Article Contents

  • 1. The works almost anywhere you go system
    • 1.1. 1st Shot
    • 1.2. 2nd Shot
    • 1.3. 3rd Shot
    • 1.4. 4th Shot
  • 2. The 4th arrow system
  • 3. Left side spares from the left and right side spares from the right

There are a bunch of spare systems out there. You may choose one of the methods in this segment for right side spares and have a totally different plan for left side spares. You might change either of those systems depending on lane conditions. You’ll fine tune whatever method you decide on for your game. As long as you have a system that works for you, that you can refine and change as needed, go for it!

We’ve all lost games because we missed a spare or failed to get count on a split. You have to have a system that works for you and can be adapted to fit what the lane condition demands and whatever you brought with you that day. Let’s say you’re normally a pretty good right side spare shooter. Today, in this tournament, for some inexplicable reason, you feel like you’ve never shot a right side spare in your life. Don’t panic. If what you normally do isn’t working, be abnormal! Perhaps you stand directly in front of the spare instead of shooting cross lane; perhaps you move your eyes instead of your feet; or maybe you stand five boards from where you usually do – whatever it takes to help you get your feel and confidence back.

Some spare adjustment systems imply the use of the same ball you are using for your pocket shot. I’m not much of a fan of that. Unlike a strike shot in that if you miss striking, you get another chance, spares are one shot deals. The big problem with systems of this ilk is that if you have no strike line, you also have no spare game.

Some people think they should have a place to stand and a place to throw for every spare. Since there are 1023 spares, I don’t know how you’d ever have time to do anything but plot spares. Let’s reduce those spares to only four basic zones: the 4/7, the 2 pin or any of its combinations, the 3 pin or any of its combinations, and the 6/10. I’ll give you some general starting positions and targeting alignments.

In all systems I discuss, there won’t be a different shot for each of the corner pin spares. ...

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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