How Do I Line Up for Spares?

Bowling Pins Ball Playing Alley Sport Bowl

So you’ve been bowling quite a few times now and feel pretty comfortable with your strategy, release of the ball and looking for strikes. You’re normally able to maintain the initial ball somewhere around the center of the lane and hit the headpin most of the time. That’s great! I hope that some of my tips have helped to get you there. Believe it or not, that was the easy part–now it is time for the actual challenge within the sport of bowling, picking up your own spares.

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

It seem sensible that the fewer hooks standing, the easier it should be to knock them down. Well, I’m here to tell ya, that just ain’t so! Even if you don’t count splits, consistently picking up your spares can be the hardest part of this game for many bowlers. The thing is, the fewer the hooks, the smaller the goal –hence, less room for error. Think back to some of the strikes which you have had and the way the pins were flying all over the place. You may not have hit on the pocket (between the 1 and 3 pins for righties) or even the head pin, but somehow all of that pin action caused a strike. Fewer pins and less pin action requires greater precision. Don’t worry, it is not impossible–here’s a technique that can really enhance your spare shooting, which in turn increases your scores (that sounds good to everybody ).


What?! 3-6-9? I know, sounds like a counting drill or something. Actually, this might be the quickest and simplest way to boost your consistency on spares. The 3-6-9 refers to the floor boards on the lane. You’ll be moving your feet that amount of floor boards to the left or right in order to attempt a given spare. This method only works when you have a spot on the approach that you place your toes on for your first (strike) ball, as well as a spot on the lane (most bowler us the arrows) that you aim for on that shot. The quantity of boards you will proceed to the left or the right will be based off of your strike ball place on the approach. I will explain this by the right hand bowlers’ standpoint, so if you are a lefty use the same principle just invert the direction of the transfer.

Why Do I Need to Move?

The seven front pins that you see when you’ve got a complete rack are what you will use to determine your move, starting from your strike ball position on the strategy. You will move you spot on the approach the opposite direction of the side of the headpin that your remaining pins are around. For each pin left of the headpin, you may move your feet three boards right while aiming at precisely the exact same arrow. Conversely, for each pin directly of the headpin, you’ll move left three boards. Since there are 3 hooks to either side of the headpin, you will move 3, 6, or 9 board. Thus, if you leave either the 3, 6, or 10 pin, since they’re to the right of the headpin, you will move your feet on the approach into the left 3, 6, or 9 boards to the left, respectively. Initially this sounds and feels as though it is exactly the opposite of what you should do, but trust me it works.

So on the flip side, if you leave the two pin, since it is the first pin left of the head pin, move your feet three floor boards to the right of your strike ball spot, while aiming at precisely the exact same arrow. This will feel awkward at first but you will get used to it. When You’ve proceed for your spare there are crucial elements to your success:

Walk into the foul line in your normal speed and STRAIGHT!
Roll the ball in the exact same rate as for your first shot–do not slow it down.
Many bowlers trying this for the first time have a tendency to walk twisted without realizing it; trying to walk toward their arrow. For the 3-6-9 method to work for you, you must walk in a straight line. To see if you are walking straight, pay attention to where you placed your toes to start you spare approach. Most bowlers use the dots on the approach to get up themselves. Well, the very same dots are right at the foul line. Once you let go of the ball look down in the dots and see whether your slide foot is on or near the same dot (board) that you started on. If not, keep working on it, you’ll get it eventually.

Watch the ball roll on your typical arrow. If you don’t, there is no way to tell if you are doing this right. Accuracy is key, but slowing down the ball is not necessary. If you can usually hit your mark to your strike ball, you’ll have the ability to do this with a little practice, but slowing the ball down changes everything about your approach and release which effects your accuracy. Do not do it. Maintain the same speed as your first ball; that’s the approach and release that feels most comfortable so stick with it–your only standing in another place –everything else should be the same.

What if There’s More Than 1

For multi-pin, non-split spares, start with aiming for the pin closest to you. Once you get used to shooting individual pins using the 3-6-9 method you will know how to make modest adjustments to get more that one snare.

This Can Work for Everyone

Those rolling a hook may need to adjust slightly based on the quantity of hook you become. That’s it! Not too hard, just takes practice. As I said, it feels awkward at first, as if you’re trying to do the opposite of what your mind believes to be appropriate. Keep working on it you will get it–and in turn your scores will go up!Have pleasure on the lanes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *