Depending on who you are, using a bowling wrist brace can be an essential addition to your bowling game. Of course, there are many people who don’t use a brace when they bowl, but we’re all different and we all have different needs. Many of us will do just fine without one, but you may be surprised at how much a wrist brace can help, especially if you are experiencing any discomfort in your wrist or arm when your bowl.
Many people believe that wrist braces are only something to consider when you’ve been injured and are on the mend. Actually, the best wrist brace for bowling is often one that prevents injury before it happens. Our bodies need support when they’ve been hurt, but they can also use support to assist in any repeated activity. Especially if you bowl regularly, you may be putting an uncommon amount of stress on your wrist and arm, so doing what you can to provide them with support will help them stay healthy.
We’ve talked about injuries in other parts of our site before and it’s worth revisiting here because it’s an important topic. Especially when it comes to the health and strength of your wrist and arm it’s essential to keep in mind. If you wait until an accident happens or you eventually experience some degree of persistent pain, it may take a much longer time to get back to the bowling alley when you want to, even if you do have a bowling wrist brace to help you. Recovering from an injury large or small it’s not just about allowing your body to get back to full strength, it also prevents you from doing any bowling during that time.
The time that you spend away from the bowling alley of course prevents you from improving your game, but it may also have other more subtle drawbacks that you may not have considered. For example, when we start doing something, we tend to forget about it completely. A lot of life is about building habits. This applies to our hobbies as well. Even if we only bowl once a week or once a month even that level of activity can be a routine for us, a positive routine that keeps us connected to the game.
If we are forced to take a months-long hiatus from anything, bowling included, it is likely to be placed on the back burner of our lives. There is an endless number of things waiting to take its place. I am almost certain that most of the things that will replace our bowling hobby will not be nearly as enjoyable as bowling itself. If you love bowling as much as I do, you know that this is true too, and you know that making a small investment in a bowling wrist brace is well worth it.
While bowling is for our own personal enjoyment, and while it’s a hobby, we still need to give it at least some level of priority in our minds if we want to keep up with doing it. We need to understand that we take it seriously precisely because it is something that we enjoy. We value it because we enjoy it. Taking it seriously doesn’t mean that it’s a burden, it just means that it’s some thing that is important to us. We can still regard bowling as fun even when we think about it seriously.
We may not need to convince you to consider getting a bowling wrist brace for yourself. So, if that’s the case, we’ll go ahead and talk about some of the things to consider once you’ve made the decision to get one. If you do a search for the best wrist brace for bowling, you will find that there are a number of different styles available. Some are bulkier and cover larger areas of your hand and wrist while some are a smaller, thinner, and may cover less of your hand and wrist. Some have a hole that goes over your thumb, and these ones usually have more coverage on your hand and wrist rather than just on your wrist. There are others that only go around your wrist and do not cover your hand.
No one style is necessarily better or worse than the other, it all just depends on what you need. In most cases though, you will get the most support from ones that have a hole for your thumb and cover your wrist as well as a portion of your hand. Because your wrist joint is the one that is most heavily stressed while bowling, these types of braces do the most to support the joint. Because it is one piece that covers both the hand and wrist, it can control and restrict the movement more.
There can be drawbacks to this style of wrist brace though. Of course, the major consideration is whether it feels like it gets in the way. Our bowling stroke is something that requires very controlled movements. So, anything that makes this more difficult or unnatural, even just a little bit, can have a significant impact on our score. If the brace covers too much of the area of the palm of your hand it can get in between your hand and the ball. Some people have a really hard time dealing with this. Causing even a few millimeters of space between your hand and the ball that would not otherwise exist can cause a number of small issues which combined can throw off your stroke pretty badly.
If your palm is uncomfortably separated from the surface of the ball, it can cause your fingers to not grip the ball as comfortably as usual. If this happens you may find that you have to use additional strength to hold the ball securely before you release it. Having to compensate by using extra strength can not only reduce the amount of control you have during your stroke but ironically, it can also place additional stress on your body. This is exactly what we are trying to prevent, so if you find that this supportive aid is causing you more discomfort than you have without it, then clearly you may want to reconsider whether you use it or not.
If you do find that a wrist brace that you’ve purchased makes your stroke unnatural or uncomfortable, keep in mind that there are quite a large number of different styles even among the main types that we’ve talked about already. We’ve seen some that are incredibly bulky. With some of these I really can’t imagine how somebody could bowl comfortably wearing one. So, if you ended up getting one of these and had a bad experience, please be aware that there may be other options to explore. The one that you get may be too stiff in addition to being too bulky.
A wrist brace can be flexible while still offering a good amount of support. That’s the benefit of different materials that are available these days. They offer a certain degree of desired movement but are able to restrict movement in an amount necessary to still provide support. So, if you haven’t found one that you like on your first try, we recommend that you don’t give up the effort too quickly.
While we do generally recommend that you get a wrist brace that also covers a portion of your hand so that you get maximum support for your wrist, if you’ve already tried more than a few and none of them allow you to bowl comfortably then you may consider the other option. If you get a brace that wraps around your wrist, and doesn’t cover your hand it will stay out of your way and will still provide some support to take the strain off of your wrist and arm. Especially if you’re not dealing with an injury and you simply want to give yourself more support so that you can bowl more and strain your body less, this could be a really good option to consider.
It can be a little bit difficult to know whether the brace is helping you or not. Especially for one that only covers your wrist and especially when you aren’t dealing with an injury you may not know whether you really need it or not. But, keep in mind that it is naturally going to be difficult to know whether you are reducing strain on your body if you are not experiencing any pain to give you that physical feedback.
How do you know if you are reducing your pain if you have no pain? There is no simple answer to this. All we can say is that in some cases you are your own best caretaker, and only you really know whether you benefit from it or not. So, our recommendation would be to remain aware of this fact and pay attention to how your hand and wrist feels. We think that you’ll find that if you are mindful of your physical status, you will be more likely to notice whether you are experiencing benefits from a wrist brace or not.
We also encourage you to consider the fact that you really have nothing to lose when using a wrist brace, especially one that does not get in the way of your bowling stroke. We realize that even if you know this there may be challenges that still make it difficult to use a wrist brace on a regular basis. In particular, you may simply forget to bring it, and even if you do bring it you may forget to use it when you actually get to the bowling alley. When you’ve waited to go bowling for the entire work week you may be so excited to get started that you don’t want to waste even the few seconds that it takes to put the wrist brace on your hand. Trust me, we can relate.
Like a lot of people, I work at a desk job. I spend most of every day in front of the computer. And when I’m in front of the computer I’m also in front of a keyboard. To be more accurate, my wife would say that I am hunched over my keyboard in a way that makes her think that I belong in the bell tower of Notre Dame. When I think about it, I’m actually in my basement, which sadly feels not so much different than being isolated in an old bell tower getting weird. The point is that to correct my unnaturally arching back, my wife bought a brace for me to wear that is meant to correct this.
This back and shoulder brace is not uncomfortable to wear and it does feel like it keeps my back straighter when I’m using it. Strangely it also kind of makes me feel like a cop when I’m wearing it. I’m pretty sure that the holsters they wear for holding their guns are pretty similar to my back straightening brace. I can’t say that my brace is as glamorous as a gun holster but it still feels pretty cool.
Despite the fact that it makes me feel cool, and the fact that I am consciously aware that it benefits my back, I still wear the brace pretty rarely. It sits on the sofa literally two feet behind me all the time, and yet I still have a hard time getting myself to use it. If I can’t use a back brace that’s sitting right next to me for eight hours a day, then I’m sure it’s at least as difficult to wear a wrist brace at the bowling alley.
What’s probably more difficult than putting it on, is to remember to bring it with you in the first place. As we said before, habits are a big part of doing what we want to do in life. If you have a hard time remembering to bring your wrist brace, it’s probably because you still don’t have the habit of doing it. Or if you’re always forgetting to use it even if you have it with you, you may just need to build a habit for it to become natural. Once it does become natural do you won’t even have to think about it.
Still, relying on your memory until you reach the point where you’ve built a habit is not always an easy thing to do. So, another thing to consider is trying to build some internal controls to make it something that you don’t even have to try to remember. If you’re not sure what internal controls are, we can give you some examples to help explain. If you’ve ever heard of process improvement in business or industry then the idea behind internal controls may be familiar.
An internal control is any process that enables actions to be standardized with minimal human error. For example, if I have a problem with losing my keys, a simple internal control that could be implemented to prevent this would be for me to choose a designated location where I will put my keys every time I use them. I could use a hook on the wall or a dish on the table by the door, or on top of the teddy bear by my nightstand. As long as the location is used consistently it will provide a reliable internal control to prevent me from losing my keys.
To continue with the keys example, another internal control might be to put a locator button on the keychain. With one of these synced to your phone, if you ever misplace your keys you can push a button on your phone app to make them beep and quickly find them again. These simple techniques allow you to not have to think about where you last put your keys every time.
Another example that I’ve used myself is a way for me to remember to take out the trash on trash day. Sometimes I take the trash out the night before. If I do that, then there’s no need to remember to take it out in the morning. But if it’s windy, and I’m afraid that the garbage can may tip over at night and make a mess, I don’t want to put it out on the curb the night before. My mornings are often so hectic that I forget to put it out in the morning though. If my trash goes a week without being taken out, not only will the garbage cans be overflowing by the end of the next week, but my garage will start to stink up something awful.
Every morning I adjust the temperature on my thermostat. This is a habit that is already built and I don’t have to think about it to do it. So, if I know that I’m not going to take the trash out the night before, I will write a sticky note that says “trash” and stick it to my thermostat. The next morning, I am effectively guaranteed to see that note and to be reminded by my past-self to take out the garbage. It’s simple but effective.
So how can we apply this concept of simple internal controls to our goal of supporting our wrist health by using a bowling wrist brace? There are probably a number of ways to do it. Sticky notes are always an option. Although if we surround ourselves with sticky notes everywhere we might start to feel like a madman. Another option would be to simply buy a bowling ball bag that has a storage pocket with it. We can keep our bowling wrist brace in that storage pocket and only take it out at the bowling alley when we bowl.
If we already own a bowling ball bag that doesn’t have a pocket or extra room for our wrist brace, or if the one we want to get doesn’t have one, we could consider keeping the wrist brace in our car all the time. This is another good option, but our cars often have a limited amount of storage space too. It’s all too easy for our vehicles to become cluttered with various junk. And while our bowling wrist brace, of course, is no piece of junk it can contribute to the cluttering of our vehicles.
It may also be a safety issue. Experts say that if your car has various random items sitting around in it, it’s much more likely to get broken into. Even though a bowling wrist brace hardly seems like something worth breaking into a car for, experts say that even if the items are not valuable it’s still increases the likelihood that you will experience a break-in.
While we want to keep our wrists strong and healthy, we don’t want to invite crime onto our cars so we could also consider setting up a simple alarm on our smart phones. If we know that we’re going to go bowling on a certain day at a certain time we can set an alarm on our phone to remind us to bring our wrist brace with us when we leave the house. The strategy is not a bad one, but if you’re like me you can be reminded of something and forget to do it again five minutes later. So, there is still some chance for failure with this approach. Hopefully though this gives you some ideas to work with.
Something else to consider is that while the best wrist brace for bowling can be a central source of support, keep in mind that strengthening your body itself can also provide a tremendous amount of support. If you strengthen the muscles in your forearms, you will be able to grip and toss your ball with much less effort. The more strength you have in your muscles the less stress you have to put on your joints. Also, depending on the weight of your ball, having a greater amount of strength in your arm and shoulder can make a huge difference.
Having more strength in your arm and shoulder not only help to protect your joints but it also helps you toss the ball with more force. With more power and less effort, you’ll be getting more spares and strikes more consistently. If you’re able to throw the ball with less strain you will also be able to control your stroke much better. So, investing in personal fitness and strength training goes a long way toward both improving your score and prolonging in your health.
We may all understand that physical fitness is the first step toward a better game and a healthier body. So once we’ve done what we can to accomplish this, that’s the time when we can consider getting additional benefits from physical aids like a bowling wrist brace.