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Perfecting Bowling Skills - Picking up spares

By Edited Jun 17, 2016 0 0

While perfecting their bowling techniques, many players neglect the skill of picking up spares. Most bowlers are concerned mainly with getting a strike and don’t spend enough time practicing picking up spares. Bowling a strike is obviously not always possible, or even probable.

Ebonite Deluxe Ball Polisher and Carrier
Having to knock down some spare pins from time-to-time is inevitable. Spares can make all the difference in a game and being adept at picking them up can often enable a player to win against competitors. To be effective at picking up spares, bowlers should start by aiming directly at those pins. There are balls made specially to pick up spares. Pros call it a “spare ball”. These balls are most commonly plastic, enabling them to go straighter than a traditional bowling ball. 

Keeping the wrist as straight as possible is best when trying to knock down spare bowling pins. Roll the ball towards the pin square as straight and directly as possible. It is effective to relax the wrist while releasing the ball, an important technique while trying to pick up spare pins.

Brunswick T-Zone Indigo Swirl Bowling Ball
All bowlers should incorporate picking up spares into their practice routine. Competitive players often find it effective to aim for the number 7 pin or the number 10. This practice drill allows the bowler to observe themselves and their reactions while crossing the lane. A player should also try to minimize the spin of the bowling ball, in order to be effective at getting the spares.

Getting spares can help any bowler, average or otherwise, pick up their bowling average. Missing a spare can cause an average to drop drastically. Conversely, picking up spares can make the difference between bowling a score of 150 or 200-250.

Picking up spares in the game of bowling requires time and thought. To successfully pick up a spare, a player must think carefully. Major considerations include where to line up for the spare and how to take the particular shot. The bowler aims for the pin closest to them and tries to strike the pins from the right. If a player is right-handed, they should move their feet over one dot for each row of pins left.

Brunswick Slingshot Bowling Package- Black and Silver
This is opposite for left-handed players, who will move their feet to the right. To pick up a spare, the leftie should roll the bowling ball across the strike target toward the spare. The ball should roll across the third arrow on the lane that is on the left of the target.

Many things could prevent a bowler from being effective at picking up spares. Hooking the ball and the ball’s surface are just a couple of these problems. If the surface is dull the ball will roll early and use up its momentum and energy, instead of being strong when it reaches the back-end of the lane. In this case, the player could have the ball polished or smooth the surface using very high-grade sandpaper. This will get more length in the shot, increasing power at the back-end of the shot. If this is not effective, moving the player’s feet a little to the left may remedy the problem.

Picking up spares could be considered one of the most important skills in bowling. Whether or not a player has the skills to pick up spares could make or break their game. With time and practice, a bowler may see as much as a 50 or 100 point increase in their average. No matter who the bowler, their game can be improved simply by improving their ability to pick up spare pins.

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