Article Contents

  • 1. Hand position
  • 2. A ball that doesn’t misbehave
  • 3. Perception vs. reality
  • 4. Don’t walk into the wall

Here are more methods to increase your spare conversion percentage.

Hand position

Some elite players change hand positions and use their strike ball for spares. The purpose of changing hand positions is to make the strike ball act like a plastic ball, essentially ignoring all but the most severe of lane conditions, changing rotation and roll, ‘killing the shot’. This takes practice but absolutely works. Norm Duke uses it quite successfully. If you can master this hand position like Norm, go for it.

Instead of a firm wrist in the stance, bend your wrist back. Keep your hand behind the ball at release. In fact, if you really want to do it like Norm, you’ll need to roll a bit of a backup ball, rotating the ball left-to-right rather than the typical right-to-left movement created by a righty. This will cause a very high track and you may even thump the ball over a finger and/or thumbhole. This type of rotation (0 degrees of axis rotation) will not respond as much to lane conditions as your normal rotation. You can also use this option with your plastic ball.

A ball that doesn’t misbehave

And then there are the rest of us Muggles who use a polyester spare ball – most pros, for example. Keep in mind that professional bowlers make their living bowling. If something else worked better, that something else is what they’d be doing. Polyester spare balls have a lower coefficient of friction and therefore a minimal interaction with the lane. That means they behave in a predictable manner. Yay!! Don’t you wish your strike ball would do that?

Many people feel that using a ball which takes the lane condition out of consideration is a smart move. Since we wish we could sometimes do that with our strike balls, wouldn’t you want to be able to play aggressively and not worry? You won’t have to wonder if it’s going to hook or slide nor will you be unpleasantly surprised by your ball reaction since plastic won’t misbehave. It’s going to go ...

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Susie Minshew

About Susie Minshew

Susie Minshew is a USBC Gold Coach, Master Silver Instructor, a regional PWBA champion, and past president of IBPSIA. She has authored two new books, Whoever Finds It First, Wins and Bowling Whisperer. Visit her online at