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Bowling Tips On Picking Up The Ten Pin

If you are a right-handed bowler averaging 170 or less and wish to convert the 10 pin spare (exact opposite for left handed players), move to the left side of the approach. We recommend placing the instep of your sliding bowling shoe covering the guide dot on the 35 board (counting from the right edge of the lane) and using the 17 board at the bowling arrows as your sighting target.

From this alignment position, you can easily make modest lateral adjustments to either your standing position on the approach or to your sighting position on the lane. Lateral adjustments depend on how much you hook the ball, how much oil is applied in the center portion of the lane, and which type of bowling ball you use for spares.

It is recommended that you use a plastic bowling ball for the 10 pin spare to avoid excessive hooking motion when bowling across the lane at the spare.

If you roll your ball across your sighting target and the ball falls off of the lane before reaching the 10 pin, then move your feet to the right about 3 boards and try again during your practice session. If you miss the 10 pin to the inside of the lane, then move your feet to the left and continue sighting at the 17 board until you successfully convert the spare.

Once you finalize your approach positioning, the very next thing to do in practice is to place a one inch long piece of bowling tape on the floor about one inch behind the foul line and on the same board the instep of your bowling shoe covers when taking your stance position on the approach. If you slide with the instep of your shoe ending up in the identical place you began, then you will know you walked a straight path to the foul line. If you drifted away from the tape, then you will know which direction you walked off of a straight path to the foul line.

Bowlers who drift more than their normal strike delivery walking path when trying to convert the 10 pin will alter the desired delivery angle and are in jeopardy of missing the spare. You would, in this case, need either to re-adjust the sighting target on the lane slightly or your feet positioning on the approach to compensate for the extra drifting.

You may choose instead to simply correct the drifting problem by altering your footwork technique accordingly.


The number one reason bowlers miss corner pin spares is because of drifting off of the desired walking path created by the initial alignment on the approach. More commonly, bowlers tend to drift to the center of the approach which reduces an effective angle to the spare and the bowling ball will fall into the channel.

Walking to the center of the approach cuts the lane effectively in half and the edge of the lane comes into play too quickly. Also, by walking toward the center of the lane when rolling for the 10 pin, the dry portion on the lane where the oil conditioner tapers off toward the outside of the tenth board comes into play and your ball could, indeed, hook away from the ten pin to the inside of the lane.

Walking a straight line path is most desirable. Walking left is an acceptable technique for bowlers who normally drift to the left when making strike ball deliveries.

Finally, the other most common reason bowlers miss the 10 pin is due to ball speed changes; usually from trying to deliver the ball much faster than normal. Just because you see pro bowlers deliver the ball at a very fast speed on television does not mean it is a good idea for you to do so. The professionals practice varying ball speeds routinely and are proficient at doing so. Your best bet is to use a plastic coverstock bowling ball so the amount of hook is reduced to a very controllable level. This will better enable you to release your ball at the same, consistent speed at the 10 pin as you would for your strike ball delivery.