How to pick up spares in Bowling? ( Never Miss one!!)

How to pick up spares in Bowling

Games and sports are part and parcel of life, and life is incomplete without them. It won’t be inappropriate to say that a person’s life without any sport is as vacant as a library without books. Many sports can be played quite easily, which doesn’t require physical health and appearance to be outstanding. And almost all the indoor games can be played by anybody who is deemed to play so. And one of those games is Bowling Alley.


Sports bring competition, and competition makes one seems alive. And Bowling is no less than the competition. Some might even go further to use the term duel. Bowling is played between two players. The players are given two opportunities to hit the pins placed at the end of a track. Each player takes two turns in a frame to dismantle all the pins. If all the pins are not dismantled, then the person who dismantles the most is selected as a winner.


The whole concept and game of bowling circles around pins. A total of 10 pins are placed at the end of a track. The length of the track is set at 60 ft. A person takes a strike to dismantle all the pins or as many as he can.

Rules Of Bowling

The rules of Bowling alley are quite simple.

  • The goal is to dismantle all the pins
  • there are a total of 10 pins
  • A player is Given 10 Frames in a Match
  • Each frame has two striking opportunities meaning that a player can be striker twice in a single frame
  • A player can not strike twice in a row
  • Both the strikes in a frame are taken separately, meaning that one player strike first, then the other one takes a strike. Then the first one takes his second strike.
  • The player who knocks down most number of pins is declared as a winner
  • If a person strikes down all the ten pins in the first strike then He will retain strike
  • If a person strikes down all the pins in the second strike of the frame then he will get a bonus.
  • The bonus will be determined in his next strike and will be added back to the previous frame’s result. For example, if a person knocks down all the ten pins in his second strike of the frame then he will be awarded 10 points, and his bonus will be the exact score which he will get in the first strike of the next frame. The bonus will be added to the previous frame’s second strike.
  • Knocking down all the pins in the first strike is called “a Strike,” while if you fail to score a strike in the first attempt and knocks down all the pins in the second strike then it is called “a Spare.”
  • If a person knocks down all the pins in the 10th frame ( which is the last frame of the game), then he will be allowed to throw two more strikes to compensate him for his bonus points, which can allow him to gain a maximum of 300 points.

What is a Strike?

A strike is a complete haul. It is a term associated with a haul mark. If a player takes down all the 10 pins in the first strike of the frame then it is called a Strike. When a player takes two strikes in a row, it is called Double, and when he take three strikes in a row, it is called Turkey.

What is a Spare?

A spare is pretty much similar to a Strike but with one fundamental change. A strike is achieved when all the pins are taken down in the first strike of the frame. On the other hand, a spare is achieved in the second strike of the frame – when you knock down ten bowling pins in two tries. Unlike a strike, a spare has its own advantages. A player only gets the points he scored in a strike, but in a spare, he also gets a bonus.

How a Spare and its Bonus works?

Scoring a spare in Bowling has its own perks, if you score a spare, then you get to have a bonus. Now the bonus is not a fixed score, and it totally depends upon your next strike.

You will get exactly a bonus equals to the number of pins you knocks down in the first strike of the next frame. The bonus will be added to the frame’s total, the frame in which a spare has been scored.

Still, confused? Let’s make it as simple as possible.


Frame 1: ball 1: 7 pins

Frame 1: ball 2: 3 pins (spare)

Frame 2: ball 1: 4 pins

Frame 2: ball 2: 2 pins

The total score from these throws is: 7 + 3 + 4(bonus) + 4 + 2 = 20, while the score for Frame 1 is 14.

That’s how a spare works, and there is a fun fact to be noted. You can score two strikes in one frame, but only one spare.

How to pick up spares in Bowling?

We elaborated earlier in this article that how important it is to score a strike and how even more important to score a spare if you fail to pick up a strike. But enough with the importance of it, how can we score a spare? What does it take to score a spare?

Evaluate Your Leave

Your leave should be smooth. You shouldn’t stretch or try to apply much pressure. Just take the arm to and fro and release it smoothly.

Adjust Your Starting Position

The starting position also plays a very vital role when to take a run, and make sure you adjust your balance properly. Because it is all about balancing while playing bowling.

Walk with Confidence

With your shoulders open, walk with confidence straight to the foul line for spare shooting. By staying on your feet while you tote your ball,  control over your own direction to maintain your angle. With no doubt in mind, you finish the shot with the same frequency as when you bowled the first one. This is called “continuing over momentum”.


It’s important to choose the pins very carefully. When you throw your bowl, it is important if you aim for 1,2,5 or 8. Another pickup combination could be 2/4 or 6/9.

Choose the Best Bowling Ball for Spare Shooting

The last but most important tip is to choose the best bowling ball to shoot spares. You can find many spare shooting balls available in the market or online store.


When you did not pickup spare, it is called open frame. Picking up spares may not seem like a very technical thing to do, but you can’t simply ignore common sense. Remember, it’s not about the speed and power of the ball; it’s all about the spot. So keep a cool head and take them all.


I’m an aspiring bowler with an immense love for bowling. I started playing the game at a very early age and it’s been an integral part of my life ever since.

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