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Grip Test as illustrated by Don Johnson

This is something illustrated by Don Johnson on his first video "A Pro's Guide to Better Bowling Volume 1, it is a "test" to see if the thumb-hole is too loose or too snug.

Requirements: the ball, some bowlers tape, a tool to add or remove tape. Caveat: the objective of this test is for the ball to drop off the thumb following an action an assistant will perform. A bowler could do this solo. The bowler can be standing up or kneeling down so the ball does not fall far!

Before performing the test, the bowler should check the ball to see if the ball is obviously too tight or too loose. Adjust the fit if needed.

Once the bowler thinks it fits well, the bowler should insert their fingers and thumb in the ball as per norm.

Next, the bowler should hold the ball down by their bowling side in a collapsed wrist position. Definition: Collapsed wrist in this context is like you would position palm to push yourself away from the table or on the floor to do pushups. The bowlers palm should be facing towards the floor and the ball should stay on because you've already checked to see if it was too loose. If it does slip off, add tape. If it stays on, the assistant should position their hand on the back of the bowlers bowling hand (the flip side of the palm). Now press down and straighten out the bowlers wrist. If the ball stays on, the thumb is too tight ( adjust the thumb hole tape ) If the ball easily drops off, the fit is good, this is what we are looking for.


Mental Game Toolbox


A drill useful for helping a student feel a free arm swing:

1) Have them assume their address position, with the ball positioned close to the body

The drill requires three non-stop repetitions: Do A & B twice A) Move the arm / ball forward until the ball side elbow is at the front of the body. B) Then allow the arm to un-hinge and freely swing the ball into the back swing, returning the swing forward to their initial address position supported by both hands. C) On the third time begin the feet with the movement of the ball forward and make a complete approach and delivery.

It's important that the tempo of the three swings is the same: Swing one, swing two and start the approach with swing three. When the ball returns to the initial staring position each time it is important to immediately start the next swing. Do not allow a pause!Underlined text

The goal is to keep the swing in constant motion, synchronizing the third start with the movement of the feet. Most people who muscle the start (too much grip pressure) will have difficulty at first.

From a coaches stand point, I often find it necessary to position my hand between the ball and the bowler's body on the return of the second swing. Often the student will pause too long on the return of the second swing, trying to establish the feel of their normal start for the third swing.

Having your hand positioned properly will allow you to initiate the start of the third swing and prevent a pause. If you have to initiate the start of the third swing, make sure the student just keeps the feet moving. Repetions will ease the dis-comfort.