If you're a fan of bowling, then you've probably heard the term "spare" being thrown around quite a bit. But what exactly is a spare in bowling? And why is it important to know how to convert misses into spares?

In this blog post, we will answer these questions and provide you with tips and tricks on how to improve your spare conversion rate.

Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, understanding the fundamentals of spares will help you to increase your bowling scores and turn misses into wins. So let's get started!

What Is a Spare in Bowling?

A spare is a term used in bowling to describe what happens when the bowler knocks down all ten pins with two consecutive shots in a single frame.

Each game of bowling consists of ten frames, and in each frame, the bowler is given two attempts to knock down all ten pins.

If they are successful in doing so on their first attempt, then they have scored a strike. However, if they only knock down a few pins on their first attempt, they must try to knock down the remaining pins on their second attempt. If they are successful in doing so, then they have scored a spare.

The Scoring System: How Spares Affect Your Score

Now that we know what a spare is let's take a closer look at the scoring system in bowling. When you score a spare, you get ten points plus the number of pins knocked down on your next roll.

For example, if you scored a spare in the first frame, and then knocked down seven pins on your next roll, your score for that frame would be 17 (10 + 7).

Spares can make a significant difference in your final score, especially if you are struggling to score strikes. While a strike will give you an instant 10 points, it can be much harder to achieve.

Spares, on the other hand, are more common and can be a great way to increase your score.

How to Bowl a Spare?

Now that you understand the importance of spares let's talk about how to bowl one. The key to bowling a spare is accuracy, especially when it comes to your aim.

You should be aiming for the space between the front pin and the pin next to it. This is where you will get the best chance of knocking down all the pins in a single shot.

You should also aim to hit the pins head-on, rather than from the side, as this will increase your chances of getting a spare.

Common Mistakes that Prevent a Spare

One of the most common mistakes that bowlers make when trying to get a spare is using too much power.

Many people think that they need to give the ball extra speed to knock down all the pins, but this can actually make the ball bounce and miss the pins entirely.

Another mistake is not adjusting your aim after your first shot. If you only knock down a few pins on your first shot, you should adjust your aim to try and get the remaining pins.

Tips and Tricks for Converting Misses into Spares

If you're struggling to convert misses into spares, then there are a few tips and tricks that you can try.

First, try changing your starting position. Sometimes, just moving a few inches to the left or right can make all the difference in your aim.

Another trick is to switch up your ball speed. If you're consistently missing spares, try slowing down your ball speed to increase your accuracy.

Understanding the Importance of Accurate Aim in Bowling

Accurate aim is crucial when it comes to bowling, whether you are trying to score a strike or a spare. Aiming for the right spot on the lane and hitting the pins head-on will increase your chances of success.

Remember to use the arrows on the lane as a guide and adjust your aim as needed. Accurate aim takes practice, but with time and persistence, you can improve your skills and become a better bowler.

Strikes vs Spares: Which is More Important?

While strikes are often seen as the ultimate goal in bowling, spares are just as important. In fact, spares can be the key to winning a game.

If you're consistently scoring spares, you're likely to have a higher overall score than someone who is only scoring strikes but missing spares.

So, while strikes may be flashy, spares are the backbone of a solid bowling game.

Are Spares Harder to Get Than Strikes?

In general, spares are easier to achieve than strikes. This is because hitting all ten pins in one shot can be difficult, especially if you aren't a seasoned bowler.

However, it's worth noting that every bowler is different, and some may find it easier to score strikes than spares. The key is to practice and find what works best for you.

Practice Makes Perfect: Improving Your Spare Conversion Rate

The best way to improve your spare conversion rate is to practice consistently. Set aside time each week to go bowling and work on your spare skills.

Experiment with different starting positions, ball speeds, and aiming techniques. Remember that converting misses into spares takes patience, persistence, and practice.

It won't happen overnight, but with dedication, you can improve your skills and become a better bowler.

Real-life Examples: Famous Bowling Spares in History

Finally, let's take a look at some real-life examples of famous bowling spares in history. One of the most memorable spares was bowled by Pete Weber at the 1991 U.S. Open.

Weber needed a spare on his final shot to win the tournament, and he rose to the occasion, delivering an unforgettable shot that has been replayed countless times on TV.

Another famous spare was bowled by Billy Hardwick at the 1965 Firestone Tournament of Champions. Hardwick missed his first shot in the final frame, but he managed to pick up the 4-6-7-10 split on his second shot to win the tournament.

These examples demonstrate the importance of spares and how they can turn misses into wins.


In conclusion, spares are a crucial aspect of bowling that every player should strive to master. Understanding the scoring system, how to bowl spare, and common mistakes to avoid will help you to increase your score and become a more skilled bowler.

Remember to practice consistently, experiment with different techniques, and strive for accuracy in your aim.

Spares may be less flashy than strikes, but they can be the difference between a win and a loss in a competitive game of bowling.

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