swing and ball enter the release area the hand is already on the Outside of our Reference Line. Additionally the fingers are positioned quite a ways above the ball’s Equator Line (green reference line).

As the swing and ball near the bottom of the swing in Slide 2 you can see the broken position of the wrist as indicated by the blue lines. Fingers above the Equator Line & broken wrist position - two power leaks.

As the swing nears the front of the foot the fingers are positioned very near the top of the ball. This is more than likely a high tilt / low rev rate type release.


Amateur B

20130614 file7.jpg

As the swing and ball enter the release area the hand is already on the Outside of our Reference Line. However the fingers are still positioned very near the ball’s Equator Line and his wrist is in a slightly cupped position.

As the swing and ball near the bottom of the swing in Slide 2, you can see that the wrist and forearm are in a very straight line with the fingers positioned right on the Equator Line.

As the swing nears the front of the foot the fingers are still close to the Equator Line. Amateur B’s rev rate is probably in the 300-350 range.

Hope this helps.

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