Mastering Spare Shooting in Bowling: The Most Easiest Way

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mastering spare shooting in bowling

Mastering Spare Shooting in Bowling

Techniques and Tips for Bowling Enthusiasts

Bowling is a fun and exciting sport that people of all ages can enjoy. However, it can be frustrating when you consistently miss spares, especially during crucial game moments. Spare shooting is an essential aspect of bowling that requires focus, practice, and patience. This article will discuss techniques and tips for mastering light shooting and improving your overall bowling game.

Understanding the Basics of Spare Shooting

Before we dive into specific techniques, let’s first review the basics of spare shooting. A “spare” is when you knock down all the pins on your second throw after failing to knock them all down on your first throw. The key to successfully making a spare is hitting the remaining pins at an angle, allowing them to knock down other pins.

Understanding the Importance of Spare Shooting

Why is spare shooting important?

Spare shooting is crucial to achieving a high score in bowling. Even if you score strikes consistently, you cannot maximize your score if you do not pick up your spares. Spare shooting helps to maintain a good score, even if you do not score a strike in every frame. It also helps build confidence and reduce the frustration of missing easy spares.

Types of spares

There are various types of spares in bowling, each requiring a different technique to pick up. The most common spares are the 7-10 split, the 4-6 split, the 3-10 split, and the 2-4-7-10 split. Other spares include the baby split, the washout, and the Greek church.

Spare shooting techniques

There are different spare shooting techniques that bowlers can use. The most popular are the 3-6-9 spare system, the 2-4-6 spare system, and the rule of 31.

The 3-6-9 spare system

The 3-6-9 spare system is a technique that helps bowlers aim accurately at their spares. Depending on the bowler’s dominant hand, it involves targeting the third, sixth, and ninth boards from the right or left side of the lane.

The 2-4-6 spare system

The 2-4-6 spare system is another popular technique that bowlers use to pick up spares. It involves targeting the second, fourth, and sixth pins for right-handed bowlers and the third, fifth, and ninth pins for left-handed bowlers.

The rule of 31

The rule of 31 is a technique that helps bowlers adjust their target based on the number of pins left standing. It involves subtracting the number of pins left from 31 and targeting that number on the lane. For example, if seven pins are left standing, the bowler should aim at the 24 board from the right or left side of the lane.

How do I practice spare shooting?

Practice is essential to improving your spare shooting skills. Here are some tips to help you practice effectively:

  • Focus on one spare at a time. Once you have mastered a particular skill, move on to the next.
  • Practice on different lane conditions: Bowling lanes can vary in terms of oil patterns, which affect the ball’s trajectory and the pins’ movement. Practice on different lane conditions to improve your spare shooting under different circumstances.
  • Use different bowling balls: Different bowling balls have different characteristics, such as hook potential and ball speed. Practicing with different balls will help you adjust your aim and technique accordingly.
  • Practice under pressure: Simulate competition conditions during your practice sessions to help build your mental toughness and ability to perform under pressure.

Common spare shooting mistakes to avoid

There are several everyday things that bowlers need to correct when attempting to pick up spares. Here are some of them:

  • Lack of focus: Focusing on the spare target is crucial to successful spare shooting. Avoid distractions and keep your mind focused on the target.
  • Poor setup position: The setup position determines your approach and delivery to the pins. Ensure that you have a consistent and comfortable setup position for smooth delivery.
  • Correct technique: Each spare requires a different technique. Ensure you practice the correct technique for each spare until it becomes second nature.
  • Rushing the shot: Setting up and executing the shot is crucial to successful spare shooting. Avoid rushing your shot and take the necessary time to focus on the target.
  • Lack of confidence: Confidence is critical to successful spare shooting. Believe in your ability to make the spare and stay positive, even if you miss the first attempt.

The mental aspect of spare shooting

Spare shooting requires not only physical skill but also mental toughness. Here are some mental tips to help improve your spare shooting:

  • Stay calm and composed. Avoid getting frustrated or angry when you miss a spare. Stay calm and composed, and focus on making the next shot.
  • Visualization: Visualize yourself making the spare before attempting the shot. This helps build confidence and improve your focus.
  • Positive self-talk: Use positive self-talk to reinforce your belief in your ability to make the sacrifice.
  • Breathing exercises: Deep breathing exercises can help calm your nerves and improve your focus before attempting the shot.

Before diving into the tips, it’s essential to understand the significance of spare shooting in bowling. While it’s certainly satisfying to knock down all ten pins with a strike, the reality is that even the best bowlers will leave pins on the lane from time to time. Picking up spares can mean the difference between a good game and a great game, and it’s essential to have a plan for tackling them.

Knowing your target pins

The first step in improving your spare shooting game is to know your target pins. Knowing exactly where you need to aim, whether you’re facing a single pin or a combination of pins, requires accuracy and consistency, and you must practice your targeting regularly.

Adjusting your ball’s speed and angle

In addition to accurate targeting, adjusting your ball speed and angle can make a big difference in picking up spares. For single-pin spares, try aiming slightly to the left or right of the pin and adjusting your ball speed to hit the pin at the correct angle. For multiple-pin spares, try using a ball with a straighter trajectory to increase your chances of hitting all the pins.

Practicing common spare shots

There are several standard spare shots that every bowler should know, including the 10-pin, 7-pin, and 6-10 split. Regularly practicing these shots can help build muscle memory and improve shooting accuracy.

Maintaining your mental game

Spare shooting can be a mental as well as a physical game. Staying focused and confident is essential, even when facing a problematic situation. Taking a deep breath, visualizing your shot, and maintaining a positive attitude can all help improve your spare shooting game.

Getting feedback from a coach

Finally, consider getting feedback from a bowling coach or experienced bowler. They can offer valuable insight into your technique, targeting, and ball speed and provide tips for improving your spare shooting game.

Adjust Your Stance

A good stance is essential for accurate spare shooting. Stand at a slight angle to the pins, with your non-dominant foot pointing towards the target. Keep your knees slightly bent and your weight balanced over both feet.

Focus on Targeting

 Pick a specific target on the lane, such as a dot or arrow, and aim for it. Focusing on a target will help you line up your shot and improve accuracy.

Use the Correct Ball

When shooting spares, it’s best to use a plastic or spare ball. These balls have less hook potential, making them easier to control and aim.

Adjust Your Approach

 If you need spares, try adjusting your approach. Move slightly to the left or right of your starting position, and experiment with different angles and speeds.

Practice, practice, practice

The key to mastering spare shooting is practice. Set aside time to specifically practice light shots and experiment with different techniques until you find what works best for you.

Tips for Improving Your Spare Shooting Game

Stay calm

 It’s easy to get frustrated and flustered when missing spares. However, staying calm and focused will improve your chances of making the shot. Watch other bowlers, especially those successful at spare shooting. Please take note of their techniques and adjust your own accordingly.

Visualize Success

 Visualize yourself making the spare before taking the shot. This technique can help calm nerves and improve focus.

Keep Your Eyes on the Target

It’s essential to keep your eyes on the target throughout your approach and release. Looking up too soon can cause you to miss your mark.

Celebrate Success

Finally, celebrate when you make a spare! Positive reinforcement can boost confidence and motivation.


Spare shooting is an essential part of bowling that requires practice, patience, and focus. The techniques and tips outlined in this article can improve your extra-shooting game and make you a more confident bowler. Remember to stay calm, practice regularly, and celebrate your successes.




What is the difference between a strike and a spare in bowling?

A strike is when you knock down all ten pins on your first throw, while a spare is when you knock down all remaining pins on your second throw after failing to knock them all down on your first throw.

How do I know which target to aim for when shooting a spare?

Pick a target on the lane, such as a dot or arrow, and aim for it. Focusing on a target will help you line up your shot and improve accuracy.

Can I use my regular bowling ball for spare shots?

While you can use your regular bowling ball for spare shots, it’s best to use a plastic or light one.

How often should I practice spare shooting?

To master spare shooting, it’s important to practice regularly. Aim to practice extra shots for at least 10–15 minutes each time you visit the bowling alley.

What should I do if I consistently miss spares?

If you need spares, try adjusting your approach or experimenting with different techniques. Watching other successful bowlers and learning from their plans is also helpful. Remember to stay calm and focused, and celebrate your successes.

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