How to Adjust for Solid Spare Shooting
The spare game in bowling has certainly been taken to the back burner in favor of thee high tech bowling equipment and the strikes that they deliver. However, one of the most important parts of bowling is in fact the spare game. Back in the 70ís and 80ís you had to rely on making spares to be consistent. Like the saying goes, strikes for show, spares for dough. The most difficult spares for many bowlers are the corner pins. For the right-hander, it is the 10-pin, for the left-hander it is the 7-pin. These specific spares require a strategy that can be repeated over and over for consistency. A right-hander also needs to take into consideration the oil pattern which generally has a greater qty of oil in the middle of the lane when shooting the corner pins. Practice make perfect when working with spares.
For a right handed bowler, when lining up to make a 7 or 10 pin, it is best to shoot them by playing "cross-alley". This gives you the most room for error without hitting the gutter.
For the 10-pin
, you stand on the left side of the lane face around the 3rd to 4th arrow and throw the ball cross lane. The ball will hook lightly for you donít want a big hook when making the 10 pin for that would greatly increase the chance of missing it. A very small hook is ok. But when you shoot cross alley, it is easiest to make this spare. See diagram.
For the 7 pin
, you do the exact opposite. You stand on the right side of the lane, and shoot around 3rd arrow, the ball goes across the lane with minor hook and connects with the 7 pin. Now the 7 pin may be a little easier because generally there is less oil on the outside which gives you more room for error. However, it is very important to understand that spares indeed do take practice to get a system consistently down.
One thing to remember
, it is always good to take a practice shot at the 7 or 10 pin during warm up. This is necessary so that if the lanes are totally dry or have too much oil on them, you may need to adjust your feet slightly to the left or to the right in order to correct the angle into these spares. It is better to do this in practice then during league when you find out that there is extra oil by missing a spare.
Once you know where to stand for a 7 pin and 10 pin
, you can also make adjustments for other spares as well. The 7 and 10 pin can be the foundation for also lining up for the 4 pin, 6 pin, 8 pin and 9 pin spares as well along with splits. Here is a general rule of thumb when shooting other spares. To make the 6 pin, move 3 boards right from where you stand and aim at the same target. To make the 3 pin, move 6 boards right from where you stand for the 10 pin and aim at the same target. To make the 4 pin move 3 boards left with your feet from where you normally stand for the 7-pin. Keep in mind when shooting the 7 pin cross lane the ball path already crosses part of the 4 pin (see diagram) so there is no need to make a huge adjustment. For the the 2 pin move 6 boards left with your feet and aim at the same target.
You also don't need to line up for the 2 pin, 3 pin, 5 pin, 8 pin or 9 pin spares off your corner pin lines. You can use your strike line provided you are lined up correctly to shoot these spares. Here is a general rule of thumb. For the 2 pin, move 3 boards to the right with your feet off your strike line and shoot the same target. For the 3 pin, move 3 boards left with your feet of your strike target and aim at the same arrow.
Just to clarify what a board is: The bowling lane is comprised of 40 boards each about 3/4 inch wide and 60 feet long. They look like wooden strips if you look down at your feet. So when moving 3 boards to the left from your strike line, keep in mind exactly where you stand and move 3 boards from that spot and aim at the same target out on the lane.
In conclusion, if you focus your attention on making good quality shots and converting your spares, then the strikes will eventually come. When they do, you will be in the best mind set when you get that bad break and leave a 10 pin that you need to convert to win the game. Well, that is it for spares shooting.
Good luck and happy bowling!