Discovery of the Yoyo Release in Bowling, the key to more hook and higher scores

Learning to hook the ball in bowling is a rite of passage. I’ve found that people who know how to do it well don’t usually share the knowledge. I think this is sort of a defensive thing to keep as much advantage over their opponents (and friends) as possible. 

I know they aren’t all just jerks. It is hard to teach someone a skill. Especially when they are already at their limit in throwing the way they already are throwing the ball. I remember I sort of tried it a few times, but I didn’t think I had the physical traits to do it and so I gave up.

I had bowled since High-school. I pretty much had only a straight ball despite trying to spin the ball and flip the ball over. This was a time before the internet, so I never knew what I was doing wrong. I had an idea but didn’t believe I had the strength to do it correctly. I also didn’t have an inkling of what a proper hook release felt like.

I started bowling two-handed, and one of the benefits is that you can apply the yoyo release to it without a lot of interference from your thumb. In so doing, I learned how to use the yoyo release and hook the ball one-handed.

What is the Yoyo release?

So do you throw the ball like you would a yoyo? How does that even work? The premise is that you have the ball in a cocked position, and then sort of roll it into the lane. Kind of the same action as when you let go of a yoyo. Another analogy is releasing it so you look like Spiderman slinging his web. The wrist goes from a cocked position to a fully cocked position quickly as soon as the thumb exits the ball.

What are the benefits of the Yoyo release?

Back in the day, we used to try to put revolutions on the ball by flicking our fingers and hands upward. This is called hitting up on the ball. As for me, my wrists and arms weren’t strong enough to do this move. I could do it, but it had just enough chaos to mess up my shot, but not enough effect on the ball to have any benefit. Hitting up adds a lot of variance to your throw and aiming. It’s challenging to hit with the same amount of force and direction every time.

The yoyo release on the other hand uses gravity and momentum to your advantage. The ball just falls off your hand, And the unloading off your wrists allows you to be in the ball as long as possible to put more revolutions into the throw.

Adding a strong hook to your throw changes the game. You have added potential for strikes. There’s also a whole new game that exists that your eyes will be opened to in terms of oil, transition, and targeting.

Trying the Yoyo release out

Try this experiment on the lanes. Hold a bowling ball palm up with the middle and pointer fingers in. Now roll the ball off your hand to fall straight onto the floor. This gives you about 200-300 rpms

Now try dropping your wrist out from under you, not so fast that you don’t catch any action on the ball. Try to think of ripping a cord off of a top or a Beyblade as the ball falls off your hand. This will almost double the amount of revolutions you can put on the ball, now you you are into 300-400 rpms. Now you have just as much hook potential as professional bowlers had a few years back. 

Getting better

Now that you have the base ‘feel’ of the static drop. Start adding momentum to your throw. Add some arm swing and throw the ball with this release. Slowly add more swing and more walking speed as you get stronger. It does get exponentially harder to keep the position of the wrist, but that’s what makes bowling so hard in the first place. 

Exercise your hands and wrists to get them stronger. Some notable exercises to try are 

  • chin-ups/pullups
  • Pushups without those pushup stands
  • Crow stands
  • handstands/assisted handstands
  • planks

Thumbless Two handed bowling

Honestly though, fully going two-handed will be a great accelerator to adding a hook to your game. But I realize that is a major undertaking and isn’t always easily accomplished. But my theory is that if I was learning this whole new way to bowl, might as well learn it two-handed.

Revolution Revolution

If you’re interested in getting a free virtual coaching session on hooking the ball whether you bowl 1-handed or 2-handed please email me at We can get you the revs that you seek. 

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