Left side spare game

Posted by: Anonymous

Left side spare game - 06/04/08 02:34 PM

I've been struggling covering my single pin spares on the left side. I've been sticking with my plan to throw my spare ball straight at all single pin leaves and have the right side under control going straight at the pins. The single pin spares on the left side spares have been a nightmare. I convert only about 70% of these shots. I try to roll straight at the 4, 7, 8 pin but I lack consistency and confidence. I use the 4th arrow as my primary target straight through to the pin.

I'm tempted to fall back to throwing my hook ball to cover these spares as I convert them 85 to 90% of the time. Am I making a mistake by falling back to throwing my hooking ball or is there some practice tip I can use to improve my spare targeting system when throwing the plastic spare ball shot straight at these single pins?
Posted by: cgeorg

Re: Left side spare game - 06/04/08 02:40 PM

Well, what is the problem? How are you missing? Left, right, all over the place?

Missing left - pushaway is probably to the right. Push towards your target.

Missing right - Your body needs to be lined up facing left. You may be lining up square to the line. Also, you may be pushing away to the left.

Missing all over the place - ... Inconsistency, what can you say? Practice. Make sure you have a free swing. Make sure you face your target, and walk parallel to the target. Ignore the direction of the lane and the direction of the foul line - it is just you and your target.
Posted by: Reconbbs

Re: Left side spare game - 06/04/08 02:47 PM

Switching from hooking at spares to throwing straight at them is a pretty hefty transition. It can be done and you'll be happy you did after doing so. When you bowl on sport shots and the pba patterns, throwing straight at spares will help you out so much. You just need to practice, practice, practice! Just work on hitting your marks. It's as simple as hitting your mark and turning around knowing you made the spare.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Left side spare game - 06/04/08 02:51 PM

Thanks cgeorge. Most of my misses are off to left. I'll work on focusing on getting the pushaway more toward the target. Bad thing is once I miss a couple of these easy spares, my self-doubts gnaw away at me and I start fishing around for an adjustment and make things worse. Tonight's league night, so I'll get a chance to see if this gets me on track.
Posted by: Luksa

Re: Left side spare game - 06/04/08 02:59 PM

When you step up onto the approach and set up in your stance, move your heels one board to the right and keep your toes where they are.

This will set up your body so it will point slightly to the left - your feet and shoulders need to face left a little. This is different than when you play the right side spares - there you want the shoulders to be pretty much parallel to the foul line.

There was an article about this in the March 08 issue of BTM (pages 21-24).

After you do this, just have trust in the line and throw the ball believing it will hit the pin. If you don't trust it, you will try to steer the ball and you will probably miss.
Posted by: Satyuros

Re: Left side spare game - 06/04/08 05:17 PM

Actually, I think you should be pointing your body to the right as well on right hand spares, especially if you're angling yourself for left hand spares. This way you're not throwing the ball different if you're square to the line but releasing towards a 10 pin. S'just my take, at least
Posted by: Luksa

Re: Left side spare game - 06/04/08 05:25 PM

I agree your shoulders shouldn't be perfectly parallel to the foul line when shooting for the 10 pin. However, the angle should be a lot less than when shooting the 7 pin if you're a right hander.

If you're shooting the 10 pin and standing as far left as possible (up against the ball return), your right shoulder is not really as far left as it is right, when you are shooting the 7 pin.
Posted by: CoachJim

Re: Left side spare game - 06/04/08 06:33 PM

yeehayashi, shooting straight at the left side spares is hard for most right handers because they tend to use the foul line as a straightness refference and finish square to the foul line instead of square to the 2, 4, 7, or 8 pin.

Most likely you are finishing square to the foul line and pulling the ball toward your target. I start with my left foot on the 20 board and walk straight toward the 25 board and aim for the 20 board, this usually leaves me square to the 7 pin and adjust 2 boards to the left for the 4,7 3 boards for the 3 3 more for the 2 and 8.
Posted by: ORobbed1

Re: Left side spare game - 06/05/08 01:52 PM

Yeehayashi, stick with it now, go through the frustration and then reap the benefit of not having to alter your spare shots due to lane conditions ever again. I have spent the last 3 months dedicated to making the switch and at times I have wanted to pitch the effort completely frustrated. As with almost all changes you make in your game, it is easier to do it the old way than the new until you have put in the number of shots necessary to be comfortable with the ‘new’ (per Reconnbs practice, practice practice).

Coach Jim is completely right about the alignment and difficulties therein, if I might add the thing that I think help me most on the left side spares was drawing an imaginary line parallel to my shot line and work on walking left along that line (for some reason, walking parallel straight and right are easy, walking towards the left seems unnatural at first, it helped to visualize where my slide foot needed to end up).

Anyway, for me the payoff started with the PBA shot, I can throw at the simple spares exactly like I do in any other league and find that my spare game never goes away no matter how the lane changes and there is absolutely no guessing about how the ball is going to react.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Left side spare game - 06/06/08 12:06 AM

Thanks for everyone's insight, feedback and encouragement. This is the best forum for bowlers of all skill levels and its great to get the benefit of the knowledge from folks who really know how to play this sport. I'm going to stick with throwing straight at my left side spares and work on getting aligned squarely to the pin(s). I realize I'm hung up aligning myself square to the foul line. I'm going to also use every other practice session to work only on my spare game.
Posted by: Atochabsh

Re: Left side spare game - 06/06/08 02:46 AM

OK, so I'm going to throw a monkey wrench in this. Why are you switching from using your strike ball to using your spare ball if you were nearly 100% on left sided spares? For left sided spares I am NOT counting the bucket. Because leaving the bucket is an obvious symptom of a bad strike shot. Therefore, you should not totally revamp your bowling system for a bad shot. So I am thinking you are having trouble with the single pin 7 or 4 pin leave.

Are you expecting to bowl on sport, flat and PBA conditions on a regular basis? If so then you are going to have put up with the learning curve involved. And I support this.

If not, then I don't see any reason to change. If you think that you might bowl a sport, flat or PBA condition maybe a couple times a year, then IMO, its still not worth switching.

Its a little odd, for right handers to have trouble with left side spares (I'm not counting the bucket). But I struggled with the 7 pin more so then the 10 pin. When I started seeing more synthetic lanes, the 7 pin and 4 pin got much harder to convert. The lanes just didn't hook like I was used to. And I did try shooting the 7 with my spare ball to no avail. But I did practice and concentrated and put thought into what exactly I had to do to make those "simple" spares dependable. As usual it all came down to practice and repetition. So if you are determined to use your plastic ball, then you are going to have to put in time at the center, just shooting 7 and 4 pins.

I'm a pretty good spare shooter and when confronted with such patterns I still use my strike ball and I still have good results converting my spares. I just adjust my existing system for the condition. But I have a spare system (on a house shot) that is pretty darn solid. So maybe, I'm suggesting, that your spare system on a house shot with your strike ball, needs to be more secure, before implementing a secondary spare system with a plastic ball. But having both in place would be a good advantage for when you see conditions that are just plain messed up. But I would still fall back on your strength. If that's a strike ball then so be it, if you end up (with practice) to be a plastic ball then that's fine too.