Bowling, like many other endeavors, is easy to learn but hard to master. This especially true regarding picking up spares. Few of us are so good that we never leave pins behind after the first ball.
It's important to be concerned at the beginning of each frame with what you are left with as far as spares to pickup. So plan ahead. and, whatever you do, avoid the 7 - 10 split.
Picking up spares takes a lot or practice. It has been said "Pick up the spares and the strikes will come." That is quite true.
There are around 1,000 different spare combinations. Some people have a special ball to pick up their spares which is drilled differently.
Below is a diagram of the pins and their positions. If you are a beginning bowler, it is important to familiarize yourself with this pin diagram.
The 7 pin leave and the 10 pin leave are usually picked up by a far right (7) or far left (10) roll of the ball.
Some spares can be picked up by rolling a strike ball, if the 5 pin is part of the leave. Taking out the 5 pin hopefully will pick up the other pins.
The following are some spares and possible solutions for picking them up:
- The 6-9-10 leave would be picked up by the far left starting position and going cross lane.
- The 4-7-8 leave would be picked up by a starting position on the far right and going cross lane.
- The 1-2-5-8 would be picked up by rolling a strike ball and taking out the 5 pin which will take out the others.
- 1-3-5-9 could be picked up by starting left of center.
- The 5-9 would be picked up by rolling from left of center. This is a hard spare to pick up because it is easy to pick off just one of the pins.
A sleeper spare is where one pin is left almost directly behind the front pin and the ball will pick off the front pin unless the hit is straight on.
The above examples are only a few strike combinations that are possible and maybe a solution to pick them up.