Bowling Grips: 3 Different Grips and How They Can Affect Your Game

Close up photo of bowling balls in ball return

Bowling is a deceptively simple sport. In theory, it’s just tossing a ball down an aisle to knock some pins over. But in execution? Well, it’s a lot more challenging than it sounds, and whether you win often comes down to the seemingly minor details—for instance, your grip on the ball. 

If you’re new to bowling, you probably only know one grip. Keep reading to learn about the different bowling grips and how they affect your game, from the pros at Richmond 40 Bowl

Bowling Grips

Standard or Conventional Grip

This is the most basic grip, the one that you’ve probably used before and that most bowlers use when they’re starting out or still developing their game. Here’s how to do it: 

  • Insert your thumb in the bottom hole up to the knuckle. 
  • Insert your middle and ring fingers completely into the other holes, past your second knuckle. 

Pros: The conventional grip is a tried-and-true classic for a reason. It provides a lot of control over the ball. That’s great if you’re trying not to roll a gutter ball! Plus, it’s secure, so you don’t feel like you’re about to drop it. It’s a good solution if you’re using an alley ball instead of your own ball drilled to fit your hand. 

Cons: All of that security and control comes with a price—you’ll find it much harder to get a hook on your ball. The best way to get strikes in bowling is to throw a hook so that the ball arcs down the lane in a curved path, increasing the chance that it will take out multiple bowling pins.  

Fingertip Grip

Once you feel comfortable with the basic conventional grip, you can move up to the fingertip grip. To do this one, put your thumb all the way in the bottom hole, but only place your ring finger and middle finger in the holes up to your first knuckle. 

Pros: If you’re a regular bowler who owns your own custom drilled ball fit to your hand, this will allow you to get more of a hook on your ball. That’s how you roll strikes!

Cons: This bowling grip is harder to hold onto, and if you don’t have the proper strength in your hand and fingers, you might drop the ball or release sooner than you meant to. 

Semi-Fingertip Grip

If you’ve got the basics down pat, step your game up by perfecting the semi-fingertip grip. To do this grip, insert your thumb in the bottom hole to the knuckle, then insert your middle and ring fingers in the other holes only up to the point between your first and second knuckles. 

Pros: This grip has it all, allowing you the hook you need while still providing security. Cons: It can be challenging if you don’t yet have the strength and dexterity in your hand to pull it off.