Making Hard Spares

Making Hard Spares

Not every spare on the lanes will be as easy as knocking over a single corner pin or going after the five pin. You’ll want to use some strategy when going after hard spares to increase the odds of making them.

Let’s take a look at a few tough pin combinations and see how to make them easier than they look.


The 1-2-4-10

Better known as a “wash out” can easily be left by missing the 1-3 pocket to the right. To convert this spare you’ll want to knock the head pin (1 pin) over into the 10 pin while the ball takes out the 2 and the 4. To increase your odds, shoot this spare from the left side of the lane and aim for the center of the 2 pin, this will guide the ball to hit enough of the head pin to slide it over.

hard spare 1


The 3-10

Also called the “baby split” is usually left standing because the ball misses the 1-3 pocket to the left and is in the center of the head pin. For a left handed bowler the ball may be to light on the 1-2 pocket just knocking the head pin over and leaving the 3 pin with the 10, either way this split is makeable.

To make this split move to the left side of the approach and aim for a pin that’s missing, that’s right, the 6 pin. Aiming for the center of the 6 pin will put the ball between the 3 and 10 for that exciting split conversion, go ahead and put a spare in that box, you’ve earned it.

hard spare 2


The 6-7-10

Now you’ve got your work cut out for you. This split is often a result of the ball hitting to close to the center of the head pin (1 pin) on a first ball delivery. This may look impossible but the fact that it’s one pin away from being the dreaded “7-10” makes the changes of converting it much higher.

The goal here is to slide the 6 pin (the one closest to the foul line) over into the 7 pin while the ball takes out the 10. To do this we aim for just the 10 pin and let the edge of the ball clip the 6 pin enough to give it a ride. To increase our odds we stand in the middle of the approach and roll the ball around the 2nd or 3rd arrow (from the right) directly at the 10 pin. If we try to bowl down the edge of the lane we risk falling into the gutter and if we bowl from the far left side over the 4th or 5th arrow we make it harder to slide the 6 pin over enough.

hard spare 3


So keep the ball on the lane and practice your aim, these spares look like no fun, until you’ve learned to make one. Keep up the practice and soon you’ll have a game plan to make hard spares look easy.