Two-Handed Bowling Techniques: Five Things You Should Know

Last updated on May 26th, 2021

The ultimate goal is to produce maximum energy transition to the ball while putting in minimum effort. It is the reason why the two-handed bowling technique is growing in popularity. Today, almost all pro bowling tournaments have bowlers who use this technique. 

It makes it inevitable for us to see the two-handed technique being performed or discussed on live televisions. So, if you’re new to the game or need clarity over what this term means, please keep reading further. 

What Is the Two-Handed Bowling Technique? 

Traditionally, performing bowling uses one hand. The goal is to toss the ball to knock down the ten pins, ideally in a single throw. Professionals using the two-handed technique challenged this decade of practice to generate a decisive spin toss to deliver the bowling ball.

In one hand technique, the player uses a single arm to aim, spin and release the ball. On the other hand, in the two-handed bowling technique, a bowler uses their non-dominant arm to support the front of the ball. It helps them to stabilize their throw during the backswing. 

The supporting hand gives direction to the ball and produces more spin as the ball moves forward. 

Because both the hands are in function, it produces more spin with the throw. Notably, as mentioned before, the second hand is used to support the throw performed by the bowler. The extra spin is generated naturally in the technique. 

Origin Of Two-handed Bowling Technique

Two bowlers bring the two-handed bowling approach to the limelight. It began with Osku Palermaa in 2004 and was carried forward by the Australian bowler Jason Belmonte in 2009. The latter went on to win his first PBA title the same year. 

Being a relatively new technique, it has also gathered a lot of criticism and is still a polarizing topic in bowling for both fans and professionals. But to be clear, the United States Bowling Congress or the USBC has given it a clean slate stating it doesn’t violate any rules and, therefore, it is fair play. 


The following are the advantages of using the two-handed bowling technique.

  • No Thumb

In the traditional technique of a single hand, a thumb supports or holds the ball. But using thumb comes with its own set of issues. If the thumb gets stuck, the bowler will have to pull back the ball, causing multiple failed attempts. 

On the other hand, if the thumb slips away too soon, it can cause the ball to drop unintentionally, resulting in an errant shot. Therefore, replacing the thumb with the opposite arm to support the ball in the two-handed technique is advantageous.

  • Body Stress Relief

One of the biggest pluses of the two-handed approach is that it distributes the weight evenly throughout the body instead of stressing on just one shoulder. 

  • Speed, Revolution, and Power

We know that this technique reduces stress as it distributes the weight evenly on the body. It results in producing more revolutions, speed, and turns while sustaining the accuracy. Furthermore, the opposite hand acts as a stabilizer instead of the thumb, reducing the pressure from the wrist. 

Bowlers who use this technique have an inherent advantage, especially while using the balls with heavy and long oil patterns. You would witness these different types of PBA Oil patterns used in the tournament to enhance the challenges. 

Especially in such cases, using the non-dominant arm instead of throwing the conventional single-hand gives the ball more security and stability. The speed generated in the delivery is higher in the former as the arms swing less. Ultimately, this results in more rotation as well as a more robust slide. 


We discussed how the two-handed approach benefits long oil patterns because of the revolutions, speed, and turns. But the same revolutions can prove to be a hindrance for the bowlers using this particular technique on the shorter oil patterns, which also have similarities to dry lane bowling. 

  • Physically Demanding 

The fact that the two-handed bowling technique involves movement of the whole body is a benefit and a loss. We already know about how it benefits the player. But because the entire body is concerned, this technique demands more stamina and increased flexibility. 

Furthermore, more prolonged use can put more stress on your lower back due to the shorter spine tilt, which is necessary to generate speed and rotations during the execution. 

  • Spare Shots 

During spare shots, even a two-handed bowler will have to resort to using the thumb. The reason behind it is using both the arms generates more speed and revs, which might not be necessary for the spare shots. While this isn’t a big issue for professionals, local bowlers struggle with using a thumb. 

  • Pressure Upon The Knees

Due to the enhanced speed which a two-handed bowler requires, they require to put a sudden halt on the plant foot knee. While some players believe that the pressure upon the knees in the two-handed bowling technique is similar to conventional methods, but this sudden stop exerts more pressure. 

The Basic Setup For Two-Handed Technique 

Now that gives us a fair idea about the pros and cons of the technique. Let’s understand the basics of the two-handed bowling technique. 

It is advisable to visualize the position of the body to understand the setup better. Notably, the significant component of the structure is the shoulder alignment through elbow alignment. 

For two-handed bowlers, the setup aims to ensure the body position is such that the top movement for swinging is easy and needs minimal change while executing. 

How To Get The Proper Setup?

  • Your slide foot should be parallel with the desired target line. 
  • You need to ensure that your hips are open. To achieve that, keep the foot on the ball-side back at an angle of 30 degrees. 
  • Don’t force your hips. Allow them to open up naturally. 
  • Your ball-side foot must be perpendicular or at a right angle (90 degrees) to the hips.
  • Now, position your shoulders to align with the angle of the hip. 
  • You will notice that your hip and non-ball side shoulder are in front and upper than your hip and ball-side shoulder.
  • Now, place the ball closer to your body. Place the elbow on the non-ball-side forward after putting the non-ball sidearm over the fingers to support the ball. 
  • Your forearms should be parallel to the shoulder angle and hips. 
  • You need to shift the weight to the ball-side foot’s back. To achieve this, place your head outside of the body. It will enable you to move your slide foot more freely. 

Sustaining The Angles 

Everything is easy in theory, but the actual test is to apply it in practice. Similar is the case with the maintenance of the setup angles. 

It would help if you kept in mind that the setup aims to proceed towards the swing position’s top. As you begin with the process, it is essential to maintain the angles you have achieved during the setup, especially during the ball start beginning. 

Based on observations, a lot of bowlers begin with accurate angles. But as they start a movement, the curves start closing. It leads to unnecessary action and unwanted results. You need to avoid making this mistake.

Remember the nine steps we explained earlier? You have to begin with simple walking. Don’t hurry the process. Keep it simple and start with just walking while sustaining the angle setup. 

You will notice that your slide foot’s toe will compress. That’s your signal to proceed with the ball start. When you move the ball in swing, align your elbow on the non-ball-side to your back elbow to align with the shoulders. It will allow you to maintain the angles while releasing the ball comfortably. 

Three Prominent Professionals Who Use Two-Handed Bowling Technique 

Jason Belmonte

One of the most renowned pro bowlers globally, the Australian star Belmonte holds 22 championships under his belt. He began his professional career 13 years ago in 2008, and he starts bringing the two-handed approach into the limelight. Belmonte was named 2019’s PBA Player of the Year. 

Osku Palermaa

Palermaa commenced bowling with two hands as a toddler because the ball was too heavy for him. But the approach continued, and the Finland star became an international bowling star with a record five perfect games in a single tour of 10 seasons. He also has 5 PBA titles under his name. 

Anthony Simonsen 

Simonsen is a Texan native who is one of the youngest pro-bowling stars. The Little Elm has 7 PBA titles and also holds seven perfect games under his belt. 

Summing Up

We mentioned earlier about the long debate where the two-handed bowling technique receives backlash for the advantage it gives to the players. But in a holistic perspective, it also has its disadvantages. 

But professional associations call it an evolution in bowling, and it is interesting to watch how the ball destroyed the pocket, sending pins flying. 

If you’re attempting this technique, you must remember not to force additional spin because you naturally create the speed and spin with the support. Also, roll the ball on the lane as throwing it out will hinder the accuracy. We hope you found the information on the two-handed bowling technique exciting and insightful. Happy Bowling!