Using Insert Tape
Bowling Insert tape is for the expressed purpose
of reshaping the gripping holes, and adjusting the holding force of the thumb
during the swing of your bowling ball.
Bowling tape is an important addition to a bowler's
toolset, because it enhances consistency in your bowling game. There are
two groupings of insert tape that are used for the thumb hole. The first is a
textured white tape, and the second is a smoother texture or smooth tape.
Why Use Insert Tape?
Let's face facts. Things change over the
course of a bowling session. Here are a few
things bowlers need to consider concerning their
Size and Gripping
temperatures as well your at-rest thumb size may
result in a thumb that is loose in the ball.
insert textured tape to provide greater friction and
grip when holding the ball. You may have to
add multiple layers of tape until your thumb size is
As your body temperature changes
during bowling you may experience an increased thumb
size. As your hand heats up and your thumb enlarges,
you may want to remove a layer of tape.
Avoiding Skin Irritation
friction of the thumb against the thumb hole wears
away at your thumb, it may be advantageous to apply
a smooth bowling tape to the knuckle side of your
thumb to reduce this unwanted friction. This
allows you to avoid irritating or damaging the
knuckle of your thumb. Inserting smooth tape
on the knuckle side of your thumb can improve the
stability of your thumb without providing too much
The web formed between the thumb and
the hand can be irritated over time.
Lengthening thumb knuckle tape or inserting tape
where the pad of their thumb meets the hole can
reduce potential irritation and inconsistencies in
the way the ball separates from their thumb.
Textured tape is inserted into the thumb hole of
a bowling ball to provide a snug, comfortable fit. Equally important,
bowling tape is most often used to prevent slipping and grip problems during the
release of the ball. If your thumb does not fit the ball, a consistent,
effective capability to score is more difficult.
Having a snug and comfortable fit in the thumb hole of the
bowling ball is a necessity if you expect to have a relaxed swing with minimal
gripping pressure. The bowling tape texture provides a gripping surface on
the gripping side of the bole without having to grip the ball tightly. Insert
tape provides an enhanced grip on the ball, and is critical if you expect to
control the release and angle of the ball.
Insert tape is available having a wide variety of
textures from smooth to a heavy texture. This variety of tape textures
enhances the bowler’s ability to control the grip of the ball to match their
specific needs that best ensures their thumb exits the ball smoothly without
hanging up or slipping off the hand during the ball swing. Tape widths vary
from ½” to 1”.
Tape is in pre-shaped forms, packages and rolls.
Bowlers often trim the length, width and tape end shapes to best match their
Bowler thumbs can swell or shrink depending on temperature,
humidity or repeated use during your bowling session. Bowling tapes
provide an easier, more reliable way of responding to these unavoidable
variations than altering your grip. When
your thumb feels loose during your ball swing, you should avoid squeezing the
ball until your thumb swells. Instead, bowlers tape can more reliably and
consistently provide a comfortable fit. This is more vital than you may
realize. Adjusting thumb and finger pressure is not only discomforting and
inconsistent, but can also result in inconsistent ability to hit your target.
During your game, if the ball feels like the ball
is slipping off your hand too early, you can either add a piece of tape or
select a heavier textured tape. If you feel that your thumb is too snug,
you could either remove a piece of tape or select a lighter textured tape.
Inserting Bowling Tape
First, let’s define a couple of terms. The
front of the thumb hole is the side closest to the finger holes. Sometimes
the hole area between the fingers and the thumb is also called the inside
surface. The inside area is the gripping side of both the finger and thumb
holes. The outside is the knuckle area of the holes.
Area Insert Tape
When inserting gripping area tape, the center of
the tape is best applied to cover the pad of the thumb. Often that
orientation is pointed directly toward the ring finger.
Whether you use a tape insertion tool, the tape
backing or a small instrument such as a knife blade, insert tape is most easily
applied by pre-shaping, or folding, the curvature of the tape for easy insertion
into the thumb hole.
Insert a piece of textured bowling tape into the
inside area of the thumb hole. Size the piece of tape so it reaches the
bottom of the hole, with about 1/4-inch of space on the top.
Area Insert Tape
Insert a piece of smooth bowling tape into the
back (the knuckle side) of the thumb hole in the same way as with the gripping
tape, and with same length as the gripping tape, so that it rests along the wall
where your thumb's knuckle goes when you hold the ball. This will help for a
smoother, more consistent, release.
Textured tape applied directly along the knuckle side of
the thumb serves two purposes: to protect the knuckle from irritation, and
provide a consistent surface as the thumb perspires during your bowling session.
There are several textures selections that fine tune how soon the thumb exits
Place a piece of smooth bowling tape onto the knuckle side
of the thumb extending from the thumbnail upward. By starting from the
thumbnail, the tape is less likely to become pulled upward as the thumb is
inserted into the ball.
Adding and Removing Tape
You should put enough tape in the
thumb hole so the ball doesn't slip but not so much that you have trouble
getting your thumb out of the hole. Additional pieces of insert tape on
top of the pieces in the thumb hole if the fit is still too loose. Overlapping
additional layers of tape can make it easier to remove a layer of tape when that
Finally, don’t hesitate to remove
old tape and add fresh tape. Over time, tape adhesive degrades and can
leave a sticky residue that can prove to be uncomfortable and difficult to
remove. Keep your