On the Bowling Community Forums, one question keeps popping up. Why can’t I come out of the ball right? After talking with some of these people the answer becomes apparent that usually it’s the fit of their ball. The pro shop will drill the ball how you want it and usually with a fingertip, most of them will start you off with some reverse in the thumbhole. There are many reasons for this. Some drillers believe it will be more comfortable, others don’t like continually working on the same hole because “I’m locking up! I can’t come out of the hole!” I used to say the same thing and I had folks telling me for years that I was squeezing the ball. I never believed it…even though the raw spots and calluses on my thumb proved otherwise. I used powder, chapstick, anything I could find to come out of the hole. One day in frustration I decided maybe “They” were right. I was squeezing. I backed up this revelation by making a wedge out of tape and inserting it into the ball to force me not to squeeze (instructions for the wedge are on my Wedge page). All of a sudden in a snug thumbhole, I’m dropping the ball. Why? I still had reverse pitch. I talked with my ball driller at the time and he gave me his big secret….”Forward Pitch”. He explained that reverse pitch was what caused me to squeeze to hang on. At that time I was also visiting Ron Clifton’s chatroom nightly. He told me the exact same thing. I went back to the driller and he took me to 0 pitch, then later to ¼ forward, where I stay now. It’s not for everyone, and a lot of it depends on the flexibility of your thumb, but if you have trouble releasing the ball, head to your pro shop and have a little talk with the driller. I’ve met folks with holes up to 5/8 reverse who have at least backed it off some and gotten benefits from it. It may not work right away because you’ll still be nervous about the fit. Get used to it…keep it reasonably snug(don’t be afraid of tape)…and give it a chance. As far as lateral pitch (side to side) I’d say a little bit is okay…a lot will cause trouble. If you’re currently having problems like raw spots on either side of the thumbnail, it could be an indication you’re too far in one direction. Currently I’m at 0 in my equipment. A little lateral to one side or the other would best be determined by the pro shop when they check the direction of your thumb.
If you use rubber grips, chances are your fingers are drilled around 0 pitch forward or reverse because the grips add ¼” lift. If you use ovals without the lift, your driller will adjust to fit your style. Some folks use some reverse in the fingers to keep them from lifting too hard, so that they’ll just roll the ball. Reverse is also used if you have stiffness, like from arthritis, in the fingers to ease pain. Lateral pitch for the fingers can only be figured by the driller. Mainly the reason for that is if the drilling’s off one way, the holes can run into each other at the bottom and you eventually could have a cracked bridge in the ball. If it’s off the other way, it could cause pain in the fingers.