I hope that if you are serious enough to want to raise your average above 180 that you take the time to watch the best in the world.  Every week I watch the PBA televised events, even though the matches were decided weeks, to months ago.    Sometimes I have to DVR the telecasts to watch them, due to a busy schedule.  There are many things you can pick up whether it is a new way to make a spare, a different angle to attack the lanes, or just understand what the new equipment is supposed to do.  The one thing I have noticed with younger bowlers today is that they have tried to evolve along with the game to create more revolutions by either throwing with two hands or throwing with one hand and no thumb to create more revolutions.

Osku Polermaa and Jason Belmonte are a rare breed that has mastered the two handed bowling technique.  While this technique may work for some, I don’t think this is a great way to teach new bowlers, and bowlers that are averaging below 180 to play the game.  As I have talked about in the past one of the most important pieces to the game is spare shooting, and filling frames.  I personally believe that it is best to shoot at spares with one hand and to teach great techniques about keeping your hand behind the ball.  When throwing with two hands or without a thumb, bowlers have a tendency to throw a ball that has a much more aggressive hook, and therefore make spare shooting a guessing game due to the fact that you have to not only take in account the hook of the ball but know the entire lane as to where the oily, and dry spots are.   Throwing with two hands in my mind makes this game a lot harder to teach, and will frustrate that average bowler.

With that said there are great benefits to throwing with two hands as we saw this week watching the WSOB.  On the first ball there is a major advantage to throwing with two hands if you can control your hook.  Almost all two handed bowlers that have worked at this technique throw the ball extremely hard, and when hit the pocket get some amazing pin action.  Part of the reason there is such great pin action is because the ball is coming in at an extremely fast rate, but more importantly comes in at a greater angle into the pocket giving you the best chance to strike.  Osku proved this to be true again and again getting some amazing pin action, and catching a few breaks along the way to secure his first ever PBA major title, and become the first two handed bowler to do so.

Please remember as a bowler to stay within yourself, and to do what you can physically do.  Not everyone can throw with two hands or no thumb.  Again I would not encourage this technique as it will be harder to stay consistent in your shot.  If you are a two handed bowler or a bowler that throws with no thumb we would like to hear your comments below as to how you learned to throw this shot, and what you average in your league, and why you think this is a great technique.

I hope that you will continue to follow my column, and enjoy each weeks tips along the way.  If you would like individualized tips or would like to comment on my column, please feel free to write your comments below or email me at mike@above180.com.  Also if you would like to follow me on twitter my twitter name is @mikebonk84, for the latest bowling updates or the newest columns on above180.com.

Until next time, Shred that Rack!


The Messenger



  1. Ritchie says:

    I used to bowl with one hand. But I have had thumb stuck issues for a very long time because I have a very big thumb that is huge in the middle but skinny at the tip and back. So I decided to try two handed style. Of course, as I said I use to bowl with one hand so I could pick up spares with one hand. But as for two handed. its not exactly different from one hand. At the point of release, your bowling arm is straight, just like with one hand, you flip the ball of your hands too. One thing people have to really concentrate on is where you release the ball. Its hard to cradle the ball with two hands and when you release you have to make sure you are standing on the right spot, throwing to the right arrow as well. Its not that hard actually if you know how to bowl one handed already. Just have to practise. Everything needs practise.

    • Not Belsku says:

      You are correct. There are many similarities between two-handing and one-handing. Some one-handers are more extreme than two-hander even. The main difference is that we can, but don’t have to, use our thumbs. We also have more support and control than one-handed, no-thumb bowlers. (At our relative skill levels.) Plus, backing up the ball is easier.

      Don’t forget: Two-handed approach, one-handed release. One-step and foul line drills can be helpful. And learn to shoot your spares two-handed! haha

      Watch how Belmo can control his spare ball on one shot, then loft the gutter on another shot, or ride straight up the outside. That’s pure skill. Like you said, just have to practise…a lot!

  2. Not Belsku says:

    The first league I bowled in, I threw Taipei spinner style (pretty much straight) and averaged 141. Over the last few years I’ve switched to a two-handed hook. I also shoot my spares two-handed and usually fairly straight. I just finished a THS league with a 178 average. Not impressive, but an improvement.

    (Next year I plan to get above 180. I did start above 180, but managed to “correct” that. haha At least I managed to break my high game barrier of 250 a few times this year and shoot a few 600’s. I also shot a few nice games on sport patterns. Ironically, sometimes sport is easier.)

    For me personally, I think I need to stop thinking, monitoring, and analyzing so much. In other words, I need to get out of my own way! At the same time, I’m still changing and developing my physical game. That is one downside to two-handing; there isn’t as much quality coaching available.

    As for advice on two-handing… First, don’t think of it as a way just to get maximum hook..all the time. A big hook is easy, but straighter can be /safer./ When you need it, that big hook will be there.

    Second, have the discipline to learn to shoot most of your spares straight AND two-handed. That will also teach you how to tame your hook release when that is needed. (Switching to one hand is “cheating!” haha)

    Third, a plastic ball, a urethane ball, and a smooth reactive ball are good things to own. We don’t need as much help turning the corner. We do need to control the breakpoint and drive through the pocket.

    I’ve seen a bunch of other two-handers who are better than me. Ones in high school even. I started late and I’m not the youngest two-hander. What can I say?

    If you’re going to bowl two-handed, commit to being your best at it. (It can’t hurt to develop a one-handed hook on the side though.) We have seen it’s potential. Not only in Osku and Belmo, but others on Team USA and Junior Team USA. There is also Bolivia in which the entire national team is taught to two-hand! You’re no longer part of an isolated, tiny group. Be proud! hehe

  3. Not Belsku says:

    Oh, I’d like to add that I wish more girls and women would take up the two-handed approach. Males usually have the advantage when it comes to revs and ball weight. Two-handing could potentially balance the scales in those regards. After all, the initial purpose of two-handing is to handle the weight of the ball. It also makes chasing the oil in easier because it’s easier to create entry angle. Just “throwing” that out there. ^_^

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