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Coaches Corner

The Towel Practice Drill

To improve the consistency of your release technique, use the towel practice drill.

One challenge frequently overlooked that is related to releasing the ball is getting it onto the lane surface at a consistent angle of descent and a consistent distance beyond the foul line.

One simple way of developing a keen sense of when you should release the ball from your hand during your forward swing is to use a bowling towel to help monitor the point of contact that your ball hits the lane surface.

The drill is nothing new or difficult to use. During your practice sessions away from competition, merely place your bowling towel just beyond the foul line across the section of the lane where your ball first contacts the lane bed.

If you wish to get the ball well over the foul line, place the furthest edge of your towel perhaps 18 inches beyond the foul line so you must release the ball over the towel so that it does not move.

If you want your ball to first contact the lane surface in a slightly more standard distance beyond the foul line, place the towel across the area of lane where your ball must clear about 12 inches of distance beyond the foul line to avoid hitting the towel.

If you hit the towel, be careful to avoid walking on the lane past the line and slipping on the oily lane surface in an effort to replace the towel in the same position.

Getting your ball over the foul line the same distance on each shot is a big step in controlling not only your ball speed and loft distance but, importantly, your ball skid distance when it leaves your hand.

Every release tip or drill is designed to help you control your bowling ball reaction.

This simple towel practice drill will surprise you in how useful it is to help you develop a sense of feel when delivering your ball a desired distance onto the lane surface.

Other techniques which can help your release is to rotate your fingers but not your elbow (the dreaded chicken wing!) and staying behind the ball as long as possible before rotating your fingers. To stay behind the ball, keep the palm of your hand under the ball at address and behind the ball as you swing it.  Keep it there as your hand enters the release zone at or near the bottom of your forward swing arc. When you rotate your bowling fingers, avoid also rotating the elbow of your bowling arm. It is possible to rotate your fingers perhaps an inch or slightly more without rotating your elbow. Use the bowling towel practice drill next time you practice so you can fine tune your release technique and get a reliable ball reaction.

Thanks to Rich Carrubba for this tip.


1141 Tucker Road
Hood River, OR 97031
(541) 386-1326


Orchard Lanes Bowling Center is a non-smoking entertainment center offering an automatic state-of-the-art scoring system, video arcade, video poker and snack bar.