How to Consistently Make Your Spares


What Ball Should You Use?

For beginner bowlers who don’t have much or any ball hook, there are straightforward techniques for converting spares. Implementing two simple bowling spare shooting systems not only helps increase scores but also provides an organized approach to converting routine spares. When it comes to shooting spares, it is advisable to use a plastic ball or a ball with a low hook potential rating. Unlike modern high-tech bowling balls with aggressive coverstocks, plastic balls have minimal hook, making them ideal for spare shots.

System 1

To enhance your spare game and eliminate the need for guesswork, employing a consistent system to deliver the ball straight toward the key pin is essential. Aiming for a spot near the middle of the lane, like the fourth arrow approximately 17 feet past the foul line, can serve as your target for all spare shots. When the key pin is on the right side of the lane, position yourself on the left side of the approach and aim at the center arrow.

Conversely, if the spare is on the left side, adjust your position to the right and utilize the same center arrow as your sighting target to convert the spare. The distance from the center will determine the lateral adjustment required on the approach. Remember, the key pin is the one closest to you as you step onto the approach for any spare combination.

With some practice and experimentation, you can achieve a straight shot over the center arrow, ensuring the perfect delivery angle for converting the spare.

System 2

Introducing the 3-6-9 system, a simple and effective approach for spare shooting in bowling. Here’s how it works: if you have a spare on the left side of the lane, adjust your feet positioning to the right of your strike ball delivery point and aim at the same spot on the lane, such as the 2nd arrow, based on the key pin in the spare combination.

For spares where the remaining pin is situated away from the center, make adjustments of either 3 boards, 6 boards, or 9 boards accordingly. The same principle applies to spares on the right side of the lane – move left by 3 boards, 6 boards, or 9 boards based on the position of the key pin from the center.

Of course, if you are left with the 2 pin or 3 pin, a 3 board adjustment from your strike positioning on the approach is suitable. For the 4 pin and 6 pin spares, adjust by 6 boards either to the left or right depending on which side of the lane the spare is standing. Similarly, for the 7 pin and 10 pin spares, move 9 boards to the left for the 10 pin or 9 boards to the right for the 7 pin.

Remember, when the spares are on the left, move to the right, and when they’re on the right, move to the left. You can make slight modifications to this system by using the 2-4-6 or 4-8-12 methods, depending on the lane conditions and ball skid distance.

Utilize the power of the 3-6-9 system, adapt it to the situation at hand, and enhance your spare shooting skills on the bowling lane.

Which System Should You Use?

Both systems share a common lateral adjustment strategy, shifting towards the opposite side of the lane from the spare’s key pin. However, the distinction lies in the aiming technique. In the first system, you target the center arrow, whereas in the second system, you aim for the strike line spot on the lane and adjust accordingly based on your strike line positioning.

Both systems emphasize using a low-hook ball to control the amount of hook and enhance accuracy when converting spares.

Mastering spare shooting is crucial in the game of bowling. It involves developing a dependable system for adjusting to any spare on the lane, employing a ball that offers consistent control, and maintaining proper alignment and follow-through towards your target. These tips are essential for achieving success in spare shooting.

Should you have any questions on developing an effective spare shooting system, seek guidance from an experienced bowling instructor who can assist you in identifying the system that suits your game best.

6 thoughts on “How to Consistently Make Your Spares

  1. Keith Hicks says:

    NOTE: The 3-6-9 boards move works for the 2-4-7 pins on the left for my style right handed. Though for the 3-6-10 pins, I must move to the 36-38-40 boards on the left side of the approach? Moving 3-6-9 boards from my 8-10 board 1st ball would put the spare ball in the gutter. Thanks for the lesson. I have been using this spare strategy for a long time.

    • Danny Hester says:

      Myself as well Keith, just still cannot get comfortable shooting cross lane at the 6 and 10. Of course, if I practiced more it probably would help!

  2. Mike Marchetti says:

    Newby here. I am still just wingin it down the lane hoping to hit something. Will try these methods and see how it goes. I do enjoy the game.

  3. Linda says:

    I stand all the way left and aim over the 4th arrow (middle arrow) rolling it towards the ten pin. Yes I sometimes do miss it because of lack of concentration.

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