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Author Topic: Another forward thumb pitch dilema...advice, please.  (Read 4632 times)

JessN16

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Another forward thumb pitch dilema...advice, please.
« on: January 27, 2012, 07:31:19 PM »
I'll try to make this as short as possible -- over the past 6 months, I've developed multiple pain issues while bowling. Wrist, hand, forearm and elbow.
 
For a long time, I subconsciously knuckled the ball. When I was younger, I got away with it. I'm no longer getting away with it.
 
The main problem is that I cannot get a good feel in the ball. My thumb alternatively sticks and slips inside the thumbhole. Using smaller-size holes only makes the sticking worse, while using larger holes plus tape only makes the slipping worse.
 
Currently, cut-to-cut, my middle finger span is 4 1/8 and my ring span is 4 1/4. My thumbhole is pitched 1/8 reverse and 1/8 away, and these numbers haven't changed in 20 years. Although I drill my own stuff, I recently enlisted the help of a veteran driller to measure me and give me his opinion on how he'd fit me, and he says my current pitches appear, on the surface, to be correct.
 
But the pain I'm feeling says otherwise. Most of it is concentrated on the palm side of my wrist, on the top side of my wrist directly behind my pinky finger, and in the forearm muscle just below the elbow joint. When I squeeze something, it all hurts worse.
 
I've tried different kinds of tapes, I've put Magic Carpet in thumb holes, I've tried different ovaling and beveling. I've tried about a half-dozen wrist braces, and bowling with no brace. No relief. Now it's getting worse instead of better.
 
Recently, the problem grew into a quality-of-life problem. I had to sleep in an elbow-immobilizing brace every night because, for about two months, I had a major flare-up of tennis elbow (I don't play tennis) aggravated by bowling.
 
The only thing I can think of left to try is different pitching in the thumb hole. I want to have a very relaxed grip. The predominant feeling I get when I bowl now is that I'm having to grip the ball for all it's worth. But if I add tape to the thumbhole, it starts hanging up almost instantly.
 
What I need to know is by how much to shorten the span if I were to go from, say, 1/8 reverse to 1/4 or 3/8 forward. I plan to take the lateral back to 0. I've bowled with under lateral before, and it hurt like hell, so I think that's probably out. I'm also for taking other suggestions as to what might be the problem, but I'll warn you ahead of time, I've probably already tried everything else you can think of already.
 
Well, I didn't keep it short after all. Sorry.
 
Jess



 

kidlost2000

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Re: Another forward thumb pitch dilema...advice, please.
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2012, 06:32:43 AM »
Would probably be best to try having it fitted at the proshop with the change in pitches to see how much if any you need to change your span. I'd even consider 0,0 to start on your pitches. It sounds like your really putting a death grip on the bowling ball. Mine is 1/2" reverse and 1/4" away, has been for a long time with no issues. I keep my hand relaxed and get my thumb out of the ball quickly.
 
Any time I did start squeezing the ball too much I felt pain in the top of my hand. Kind of a shooting pain as I'm throwing the ball. This was usually because of me trying to muscle the ball and hook it at the same time. ie really grab at the ball. It was when I learned the more I relaxed my hand the more I was able to hook the ball this went away.
 
I would get remeasured again, or since you drill your own stuff take an older bowling ball you don't use and try drilling a few different pitches and spans in it and see how they feel, If you have a backyard you can go throw a few just to have an idea of if your getting closer or further from your desired results.


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glssmn2001

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Re: Another forward thumb pitch dilema...advice, please.
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2012, 06:41:38 AM »
I agree with the possibility of you trying to squeeze the ball to death. Squeezing will cause you to have problems with a consistent release and can cause you some pain in the end. Your spans are not all that different from mine, my thumb is 1/8 forward and 1/8 under and my finger are pitched to accommodate. I am pretty sure my middle finger is 0/0 and my ring has some lateral and reverse. We arrived at this fit after a few other attempts, the goal was to keep squeezing to a minimum and to make some adjustment to my tilt....


Strider

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Re: Another forward thumb pitch dilema...advice, please.
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2012, 07:16:41 AM »
If you think you're squeezing too much usually either your span is too long or you have too much reverse pitch in your thumb.  After I went forward, when I picked up an old ball, I was amazed how much grip pressure it took to just pick up the ball.  I could only imaging how it would have felt to actually throw it again.

 

Did you happen to throw any on Ron's stuff when you were up?  You span is pretty close, but have no idea on hole sizes.  That's how I got started.  Ron had me throw one of his and emphasized on not squeezing and using little grip pressure.  I threw the ball well.  That's when he let me know the ball had either 3/8" or 1/2" forward (can't remember).

 

If you've tried everything else, you have nothing to lose by trying forward thumb pitch.  If you have a relaxed span, you shouldn't even have to change anything else.  I know my wrist feels so much better than it did in the past.



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LuckyLefty

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Re: Another forward thumb pitch dilema...advice, please.
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2012, 08:15:08 AM »
You haven't mentioned how stretched or relaxed your span is.  You haven't mentioned how you test on a coke bottle test or pencil picking up test(for lateral pitch).

 

Often elbow problwms from bowling are a result of throwing the wrong lateral for your anatomy.

 

Recently I threw a lateral out ball for two or three balls(I test to the ring finger in my coke bottle test dramatic lateral under palm result).  My elbow hurt for a day or two! 

 

Memory in watching you makes me think you use a fairly short relaxed span and stay very behind the ball, but it has been quite awhile.

 

 

 

Regards,

 

Luckylefty


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Stan

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Re: Another forward thumb pitch dilema...advice, please.
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2012, 09:14:51 AM »
Another item to consider is the makeup of your skin.  Do you have dry skin or is your skin moist ?  Depending on the climate you are in this will have a dramatic effect on your thumb release.

 

I have and continue to have thumb issues.  I have very dry skin and need the thumb fairly tight during the winter months just to hold on.  During the warmer months, I am fine.  I started using Vise IT's and they helped out a lot.

 

Another comment is with you span size, I feel 1/8 reverse is too much.  My span is R - 4 3/16 and L = 4 1/8 and I use 1/8 forward.  I have gone as far as 1/4 forward but I do tend to squeeze a bit and that was too much.

 

I suggest going to zero reverse first and see how that feels. 

 

Thought about your elbow problem.  Are you sure your elbow is not out during your release ?  If it is, this will put a lot of strain on your elbow and cause problems.  Your best bet is to take a video of yourself.  You can either post it here, bowling chat, or just look at it yourself to see if you can pick up and items that might be causing your problems.  Either way, this would be a good starting point.

 

 



JessN16

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Re: Another forward thumb pitch dilema...advice, please.
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2012, 08:15:30 PM »
Thanks for all the responses. I will try to answer the questions asked by everyone in this post:
 
1) Elbow position at release: I have videoed myself over the past couple of months and I don't see any issues there. I do tend to be very parallel to the target line with everything, as much as possible, and I don't swing the ball much unless I absolutely have to. My arm swing, on video, does not seem to have changed from videos taken 3-4 years ago. One thing I left out of the original post was that my elbow injury (tennis elbow) was originally worsened by another injury I suffered moving a large bed out of our bedroom. I'm not even sure bowling has that much to do with it, really. 
 
2) Coke bottle test/professional refitting: In the original post, I mentioned consulting a veteran driller this week on what he thought my pitches should be. We did both the Coke bottle and the pick-up-a-pencil tests. With the bottle, I'm 1/8 away, my current pitch. This was the method used by my former driller to do a refit on me about 6 years ago. With the pencil, I come out at 0. I do know from throwing some of Jeff Carter's old stuff that I can't bowl with under pitch, as it was severely irritating the nerve at the base of my thumb. 
 
3) Finger flexibility/skin quality: I have a very flexible hand and supple joints with no arthritic intrusion. I typically have average skin moisture. Occasionally I will get moisture on the back of my hand, but the palms of my hands never sweat, ever.
 
4) Span stretch: My span is completely textbook or maybe a bit relaxed, by only 1/8 inch if that.
 
I think the issue is that I should always have had forward pitch, but I was able to make reverse work by squeezing, except the days of making that work are gone and my body is telling me, "get it right."
 
I'm going to plug a couple of balls this weekend and try something between 1/8 forward and 3/8 forward and see what works best.
 
Jess



TLefe091985

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Re: Another forward thumb pitch dilema...advice, please.
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2012, 08:32:59 PM »
I used to have a problem with my thumb swelling a lot during bowling causing me to stick in the ball, but needing tape when I first start, because I opened the hole to make up for the swelling. Then I seen on ebay, and a local bowling distributer shop called a Thumb Sock. Its a thin piece of Lycra that fits snug over the thumb. With a piece of white tape on both sides of the whole, gave it enough grip to hang on to the ball, while still coming off very smooth on release. Just something to try out if nothing else works with the slip and stick issues of your thumb.

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Xx 12 X 300 xX

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Re: Another forward thumb pitch dilema...advice, please.
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2012, 10:03:13 PM »
This might be the un-popular answer but I find that some people, including myself who have had issues with fit or grip are using too heavy of a bowling ball.
 
I searching for a long time for the perfect fit and never really found it.   Since I am getting older faster than I want to I went down to a 14lb bowling ball and it's been nothing but perfect ever since.   All the extra force, and the feelings that I once had with 15s are now gone.
 
You might say that a lighter ball might make your scores lower, and that is a very individual type thing.  I've gone back up into the 225-230 avg. range that I once was a few years ago.   Some houses it's alittle tougher and ball/ball dynamics/entry angle needs to be right (becomes more of a thinking game, and not all that bad really)
 
We might be very strong individuals but at that release point the bowling ball is 5x its normal weight.
 
If you struggle with fit, find a very good pro shop and then if you still feel there problems give the ball weight a try. 
 
I like my thumb to get out quick with a bowling ball.  I've tried all the hair brained forward pitch tricks and its been nothing but either more pain, or terrible releases.   Some people just need to get out of the ball at the proper position in their release point and the on paper grip "stats" do not allow that.   Remember the pitch in the thumb controls how quickly the ball comes off the thumb and when it comes off the thumb.  When you make these changes your also going to change those two parts of the release.   Think about the feel your trying to achieve at the bottom and then have your pro shop do what they need to do to get you to feel that in your equipment.   If its a more than the normal reverse, than so be it...if its more forward than so be it.   Don't cookie cutter yourself  into a grip...that does not work!!

 
Edited by Xx 12 X 300 xX on 1/28/2012 at 11:09 PM

JessN16

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Re: Another forward thumb pitch dilema...advice, please.
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2012, 10:32:33 PM »
Where most of my pain is coming is when the ball loads itself onto the hand in the backswing. From that point on back, then back through, I hurt and struggle to hold onto the ball.
 
If I take a ball, even a 16-pounder (I throw mostly 15s, although I do have some 16-pound equipment), and tape up the thumb hole to intentionally lock my thumb in it so the ball has no chance of coming off, I don't hurt nearly as much, or even hurt at all. This tells me there's some kind of active squeezing/gripping going on to keep the ball on my hand. Now I've got to figure out why I have an allegedly ideal span, pitches that match what my Coke bottle test says I should have, yet still have a ton of pain after years of mostly pain-free bowling.
 
Jess



Xx 12 X 300 xX

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Re: Another forward thumb pitch dilema...advice, please.
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2012, 06:27:15 AM »
I think your answer might be to tape up the holes as tight as you can get them.   Maybe use alittle bit of forward pitch and make the holes tight.
 
If you can clear the thumb doing this than all should be well for you.
 
Some guys ram their thumb into the hole and they get out of it so clean.   If that is what you need to do, than give it a try. 



LuckyLefty

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Re: Another forward thumb pitch dilema...advice, please.
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2012, 09:18:51 AM »
I think it would be really interesting to know, when you tape up a ball are you taping up the front and the back?  And eliminating pain?

 

If you are taping up the front you are in effect increasing bevel..  The front lip surface now effectively has a reduced angle.  For some reason I would guess you have a small amount of bevel.  When you discussed Jeff Carter at 0 lateral pitch causing damage to the nerve under your thumb I think of actually the combination of forward/reverse pitch and the amount of bevel under the front surface.  I assume your pain was not on the side as that would be unusual in describing a nerve or pinging feeling.

 

Let me state I have nothing against lateral out pitch as a year or so ago I recommended it to a much better bowling friend and he is up 10 to 12 pins across 3 leagues as it fit his thumb perfectly.

 

When a person goes lateral more under from wher he is say lateral out 1/8 to 0 then he should also add a little more reverse say 1/16 or more as lateral under increases hod the thumb more in the ball.

 

As a guy who has many old balls, his own drill press, and all the ability to test it would not hurt you to try 0 lateral and increase your current reverse 1/16 or even an 1/8.  Naturally as always implement the Mo Pinel bevel test.  There is no doubt using Mo's bevel technique that by applying this technique you can get out of nearly any setup from 1/4 forward and 1/4 lateral out to 5/16 lateral under and 5/16 reverse.  Which one will give you the ideal roll I don't know but I can assure you by using that technique that you could have made your Jeff Carter () pitch lateral balls come off like butter with no pain.

 

Hope to hear about some pain reducing progress.

 

Regards,

 

Luckylefty

PS most guys who are using  lateral out that should be using something else in lateral pitch will have a clear sign in  that they can mostly only play fairly straight thru the heads.  My friend above who tested 1/4 lateral out in the coke bottle test and now uses 3/16 lateral out can loop the lane or play straight now that he is at his anatomically correct pitch.


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JustRico

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Re: Another forward thumb pitch dilema...advice, please.
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2012, 08:17:15 PM »
the issue here is the damage that has been done. As long as you continue to bowl, you are going to hurt as you are going to be continually pulling on it. Once you damage certain tendons which is what you have done, it is basically going to continue as long as you bowl. The tendons you have damaged pertain to your ring finger side.

A possible option is going lighter in weight. Unfortunately accept that you have damaged it.


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JessN16

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Re: Another forward thumb pitch dilema...advice, please.
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2012, 11:55:40 PM »
A quick update...
 
I plugged up some balls tonight to give me some options tomorrow night at league. The best feeling of the bunch was drilled with 3/8 forward, which represents a total move of 1/2 inch for me (1/8 reverse to 3/8 forward).
 
I also decreased the size of my pilot hole to 57/64 from 15/16 and then broke out the files and blades and spent the better part of the evening shaping the holes. 
 
I have no idea how this will translate to the lanes, but as I swapped these new balls out for the old ones in my bag, I could tell a difference in comfort while holding the new equipment. Even picking up the old balls out of the bag required me to squeeze a good bit. The new stuff just hangs on my hand. I'll report back tomorrow night with the results.
 
Jess
 
(p.s.: For the ball junkies, the new stuff is an AMF Clutch Pearl, 900 Global Break Pearl, AMF Nkryption Code and a Lane #1 Gold Nugget. Since I know some people just have to know those kind of things. :) )
 



LuckyLefty

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Re: Another forward thumb pitch dilema...advice, please.
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2012, 06:30:01 AM »
Please tell us you are not throwing a 1/2 inch move forward right off the bat in league.

 

Please put thumb in 1/2 way.  Throw slowly, have EMT's on standby!  The area past the foul line for humans is a dangerous place.

 

Good luck, be safe!

 

REgards,

 

Luckylefty


It takes Courage to have Faith, and Faith to have Courage.

James M. McCurley, New Orleans, Louisiana
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