Bowler's Reference
 The Spare Shot

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Target Pin System

The Target Pin Method for picking up spares adjusts your stance to the left or right, depending on what pins are left standing. The basic method is to move in increments of two boards. If you move two boards higher, for example, your target should move 1 board higher on the lane.

The Target Pin Method objective is to pick out one pin as your target based on the pins left standing, and then line up in order to hit just that pin. A couple of examples:

3, 5, 6 leave
Let’s say the pins left standing are the 3, 5 and the 6 pins. Using the target pin strategy, you target only at the leading pin, the 3 pin, ignoring the 5 and the 6. The idea is if you hit the 3 pin straight on or on either side, it will knock down the whole triangle.

5, 6 leave
If the pins left standing are the 5 and the 6 pin, you would still aim directly at the 3 pin’s spot, even though that pin is no longer standing.

The target pin method targets only one of 7 pins that are the leading pins triangle in multiple pin leaves: the 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, or 10 pin. Corner pin leaves are always considered as the target. Using this method, identify the pin closest to you, and that pin becomes your target. The table below provides a guide to implementing the target pin method.

Spare Pin Leave


1-2-4 or 1-2-4-7
1-3-6 or 1-3-6-10
1-2-3 or 1-5, 1-6, 1-6-9


2-4-5 or 2-4 or 2-4-7
2-5 or 2-4-5 or 2-4-5-8 or 8


3-5-6, 9












Learning what to choose, and how to choose,
may be the most important education you will ever receive.


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