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Light, Solid, And High Bowling Pocket Strikes

As a new bowler or someone just beginning to take the game seriously, you are likely keen to learn about getting strikes.

A big step to increasing your "strike" potential is hitting the pocket with regularity.

When you hit the pocket a lot you leave routine spares to make, which can be an asset to getting good bowling scores.

The pocket is between the 1 and 3 pins for right handed bowlers and between the 1 and 2 pins for left handed bowlers.

Since the head pin is located on the 20 board and the 3 pin is located on the 15 board, the pocket is located, therefore, on the 17.5 board.

The pocket for right handed bowlers is on the 17.5 board from the right edge of the lane. The opposite is true for left handed bowlers.

Everyone wants good bowling pin carry. When we hit the pocket, we all want to get a strike. The goal of all bowlers is getting a strike, beginner bowlers included.

Let’s examine some research about pin carry on various pocket hits based on a 2009 study presented at a Bowl Expo Trade Show Seminar presented by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC):

On a light pocket hit, the 3 pin carries the ten pin (right handed bowlers) and the ball exits the Pin Deck right of the 9 pin.

On a high pocket hit, the head pin hits the 5 pin and the bowling ball exits the Pin Deck hitting the 8 pin.

On solid pocket hits, the bowling ball takes out the 1,3,5 and 9 pins by a right handed bowler and the 1,2,5 and 8 pins for left handed bowlers.

If you deliver a slight hook ball, your chances of getting a strike increase in comparison to a straight ball, because your ball deflects less when entering the pocket with an angle of entry greater than zero degrees.

If you roll a decisive hook, your angle of entry increases and your chances at getting a strike when hitting the pocket also increases.

The first objective you have when bowling is to deliver your ball into the pocket, regardless of your delivery style. You will always stand the best chance of getting a strike when your ball enters the pocket.

A light pocket hit is not quite as productive in getting strikes routinely as is a solid pocket hit.

A high pocket hit is not quite as productive for getting a strike as is a solid pocket strike.

A solid pocket hit gives you your best chance at getting a strike.

All pocket hits are good things and are advantageous for getting strikes. Missing the pocket overwhelmingly reduces your chances of getting strike.

Learning to align your self on your first ball delivery of each frame to hitting the pocket must be your first priority.

The greater the percentage of pocket hits by any given bowler per game, the greater percentage of strikes is sure to follow. However, hitting the pocket also produces the number of “taps” you will encounter.


A “tap” is a term used to describe leaving one pin standing on a perfectly solid pocket hit.

When round objects collide, funny pin carry occurs. We cannot always rely on getting strikes when hitting the pocket, but we do know that hitting the pocket is our best chance of getting a strike.

Two important things face any bowler. One is lining up on the approach. Finding an appropriate sighting target on the lane as an aiming point so your bowling ball will follow a path to the pocket.

The other important challenge is to pick up any spare you leave when you do not strike, after hitting the pocket.

Hitting the pocket is the prime objective of all great bowlers and must be the same for new bowlers. If you learn to hit the pocket consistently, you will get your fair share of strikes and your bowling scores will soar.