Tuesday, March 16, 2010

An Argument Against Two-Handed Bowling

"As far the game today having 'fair standard conditions', like the dodo bowlers of the early 1900's could do with dodo balls, so can two-handed bowlers with the modern ball. And that contradicts the founding fathers decision that "all bowling balls must be evenly balanced." A component to the game they felt was necessary in order to have "fair standard conditions.""
--Ted Thompson, bowlingdigital.com

Ever since I saw Osku Palermaa showcase his two-handed or, as he calls it, "twin grip" style in the televised finals of the U.S. Open, I've been enthralled by it. When Jason Belmonte came along and won a national title with it, I became convinced that it was the proverbially "greatest thing since sliced bread."

However, not everyone shares my view of this technique. Some insist that it's a form of cheating. I've never understood why they think this, other than the fact that some people reflexively believe that anything that departs significantly from the mainstream modus operandi of a sport and appears to confer a significant advantage over conventional technique to boot can't be fair or right.

For instance, when Dick Fosbury started high-jumping backwards and even won an Olympic gold medal using this revolutionary technique, he and his style had their share of detractors. Yet, the "Fosbury Flop" is now the norm in high-jumping, just as two-handed bowling may be in the future if observations reveal that it's not too damaging to the body over the medium to long term.

Nevertheless, bowlingdigital columnist Ted Thompson has posted an article that at least presents some kind of rational argument against the unfairness of the twin-grip style. In his ungrammatically titled Are today's two handed bowler yesterday's dodo bowler? Thompson argues that, like the so-called "dodo" balls that were ingeniously used to advantageous effect by some in the early 1900's until the ABC outlawed them in sanctioned competition in order to standardize the game and make it fairer, the ability of a two-handed bowler to use balls drilled without thumbholes and throw them either right side up or upside down to circumvent ABC limitations regarding side weights and various tournaments' rules limiting the number of balls that can be used in competition, gives him or her an unfair advantage over bowlers who put their thumb in the ball.

I suppose this is an argument worth considering. However, if we accept it, then we'd also have to prohibit even one-handed thumbless bowling or palming, and I don't see that happening. Furthermore, one way to at least partially defeat the argument would be to require even thumbless bowlers to have thumbholes drilled into their balls. They would still be able to effectively turn one ball into two by throwing it with the thumbole above or below the fingers, as I have done to good effect at times when palming my ball, but I personally think this should be allowed. And even this could be prohibited by the governing body of a particular tournament, especially by one that limits the number of balls a participant can use during competition.

So, I really don't think Thompson's argument is very compelling. What do you think, not only about Thompson's argument, but about whether two-handed bowling should be allowed?


26 comments:

  1. I am with you. I don't have a problem with it at all. I can see good reason to prohibit the use of certain kinds of bowling balls if they make the game too easy, but you should be able to deliver your ball any way you want. You still have to send it 60 feet to a target about an inch wide. I don't see how using two hands would necessarily give you an unfair advantage in doing that, especially if everybody had the opportunity to do so. It kind of reminds me of the ban of the slam dunk in the NCAA in 1967, which really wasn't about the dunk shot at all.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think it's fair, if they think two handed bowling is easy, then why don't they do it

    ReplyDelete
  3. Two-handed bowling should be illegal. It allows an unfair advantage by creating more revolutions than possible with a one-handed delivery. If you don't think extra revolutions are an advantage, you don't understand bowling.
    No-thumb and palm deliveries should be illegal too. By flipping the ball over you can violate static weight rules. Every ball should be required to have a thumb hole and if you don't use it, it should be declared an illegal delivery and you get zero.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I myself am a too handed bowler and find that anybody who cant use there knowledge to improve on old traditions has no out of the box skills. Try and bowl 2 hands, you will most likely fail. When people can do something there afraid of it. Dont knock someone for having more skill

      Delete
    2. That's an incredibly dumb argument. Yes, you can create a lot more revolutions with 2 hands, so what.

      It's also a lot tougher to throw the ball accurately with 2 hands.

      Delete
  4. From what I understand, Robert Smith used to generate more revolutions than Belmo or Osku, and he did it with his thumb and one hand. Youngster EJ Tackett has also been officially clocked at over 600 RPMs at the ITRC, and he too thumbs it with one hand. And even if using two hands makes it easier to generate revs, I've seen many people with two handed deliveries struggle to control those revs. Hence, I know of only two players who have excelled on the national tour or in any kind of elite competition using two-hands. Brian Valenta uses two hands (with his thumb in the ball) and has his moments but hasn't won a national title. So, maybe I don't understand bowling, but I don't see how using two hands confers an unfair advantage or why it should be banned. Nor have I seen one-handed thumbless bowlers dominate any kind of elite-level competition, so I don't see why they should be banned either.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Two handed delivery should be banned from all sanctioned bowling events and if I were a member of the usbc governing body I would have already suggested we ban it. Bowling should be a game about accuracy and precision it should not be based off how many revs you can get on your ball, you are not a better bowler then someone else because you throw 8 million revs. Ive seen bellmonte completely miss the pocket and still strike just because he revs the living crap out of his ball throwing 2 handed. That is bullcrap he should never have been allowed to bowl in pba tournaments like that. I will be very pissed off if I have to switch to a kiddy throw like this just too stay competitive with other bowlers. If you can't strike with one hand you are not a real bowler end of story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. alright. I'm a 2 handed bowler I use my thumb and avg 217 at 16 yrs old bowling on team USA next year. don't bitch about "revs" lmao you try bowling 2 handed and being consistent, I agree with the bowling ball comment but 2 handed bowling shouldn't be illegal. if anything more revolutions= oil break down faster and the lanes get thougher to adjust to. and by the way, your points are very very inaccurate and ignorant. have a good day lmao

      Delete
  6. Andy, I couldn't disagree more with you and am glad you're not a member of the USBC governing body. If being two-handed and generating tons of revs were all it took to dominate PBA tournaments, why aren't Osku Palermaa, Brian Valenta, Kyle Troup, and all the other prodigiously revving two-handers in the PBA right up there with Belmo? Jeff Richgels and many other extremely knowledgeable bowlers have publicly stated that Belmo is one of the best bowlers they've ever seen and not just because he uses two hands and generates a lot of revs.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I just started bowling competitively about five months ago, I am 17 years old and I bowl two-handed. I do put quite a few revolutions on the ball, but I am in a league with a friend who bowls one handed and puts way more revs than I do on the ball. And to be honest the only thing that is two handed is the back swing, my release is actually one-handed. My left hand leaves the ball long before I release it. Also, if you bowl one-handed, you have the option of bowling two-handed, if you want to have an advantage in the game like you say the two-handers do then switch. Try it, you might like it yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  8. One handed or two handed you still have to hit your mark. Yes more revs is better but you still have to put the ball in the hole....

    ReplyDelete
  9. Two handed bowling.....what's that? Bowling was always intended to be a one hand sport. The rules should be changed....only one hand on the ball at delivery, using only one arm in the swing.....This must be done now.......

    ReplyDelete
  10. I see it as unfair advantage just like in golf, they removed the belly putter because it takes skill away from the game. If you want to have separate competitions for two handed bowlers that's fine. On the flip side I think it's fine for regular family bowling this way people stay interested in the sport, but for any regulated bowling (league or tournaments) should be one handed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gene, how does two-handed bowling confer an "unfair advantage" that "takes skill away from the game"? Have you ever tried bowling that way on challenging lane conditions"?

      Delete
    2. Gene, how does two-handed bowling confer an "unfair advantage" that "takes skill away from the game"? Have you ever tried bowling that way on challenging lane conditions"?

      Delete
  11. Whether you are bowling one handed or two handed, the only thing matter is putting the ball in the hole. But as far as i am concerned, bowling was intended to be an one handed sport. But by bowling using both hand, you may learn something new and can improve your bowling performance.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am a new two handed bowler. I became a two finger bowler after I shattered my thumb as a teenager 18 years ago. My thumb does not bend back like it should so I have an extremely hard time getting my thumb out of the ball. Being a two finger bowler, I was way too inconsistent. After my first game bowling two handed and rolling a 207 I was sold. I ended up rolling a 522 as I was still figuring it out, but my consistency was vastly improved. Not all of us have the ability to one hand bowl. To be excited with bowling again is beyond words. Finally I feel like I have the ability to get better with my friends and wife

    ReplyDelete
  13. David, do you find that you're able to generate as much or nearly as much speed bowling two-handed as you could bowling one-handed? That is my primary problem when I bowl two-handed. I've been throwing my strike balls mostly one-handed and two-fingered for years, and I would love to use both hands throughout the approach to give myself more control of the ball throughout the backswing and downswing, but I find that I just can't generate sufficient speed to match the extra revolutions I generate with the two-handed approach. So, I've effected something of a compromise by keeping my other hand on the ball until it enters the backswing instead of removing it immediately after I start my approach. This gives me more control of the ball than I had before with the two-fingered delivery, and allows me to generate more speed than I can with a full two-handed approach. Yet, I still wish I could use the full two-handed approach and generate enough speed to make it work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually seem to have the opposite effect. I'm able to throw faster with a two handed throw because I'm able to hit my mark easier, which makes up for the extra revs. I had a hard time with speed with a one handed throw because I tended to get sloppy the harder I threw. I was too inconsistent. Today was my second time using my two handed throw, first time in league. I rolled a 527. 192 first game, 152 second (unlucky spare misses) and a 183 third game. I find it much easier to hit my spot and don't seem to pull my head like before.

      Delete
    2. @ handed is an unfair advantage! When would you ever see a 16 year old win a major?? It is just like PEDs in baseball. Anything that i snot a playing field is wrong!The extra revs means carry! and carry means more pin count! You dont have to be accurate and you get a bigger margin of error!

      Delete
  14. You try bowling two-handed (or one-handed) on a tough PBA shot and then tell us that all you need is revs to beat everybody.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have been bowling no thumb for 25 years now and it took awhile to be consistent. I use a normal drilled ball with a thumb hole. I do not flip the ball over with the the thumb hole up above my fingers. I use finger tips inserts. My average is 211. The biggest part of being consistent no matter which style of bowler you are is being able to adjust to the lanes and the shot pattern being used. Using no thumb I can get the ball to move a lot or I can even flatten out my release to pick up spares. So as far more revs goes it isn't as big of a deal as making the right adjustments. Yes more speed means more pin action but doesn't always mean more consistency. Being consistent start with your approach and release of the ball then adjusting to the reaction u get on the lanes. And yes I still do use the thumb once in a great while when I need to but barely ever since I have been able to find a way to adjust my release for what shot is on the lanes.

    ReplyDelete
  16. In my opinion the only thing I have against it, is it takes far less skill to generate a lot of revs considering I bowl one handed and have about 350 RPMs and two handed I could pick a ball and easily generate 450+ RPMs.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I don't care whether you bowl two handed or one handed. the name of the game is to knock ten pins down. thats it not how you freaking do it. just because they bowl a different way that gives you purists the magical reason to bully and harrass them? ridiculous. i myself bowl two and its not easy at all. when i first started my ball speed was ridiculously slow at 14 mph. three years later i've finally managed to increase my ballspeed to a reasonable level. if you want to ball two handed go ahead, nobodies stopping, don't listen to the hater saying this "oh two handed bowling isnt the right way to bowl. switch back to one hander you cheating scumbag". seriously i hear this venomous sentence over and over and im sick and tired of it.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I don't like that 2 handed bowling is dominating, because of the easy way to get carry.

    One thing though, that I would like to see is for scotchbrite to be legal to use between frames. Yes it is an advantage, but as long as everyone can use it, what's wrong with it?

    So there, I find it annoying that you can throw without your thumb fully in the ball, but you can't use scotchbrite. Believe it or not, if those 2 rules were switched, I would still bowl.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Two handed bowling is for real smart fellas. I mean would you golf one handed? Or would you throw a baseball two handed? Huh? Huh? Well answer that, sucka. I'm waiting....

    ReplyDelete