How many times have you had what looked like a great pocket hit, only to have a rotten 10 pin staring back at you? I think I could have paid off my car if I could have had a dollar for every time I left a 10 pin!! Anyway, it's extremely frustrating to say the least! I used to get angry and end up missing the spare, but too many missed 10 pins can cost you from achieving a really good score!
I've learned a thing or two from bowling 45+ years and now I almost never miss the 10 pin when I do leave it, and you can too. The first thing is to try and to avoid having this spare to convert in the first place. Always try to get all 10 pins down on the first ball so you won't leave that 10 pin. Here are a few suggestions I have for you:
** Try moving back from where you would normally stand on the approach by about 3-4". That will give the ball more lane to travel on and give the ball more hooking time, making it come up slightly higher on the head pin to give you a more solid hit into the 1-3 pocket (1-2 for lefty's).
** Try moving 1 board to the right of where you normally stand for the strike ball (left for lefty's). This is just a starting point. Depending on the size hook, you may need to move 2 or 3, so just experiment.
** Standing on your normal board, try holding the ball down a little lower than you normally do. When you do this, the pendulum swing will be a bit lower on the back swing and will slow the ball down and give it more time to come up a slightly higher in the pocket.
** If you're good at it, slow down your speed slightly if you can (walk a bit slower along the approach). This one was somewhat difficult for me because it messed up my timing with the arm and footwork. So I would mostly just move left, right, back, or forwards on the approach instead. Practice going slower and speeding up in your practice sessions so you can use this method when needed.
If you can't get the strike and you do leave the 10 pin, here are a few suggestions to help you convert it because it can be tricky for the right handed bowler, just as the 7 pin is tricky for the left handed bowler because the ball can drop off into the channel of you're not careful:
** For the right handed bowler, stand on the far left side of the approach, around the 35th board as a starting point and use the 3rd or 4th arrow as your target. Lefty's can stand on the left side of the approach also. For the 7 pin conversion for left handed bowlers, do the opposite of what the right handed bowlers need to do for the 10 pin.
** Turn the sliding foot slightly toward the 10 pin
**Walk at your NORMAL SPEED and in a STRAIGHT path along that 35th board as best as you can, because the tendency will be for your body to walk toward the 10 pin and you may end up in the center of the lane instead.
If the ball goes off into the channel, try moving to the right a board or two (for the right handed bowler) and try again. Just keep practicing so you'll get a feel of it and you'll just get better and better at converting the 10 pin!
**You can buy a cheap plastic ball which is what I did. I even took off my wrist support, broke my wrist slightly, and stood on the left side of the approach and threw over the center arrow. The ball didn't hook at all and I was able to make so many more 10 pins adding quite a bit to my score.
** You can also learn to throw a "Back Up Ball" and be able to make it that way. If you can do this, you will have more ammo on crazy lean conditions too. To do this, as you arm is coming down at the bottom of the pendulum swing, turn your hand in a clockwise direction instead of counter clockwise. Make sure to practice this one a lot before doing it in your league play.
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Good Luck and High Scoring!!
Hello!! My name is Joanie. Although I'm not a professional bowler, I have loved the sport for more than 45 years, averaged over 200 for several seasons, and learned quite a bit with research and experience.