Cupping The Wrist in Bowling For More Hook

Cupping the wrist in bowling is a way to increase your hook and deliver more power to the pins. If you have your ball drilled for fingertip grip, then you know the fingertip grip in itself produces more lift on the ball. And also cupping the wrist in bowling, you will increase the rotation even more. The result? More power in the pocket and more pin action.

Is that all you need to bowl better, and get those monster scores? Unfortunately, no. This is after you make sure you have all the basic skills in place. Such as your starting stance, footwork, arm-swing, balance, timing and proper release as well. If you know that your footwork or your balance is off, cupping your wrist isn’t going to improve your game. You are the one who knows where the problem might be, so if one of those is a problem area, you will have to correct it first.

Cupping the Wrist in Bowling & Proper Release

When you first try to cup your wrist, it will feel different. This in turn might cause the slight distraction that causes you to make a mistake elsewhere. For example, getting you elbow out to far in your arm-swing and affecting your release.

The elbow out away from your body, causes you to move your hand from the bottom of the ball and come around the side too early. At that point you have affected how you release the ball.

Changing wrist position will take some practice first, and not something you want to try out this week for the first time in leagues.

It can affect your timing as well, by causing you to clench the ball and hold on too long. But a little practice and you will have a great tool for your bowling game. Once you learn and get a good feel for the position of your wrist, you will play the different patterns with more confidence.

Wrist Tips From Norm Duke


Basic Wrist Positions

The Cupped Wrist

Cupping your wrist is the position for the most hook. If you want to move into the oil and play inside a bit, then a stronger shot is desired. This can be accomplished by cupping your wrist to achieve more revs on the ball.

However it is also an unnatural position for your wrist, and feels slightly uncomfortable. Whenever I adjust to do this, I am out of my comfort zone.I like the feel the best using a slightly cupped wrist more so than a fully cocked wrist.

Fully Cocked Wrist

The more you cock your wrist, the harder it is to be accurate on your shots.So, it’s a trade off of accuracy for hook. I prefer to be as accurate as possible. Some bowlers like to play an area for strikes when they bowl, thus the fully cocked wrist is their preference.

This cupped position of the wrist produces far more revs and imparts significant energy to the shot. This energy will be noticeable when the ball exits the oil and and releases its energy when it hits the pocket. In most conditions this greater inertia is advantageous for minimizing deflection when the ball hits the pins.

But what if you don’t need all that hook? If the lanes are a bit drier in the backends (the spot in front of the pins), then it might be too much. All that turn may overpower the pins and leave a lot of taps. 8 pins for left handers, or 9 pins for right handers. The advanced player could put extreme turn on the ball to get it to flatten out or roll out some before it hits the pocket.

Less advanced players may  need to flatten your wrist some to take a bit of hook off the ball. That would allow the ball to become weaker and not overpower the pins as much.

The Flat Wrist

When you position your wrist in a neutral or flat position, you have your maximum accuracy to make a decent shot. This is because it is the natural and most relaxed position for your wrist. This also reduces the revs(revolutions) you will get on your ball.

The Weak Wrist

When you encounter those dry lanes and your ball is overpowering the lanes.Drop your wrist back and take the hook off the ball. This is also known as “Killing the Shot”. This is also good for making spare shots, where you want to obtain a straighter path on the ball. However, this is also an unnatural feeling wrist position, and would take some getting used to. It would likely affect control until you got used to the feel of it.

USBC Video – Flat vs Cupped Wrist Positions


Regardless of which position you are using, the important thing to remember is to keep the wrist locked into position throughout the arm-swing until the release. This is much harder to do when using a fully cocked wrist and the weak wrist positions.


Here is a Video comparing different pros and their release styles


Using a Wrist SupportStorm Gizmo Wrist Support for cupping the wrist in bowling

To make the wrist positions easier to maintain, I would recommend using an adjustable wrist support. In that way, you can adjust the support in the position you want to maintain.

This is especially useful for bowlers learning how to cup the wrist. Also, seniors who may need some support help with wrist position. Seasoned bowlers will probably not require the wrist brace.

The Moro Pro-Release

There are many different styles of wrist supports. Finding one that suits you is a matter of preference.

I prefer the Moro Pro- Release shown here. But that is my preference. I have used this support for years, so I know it is a quality wrist support.

The features I like about the Pro-release is the support it gives you on the fingers.

With the extended version, you have support past the middle knuckle. This extended version helps give support to arthritic fingers as well. Unfortunately, this wrist support has been discontinued. However, don’t be too disappointed, there are plenty of wrist supports available.

==> Check Out More Cool Wrist Supports Here <==

Improving Your Game Comes Down to Practice

It is all about reading the lanes and using what skills are best suited to you and improving your game. Practice and a few hours spent on the lanes, are the best way to improve the techniques necessary to score well.

I hope you enjoyed my article and this gives you something to improve your game, and increase your enjoyment.


If you liked the article, or you have any questions, please let me know below. I  answer All my readers promptly.

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6 thoughts on “Cupping The Wrist in Bowling For More Hook”

  1. Cupping the wrist is a bit taboo when it comes to technique- or so it seems. I see everywhere that maintaining a cupped wrist throughout the swing requires a lot of wrist strength like that of Wes Malott. Well, then you watch “the Squirrel”, EJ Tackett that revs the ball even more than Wes, and you wonder- how does EJ do that. Simply stated, mastering gravity through feel. EJ Tackett has mastered the feel of gravity throughout his body. On the backswing, the wrist leads the ball ever so slightly pulling the ball up. When the wrist is pulling it can easily maintain the cocked, or cupped, position. On the downswing, the ball leads the wrist- falling with gravity. And yes- at the initial downswing, in order to let the ball lead the wrist, the wrist is still slightly pulling back against the ball and acting like a brake. However, this is where all of the “touch” comes in because the ball is still actually accelerating quickly downward. The amount of “braking” the wrist and arm do is almost negligible. The braking force is just enough to maintain position only. Now the hard part, as the ball descends and accelerates with gravity, the wrist is quickly feeling the build-up of centripetal force as the ball reaches the release point, when the wrist is being pulled backward to a de-cocked, or un-cupped position. Fighting this de-cocking/un-cupping action will kill your wrist- no matter how strong you are. In order to maintain the cocked/cupped position even longer you can use your arm as a brake at the elbow, slightly breaking your elbow from the locked position to absorb the sharp build of centripetal force for the very last moment before the elbow snaps back to the locked position and the wrist sharply de-cocks/un-cups which releases the ball in a very sharp forward rotating motion. [In addition to braking the elbow, and well timed, quick deep knee bend in the slide can help maintain a cocked/cupped wrist- as well as balance.] EJ Tackett does this so fluidly and quickly that it is nearly impossible to see by an untrained eye. Granted this type of approach/style is not for everyone, since there is a multitude of timing error modes which makes repeatability a problem unless your bowling all the time. Should you wish to pursue this style, I highly recommend getting a very light (8 – 10 lbs) ball to practice this timing. Errors in timing can easily cause injuries when entering the release zone. Be happily prepared to throw a lot of gutter balls when learning these advanced timing techniques. Let gravity be your friend- not you enemy.

    • Hi Vince,
      Thank you for a fine description of cupping the wrist. I wear a Pro Release wrist support so I can adjust it to cup my hand when I need to. It really allows me to just relax my hand and let it rest on the support on my fingers and the back of my hand. It is an older style, (they no longer make it) but it makes it fairly easy for me to maintain a cupped wrist. I throw a 14lb ball. Now, I am 68 yrs old, so my strength is not what is used to be, and I exercise regularly. So, my point is, I am probably using a slightly cupped wrist compared to what you are talking about. I really feel that increase in pressure on the release, but it is not an uncomfortable thing for me, maybe because I am not being as aggressive with the wrist cupping to the point of just being downright cupped as much as I can get. That would hurt! And it would be hard to control the ball, at least for me.
      Thanks for taking the time to leave such a great comment! Please stop back!

    • Wow. This was very helpful. I’m currently learning the hook and wrists are struggling on a 14 lb ball (given to me). Every throw works my wrist, hand, and arm to the point of being a workout. I’m also releasing the ball so far away from the foul-line it makes that loud bang. I guess I’m trying so hard to control the cupping everything else is struggling.

      • Hi Thomas,
        Yes you can overdo it! Cupping the wrist is different for everybody. Some players really exaggerate it to the point of laying the ball against their arm(no-thumb bowlers) for example. I don’t really cup my wrist much at all anymore, but I am 71 and slowing down a bit. But, I never really did change my wrist much. First of all I use a wrist brace with adjustable settings that allow me to let the wrist brace hold the cupping of my wrist in place(much easier). I rarely change my settings now, I just change balls. The new coverstocks have changed everything! They are so strong anymore, I just have a strong hooking ball and a medium hooking ball. When I think I need all that cupping, I just pull out a stronger ball. Years ago, we didn’t have these options like we do now.
        My best advice is just try subtle wrist adjustments, maybe try a good adjustable wrist brace, like a Robby’s metal adjustable. I show a couple here: I haven’t updated that in awhile, so it is likely there are newer ones available. They make it so much easier, and bowling is supposed to be fun, right?
        If you want to cup your wrist, you need the extension type that fits over your hand to hold your wrist secure.
        Try one!
        Just a thought, is that ball drilled with a fingertip lay-out? If it is a standard drill, where your fingers go into the ball to the 2nd knuckle, you need to have it redrilled to a fingertip layout to make hooking the ball much easier!

  2. My technique is a Brooklyn bowler. I never try to put any hook or spin on the ball. I tend to want as little movement with the ball rotation as possible. Would cupping the wrist or having a flat wrist work better for my style? or should I just learn how to actually hook n curve the ball?

    • Hi Kurtis,

      If you don’t want any hook, then cupping the wrist is not what you want. You want a flat wrist and to stay directly behind the ball as you release. This will give the ball a forward roll and it will travel straight to the(Brooklyn) pocket with plenty of momentum.

      I personally get quite a few Brooklyn hits when I tug the ball a bit, and I am putting plenty of turn on the ball, and throwing hard using a lighter 14lb ball.

      Now should you ever try to learn to hook the ball, you may discover that you have a bigger area for getting strikes and better pin carry.

      It is your choice. I think their was a Brooklyn bowler in the pros years ago. Maybe look him up in google and see what his style was. Hope that helps.



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