Bowling Spares to Improve Your
Knocking down all ten pins in one shot is not an easy thing to do, so if the bowler is
not able to do it, he gets one more shot at the rest of the pins. Should he knock these over, he has picked up a
spare, and is able to add a bonus made up of the score from the next ball into the current frame.
Picking up a spare can be easy or complicated, depending on the difficulty
of the shot.
Some spares are comparatively simple even for the novice, such as one pin left standing in the
center of the lane, while others take more concentration.
Splits, which are situations in which there are gaps between one or more pins, are considered
the most difficult of situations in which to pick up spares, and the greater the
gap, the tougher the shot.
Shots that do not involve splits, however, are fairly straightforward. With single pin spares,
all that is needed is to aim the bowling ball at the pin and try to throw the ball as straight as possible. There
is a large target area to shoot for, as even a glancing blow will most likely knock the pin over, so the odds are
pretty good for making this shot.
An exception to this rule is a single pin next to the gutter, on the same side as the bowler's
"hand". For a right-handed bowler, this would be the 10 pin, and is the 7 pin for a left-handed bowler. Because of
the natural throwing motion of most bowlers, it is easy to make a gutter ball when attempting this shot, so the
bowler is advised to move all the way to the side opposite his throwing hand and throw the ball across the alley
toward the pin.
While this can be a tricky shot, a single pin on the side opposite the bowler's hand is not as
difficult. Although it is generally inadvisable to use a hook when shooting at a single pin, curving the ball in
this situation is ideal, as it increases the size of the target area needed to knock the pin over.
Another easy spare to pick up is when only two adjacent pins are left standing, and one is
closer to the bowler than the other. The target area is a bit smaller with this shot, as one must hit one of the
pins in the correct area to knock them both over by knocking the forward pin into the one behind.
One can also try hitting the forward pin on the side closest to the other pin, using the bowling
ball to knock the rear pin over, but sometimes the ball will ricochet too hard and bypass the second pin.
Splits, on the other hand, are a bit more complex. Baby splits, or situations where there is
just a small gap between pins, are the easiest of them to pick up, but still require precision.
Hitting the leading pin on the side closest to the other pin, allowing the ball to go back and
hit the rear pin as well, best picks up the 3-10 or 2-7 splits.
The 4-5 and 5-6 splits are situations where the pins are equidistant from the bowler, and can
only be hit with an accurate shot right between them, with the ball hitting both pins at the same time.
Larger splits, such as the 7-10, usually require equal parts precision and luck. A bowler's only
hope is to hit one pin extremely hard and hope that it caroms over and knocks the other one over.
Don't know the proper techniques on picking up spares? If so, you're probably missing out a lot
on improving your score. You can get a bowling guide or coach that will help convert your spares and thus adding
more score to your next game.