Shhh! It's a Secret #9

Tips for bowling training for spares...

We practice strike shots continuously. You work with each of your balls determining their different reaction patterns. You practice striking from all different areas of the lane. You work with different releases to determine how they affect ball reaction and carry. You therefore have a tremendous inventory from which to choose when you're faced with differing lane conditions.

Generally speaking, the only time you practice spare shooting is those occasions when your practice experiments don't carry and you work on converting your spares. (This happens a lot, obviously, because you NEVER rerack in practice, understanding the importance of making spares as you do.) Or the worst of all scenarios, you are keeping score while you think you're practicing and shoot your spares. (If you're keeping score, winning matters. If winning matters, you're not practicing). Your spare shooting timing and inventory is therefore not as vast as your strike inventory. As you know, the philosophy of great players is that they make their spares and the strikes will take care of themselves. Besides, spares are what keep you in the money. 'Strike for show, spare for dough.'

I recommend that in some of your practice sessions, your spare ball is the only one you take in the building. It is certainly true that when you shoot the 6/10 with a full rack, the consequences of your failure are not great. After all, if you miss, you get another chance. When that 6/10 is standing there by itself, the pins sometimes look like toothpicks. However, the only way to get comfortable with the angle and your timing is to repeat shots until you feel competent. This feeling of competence makes those pins look like barrels instead of toothpicks.

After shooting the 6/10 with a full rack, you'll probably have some pins on the left side of the lane - a perfect chance to pick off a left side spare. When you shoot the 4/7 with a full rack, a right side spare will most likely remain. Choose what you shoot to challenge yourself. That's the only way you'll get comfortable and competent. Practice sessions like this will help alleviate that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you leave a difficult spare or even those single pin clusters that bother you.

You know how many times you've missed the cut by a spare or lost a game because of count on a split. I cannot stress enough how important this is to your success as a player. You'll never strike enough to cover up for a missed spare.