The no thumb bowling discussion

Dec 19th 2022

The discussion of no thumb has been a hot topic since Jason Belmonte began to dominate on the PBA tour.  The first widely known bowler to do this was Mike Miller in the 90s.  

Several pros have publicly spoken out against this style of bowling.  Brian Voss has been one of those bowlers.

Examples of what bowlers are complaining about is this increased rev rates break down the lane conditions quicker.

Think back to the early 70s, and most bowlers had a smooth stroker style.  Then, Mark Roth comes along, with his grip it and rip it style.  The purest was completely upset, but the game changed and everyone adapted.  

Walk into any bowling center around the country, day or night and you will most likely see several bowlers not using their thumb to bowl.  But one thing still remains true.  No matter what your rev rate, or style of bowling, you need to be able to repeat shots.  

If you take the “normal” way of bowling with 2 fingers with thumb and put them into a group, and take the no thumb bowlers and put them into a different group, I am willing to bet that around the same number of bowlers can repeat shots on tougher lane conditions across both groups.

The Professional Bowlers Tour is a small segment of bowling, and you see a large majority of bowlers still bowling with the traditional 3 fingers in the bowling ball.  Yes, there are some differences when bowling with a no thumb bowlers, but there are some disadvantages for the no thumb bowlers as well. With the extremely high rev rates of most no thumb bowlers, weaker bowling balls tend to be used during the block.  

The thumbless release is the next transition in the sport of bowling. Whether you love it or hate it, the thumbless style is here to stay. If the USBC was to step in and regulate thumbless bowlers, I am sure there would be lawsuits to follow. I personally like to see the change in the game, but I still know you have to make great shots when it counts. 

Thanks for reading.