PICKING UP THE SPARE
Everybody loves to get a strike. The feeling you get as all 10 pins fall is incredible. But what happens if they all don't fall? Making the spare sometimes seems impossible. Don't panic. Learning to make the spare isn't as hard as you might think.
Keep calm and spare.
How do you make a spare?
Spare shooting is an art in and of itself. Spares are different. Many spares will continually show up (like those pesky corner pins), and there are hundreds of spare combinations - some of which are much harder to master. For the sake of laying a solid foundation, we're going to cover your run-of-the-mill spares - not hard to reach splits.
So, where do we begin? Let's start by separating the pins into seven zones:
No, it's not the flying V. Now make the spare.
Move starting position on approach
If the key pin is in Zone 4, don’t change a thing – use your strike shot for these spares. For key pins in Zones 1, 2 or 3, move your feet to the right. The farther left the key pin, the farther right you will move your feet. For key pins in Zones 5, 6 or 7, move your feet to the left; the farther right the key pin, the farther left you will move your feet.
Face your spare
Once you move your feet, you will need to align your body so you are facing the spare. Draw an imaginary line from the pin straight back to your ball and shoulder. This will help keep your arm swing in a straight path towards your spare. Here’s a quick video to demonstrate how this works:
Practice, practice, practice
Face it, you’re not going to strike every time. No one can. It’s best to be prepared for it.
We're talking about practice.
When you go to the bowling center to practice, don’t just focus on your strike ball. Make sure you spend some time working on the spares, too. Once you find your striking groove, move your feet three boards to the left and hit your same target. See if you are able to clean up the mess with your spare shot. The more crazy combinations you leave in your practice sessions, the better prepared you’ll be once you get to your league competition.
So practice up! With enough time, energy and patience, picking up the spare will be routine!