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How To Improve Converting Corner Pin Spares

Learning how to improve converting corner pin spares is a key component in raising your bowling score average. To effectively reduce the challenges related to trying to picking up corner pin spares, there are a few techniques you should develop. If you are a right handed bowler and wish to learn how to improve converting corner pin spares, begin with the 10 pin. Left handed bowlers should think oppositely and key first on the 7 pin spare.

Right handed bowlers should move to the far left side of the approach where the instep of your sliding shoe covers the 35 board on the approach, target the center arrow about fifteen feet past the foul line if you roll the ball fairly straight or if you use a bowling ball with a stiff coverstock which does not promote hook. If you hook the ball, site slightly right (right handed bowlers) of the center arrow, perhaps two or three boards to the right, and allow for the ball to hook slightly and still maintain its direction toward the spare. Be sure to slightly align your hips and bowling shoulder to face the corner pin and maintain that alignment as you walk to the foul line and make your delivery.

One very important key in success at converting corner pin spares (the ten pin for right handed bowlers or the seven pin for left handed bowlers) is to “walk your line” and do not drift excessively to the center of the approach. Drifting to the center of the approach will reduce an effective angle to the spare.

Drifting to the center of the approach causes the ball to miss to the inside of the spare because the ball path will encounter a higher friction portion of the lane as opposed to traveling through the center portion of the lane with the greatest amount of oil and will, therefore, be prone to hooking away from the 10 pin. Drifting also may cause the ball to fall into the channel and miss the 10 pin because of the release angle across the lane combined with using a reduced portion of the width of the lane. It is critical to never walk in front of your arm swing path so your swing is forced to realign around your hip or leg before releasing the ball. Learn to "walk your lines" and your shot-making will improve, particularly the corner pin spares.


The number one reason bowlers miss corner pin spares is because of drifting off of the desired target path created by the initial alignment on the approach. Your selected target on the lane is based upon where you stand on the approach and also relevant to where you slide at the foul line. Enough cannot be said about avoiding drifting away from your target line when lining up across the approach for any corner pin spare.

The other most common reason bowlers miss corner pin spares is because of ball speed changes, usually trying to deliver the ball much faster than normal. Unless you practice rolling the ball at more than 20 mph and are proficient at doing so, then you are likely not going to be able to repeat good deliveries consistently and will miss the corner pin spares far too frequently.

Use a ball for spare shooting. Preferably, use a ball with shiny or stiff coverstock and drilled to not hook sharply at the back end of the lane. Trying to use an aggressive coverstock bowling ball and make it go straight is another technique which normally will not work well unless you are highly skilled at changing your release and trusting your ability to do so in competition. Use a spare ball which does not promote hook and deliver the ball toward the corner pin spares at your normal strike ball speed where you can maintain consistent speed control and accuracy.

One final tip is practice. It surprises coaches when bowlers struggling to improve their averages do not practice converting spares, particularly the corner pin spares which are most commonly missed by most bowlers. If you are struggling with the 10 pin spare, double check your alignment on the practice lane and then roll perhaps twenty consecutive deliveries toward the ten pin. Do not worry about how many pins are on the deck because you are in a practice mode and only should be concerned with targeting the 10 pin spare.

Once you can convert the 10 pin ten consecutive times, then practice the 7 pin spare. Make your adjustment to the other side of the approach, normally about 12-15 boards to the right of your strike alignment board on the approach, and roll the ball toward your strike target board while keeping your hips and bowling shoulder aligned with the 7 pin. Walk your lines and avoid drifting right or left on the approach. Of course, the opposite technique applies to left handed bowlers.

We hope these tips help. We highly recommend consulting a certified bowling coach in your area or a local bowling professional to help you with techniques to improve converting corner spares. While you are here at our site, please take some time to examine our extensive list of bowling products and kindly be reminded that our discounted prices are available with free shipping and no extra hidden charges on every item at bowlingball.com. When you are ready to make your purchase, simply follow our easy online order instructions as we are open 24 hours per day, each and every day. Thank you for visiting bowlingball.com!