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Mastering the Art of Spare Bowling: Tips and Drills to Boost Your Spare Percentage

Bowling balls on a bowling rack

Spare shooting is an essential aspect of the game that separates average bowlers from the elite. While strikes are exciting, consistent spare conversions can significantly improve your overall scores. In this blog, we will explore some valuable tips and effective drills to help you increase your spare percentage and elevate your game to new heights.

Develop a Systematic Approach:

One of the key factors in improving your spare percentage is consistency. Create a well-defined system that you can apply to various spare situations. This will help you build muscle memory and increase your confidence when facing different spare combinations. Develop a consistent approach, target, and release point for each specific spare, and practice them until they become second nature.

Master Spare Shooting Techniques:

Different spare situations require different techniques. Here are a few common spare shooting methods:

  1. Cross-Lane Spare Shooting: For spares on the opposite side of your dominant hand, align yourself to the opposite side of the approach, targeting the opposite corner pin. Use your normal approach, but aim to cross over the opposite side of the lane.

  2. Straight Ball Spare Shooting: learning how to throw straight at spares will make you a better bowler. This will also help you when bowling on more difficult oil patterns because you are going straight.

  3. Hook Ball Spare Shooting: there are some spares that require a hook to convert, for these shots you want to adjust your starting position slightly and target a specific breakpoint. Use a controlled hook release to get the ball to hook into the spare.

Focus on Accuracy and Consistency:

Spare shooting requires precision and consistency. To improve your accuracy, concentrate on hitting your target consistently. Work on your alignment, footwork, and release to ensure that you're delivering the ball exactly where you intend. Practice hitting specific target points on the lane repeatedly until it becomes ingrained in your muscle memory.

Practice Spare Drills:

Regular practice is essential for mastering spare conversions. Here are a few drills to incorporate into your training routine:

  1. Corner Pin Drill: Set up a single pin spare (e.g., 7-pin or 10-pin). Repeat the shot, aiming to knock down the same pin each time. Focus on your technique and adjust your aim as needed until you can consistently convert the spare.

  2. Split Conversion Drill: Set up various split spare combinations. Challenge yourself to convert them using the appropriate spare shooting technique. Repeat these drills regularly to improve your accuracy and ability to handle challenging spare scenarios.

  3. Spare Shooting Game: Create a spare shooting game with fellow bowlers. Take turns setting up spare combinations and compete to see who can convert the most spares. This not only adds a competitive element but also simulates the pressure you may face during a game.


Becoming proficient in spare conversions can significantly impact your overall bowling performance. By implementing a systematic approach, mastering various spare shooting techniques, focusing on accuracy and consistency, and incorporating targeted spare drills into your practice sessions, you can increase your spare percentage and enhance your overall game. Remember, practice with dedication and patience, and soon you'll be converting those spares with confidence and ease!

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