So you have been bowling quite a few times now and feel pretty comfortable with your approach, release of the ball and trying for strikes. You are normally able to keep the initial ball somewhere around the center of the lane and hit the headpin the majority of the time. That’s terrific! I expect that some of my suggestions have helped to get you there. Believe it or not, that was the easy part–now it’s time for the real challenge within the sport of bowling, picking up your spares.
Things Aren’t Always What They Seem
It seem logical that the fewer pins 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 may be the hardest part of the game for many bowlers. The truth is, the fewer the pins, the smaller the target–hence, less room for error. Think back to some of the strikes which you have had and how the hooks were flying all over the place. You may not have hit the pocket (between the 1 and 3 hooks for righties) or even the head pin, but somehow all of that pin action resulted in a strike. Fewer pins and less pin activity 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 ).
3-6-9? Actually, this is probably the quickest and easiest way to boost your consistency on spares. The 3-6-9 refers to the floor boards on the street. You will be moving your feet that number of floor boards to either 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, in addition to a place on the lane (most bowler us the arrows) that you aim for on that shot. The amount of boards you will move to the left or the right will be based off of your strike ball spot on the approach. I will explain this by the right hand bowlers’ standpoint, so if you are a lefty use the identical principle simply invert the direction of the transfer.
Why Do I Need to Move?
The seven front pins that you see when you have 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 place on the approach the opposite direction of the side of the headpin your remaining pins are around. For every pin left of the headpin, you may move your feet three boards right while aiming at the exact same arrow. Conversely, for each pin directly of the headpin, you’ll move left three boards. Since there are three hooks to either side of the headpin, you may move 3, 6, or 9 board. At first this sounds and feels as though it’s exactly the opposite of what you should do, but trust me it works.
So on the flip side, if you leave both pin, since it’s 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 same arrow. This will feel awkward at first but you’ll get used to it. Once you’ve proceed for your spare there are crucial elements to your success:
Walk into the foul line in your usual speed and STRAIGHT!
Aim for your customary mark (arrow) and watch the ball go over it.
Roll the ball at the exact same speed as for your first shot–don’t slow it down.
Many bowlers trying this for the first time have a tendency to walk crooked without realizing it; attempting to walk toward their arrow. In order for the 3-6-9 method to work for you, you have to walk in a straight line. To see if you’re walking straight, pay attention to where you placed your toes to begin you spare approach. Many bowlers use the dots on the approach to get themselves lined up. Well, the same dots are right at the foul line. After you let go of the ball look down in the dots and see whether your slide foot is near or on exactly the same dot (board) that you started on. If not, keep working on it, you’ll get it eventually.
Got to Pay Attention to Yourself
Watch the ball roll over your usual arrow. If you do not, there isn’t any way to tell if you are doing this right. Accuracy is key, but slowing the ball down 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 down the ball changes everything about your strategy and release which impacts your accuracy. Don’t do it. Maintain the same speed as your first ball; that is the strategy and release that feels most comfortable so stick with it–your just standing in another spot–what else should be the same.
What if There Is More Than 1
This tip concentrates on the single pin spares, merely to get accustomed to the new feel on the lane. For multi-pin, non-split spares, begin with aiming for the pin closest to you. As soon as you get used to shooting individual pins using the 3-6-9 method you will understand how to make modest adjustments to get more that one pin.
This Can Work for Everyone
Those rolling a hook may need to adjust slightly based on the amount of hook you become. Not too tough, just takes practice. As I said, it feels awkward at first, like you are trying to do the opposite of what your mind believes to be right. Keep working on it you’ll get it–and in turn your scores will go up!Have fun on the lanes.