One of bowling’s greatest sources of frustration is the 10-pin. It’s typically the hardest single-pin spare to pick up, and it often remains standing after what seemed like a perfect strike ball. But your score will be badly hurt if you can not spare it.
This article will help you feel more confident sparing the 10-pin.
Note that: These tips are applied to the righties. You just need to flip it if you are a lefty.
Where is the “stupid” 10-pin?
Here! Right at the corner and near the edge of the lane, seems like it’s going to drop off the lane, right?
So why do people hate it?
It often prevents strikes and lowers your high score pace even if you have a nearly perfect pocket hit.
And you can easily miss it if you don’t have good technique.
You know, the average possibility of the 10-pin spare of the pros is around 85% to 90%, but never be 100%
What makes you miss the 10-pin? There are multiple reasons, but it can be classified as
- You are afraid of missing it.
- You don’t have an aiming system.
- You don’t use the proper ball.
- You don’t have enough ball speed.
If you can minimize the possibility of missing the 10-pin, it will not be your issue anymore. Easier said than done, right? Let’s dive in.
I have to admit that I’m afraid of missing the 10-pin.
What comes to my mind if I miss the 10- pin?
I am frustrated with my badly hurt score pace.
I sometimes feel ashamed, thinking missing the 10-pin can be an ironic mistake. People might think I can make a series of powerful strikes but can not spare 1 single pin; shameful!
In reality, It’s not shameful to miss the 10-pin, and I believe that most other people on the lane are not caring about you missing the 10-pin, but their missing instead. It’s all about my ego.
Once I admit my fear, I am not afraid of it anymore.
So now, let’s work to hit the 10-pin as much as possible, loving it, considering it as a major part of mastering your game, just like you love the strikes.
Do you have an aiming system to spare the 10-pin?
Most of the time, you will have a gutter ball due to the illusion of the launch angle.
So what are the possible lines for the ball to hit the 10-pin? Let’s find out.
The reality is you can draw unlimited target lines from the foul line to the 10-pin.
But which line brings you the least possibility of missing it?
That is the cross-lane line.
The reason is quite simple.
If you miss the 10-pin to the right side, your risk of missing is the highest, which is a gutter ball.
You might argue that the ball can hook back and cover the 10-pin, but trust me, the possibility of converting the 10-pin by the “hook-back” from the edge of the lane is not high enough. You can try and see.
So what if your ball trajectory is just a little bit left target? You still have a higher chance of hitting the 10-pin due to the ball skid with some help from the oil and your ball speed.
So this is my benchmark target line for sparing the 10-pin:
- I aim and want the ball to hit the left edge of the 10-pin.
- I stand at board 35, approach, and stop at around board 35.
- My ball will roll through board 30 at the dot line, pass around board 28 or 27 at the arrow, and head to the 10-pin.
Your target line might differ from mine, but I insist on choosing a benchmark line and adjusting if needed.
Using the proper ball
With the 2-handed style, I strongly suggest you spare the 10-pin with a plastic bowling ball.
I was once a 1-handed player and can use urethane or reactive balls to spare the 10-pin with flat wrist adjustment.
But trust me, with the 2-handed style, you need a plastic spare ball to minimize the risk of missing the 10-pin with an early hook due to the friction created by your ball rev.
Some people also told me to try the flat wrist adjustment with 2-handed style, but I found it not quite consistent.
The plastic spare ball will help you decrease the friction while increasing the ball skid, preventing the ball from the early hook before meeting the 10-pin.
Enough ball speed
When shooting the 10-pin cross lane, the ball travel distance is nearly the longest. If you don’t have enough ball speed, the spare ball might even hook just a bit and make you miss the 10-pin at the last moment, even when you’ve already used a plastic spare ball.
So having enough ball speed is crucial when sparing the 10-pin.
Simply holding the ball lower and/or moving farther to the foul line when holding the ball can help you increase the ball speed.
You should maintain a medium to high ball speed when sparing the 10-pin to minimize this risk due to the sudden oil transition on the lane.
We’ll talk about some exceptional oil transitions right now.
Some exceptional conditions
Sometimes, the oil on the front part of the lane breaks down, and you will need to loft the ball a bit to skip the breakdown area and make use of the oil near the middle part to make the ball skid more before hitting the 10-pin.
On short oil patterns with medium to low volume, 2-handed players usually struggle to spare the 10-pin due to the huge friction on the lane even using the spare ball.
I recommend moving your feet to the right from the benchmark target line while aiming at the 10-pin.
Doing so, you shorten the ball’s travel distance from the moment of exiting the oil to the 10-pin, reducing the ball travel time in the friction zone. (Vẽ hình)
But there might be a con for 2-handed players when using this trick.
The launch angle is smaller when moving your feet to the right side while aiming the 10-pin.
Some 2-handed players struggle playing the small launch angle because their hips tend to open wider than usual, pushing them to be more comfortable with a larger ball launch angle.
However, if you can adapt to convert this con to your pro, you become almighty!
If all the tips above don’t work for you, you should:
- Recheck your 2-handed swing, aiming, and rolling techniques. Once you’ve mastered the basic techniques, your 10-pin sparing will improve.
- You can even spare the 10-pin using 1 hand. It’s totally legit!
Now it’s time you hit the lanes and test my tips. If it helps improve your game, don’t forget to come back and give me some comments; also, like or share this article with your friends if they want to improve.
See you in the next episode on creating a sparing system for 2-handed bowlers. Until then, enjoy bowling!