Making Your Spares … It’s as easy as 3-6-9


By Mike Hawkins

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it thousands of times. “You strike for show, but you spare for dough!” Bowlers love to throw strikes, lots of them.

But when your strike ball just doesn’t seem to be doing its job, it’s vital to have a dependable spare game.

Some of the best nights I ever had on the lanes were those I opened with a few spares, because I knew the strikes would come.

So, how do our top average bowlers maintain those high averages? Sure, they toss their 5 or more strikes per game, but they also consistently make their spares. Making those spares is the difference in either shooting a 160 or a 200 game.

One secret to making your spares consistently is by employing the 3-6-9 spare system.

To do this, you must first find your line to the pocket for your strike shot.

You need two pieces of information — where you began with your feet, and where did the ball cross the arrows on the lane.

Once you’ve found your strike line, you simply move your feet on the approach in increments of three boards in the opposite direction of the key pin you’re trying to cover and roll your ball over the same spot on the lane as your strike shot.

To make the 2-pin (or 8 pin), the bowler would move his feet three boards to the right of the starting point for a strike ball.

To make the 4-pin, he’d move 6 boards to the right, and for the 7-pin, he’d move 9 boards to the right. When shooting spares to the right of the head pin, he’d move his feet left 3 boards for a 3-pin (or 9 pin), 6 boards for a 6 pin, and 9 boards for a 10-pin.

There, that’s it, the secret to making your spares and boosting that average by 10 or more pins — real fast. Now, get to the lanes and start practicing!

Most people would roll their eyes in disgust after completing a game with only two made spares, but when you add 10 strikes to those spares and nine of them were strung together to end the game, the attitude improves significantly.

That’s exactly what Rondell Christian did to open Monday Night the week prior to Christmas.

Bowling on lanes 1 and 2, Rondell struck the first frame, spared the second and third frames, then went sheet for a nice 268 tally while ending with 658.

Denwood Williams found his form from years ago to pound out a 248 game, while William Swinson’s 235-627 and James White’s 225-630 closed out the men from Monday night.

Debbie Winslow led the ladies with a 191-508, while Susie Thomas took high game honors carrying the pocket for a 192-508.

Fellowship League apparently had turn back the clock night as Ronnie Barfoot discovered his old form to open with an impressive 257 game and end with a 621 set.

Jason Small had the top series of the night, a 234-644. Lake Krehel (245 game), Paul Lacher (638 series), Mark Tarkington (236-638) and Jeffrey Barefoot (211-622) rounded out the men’s leaders.

The ladies of the Fellowship league were led by Brittney Gaumond’s 209-596 and Bobbi Jo Tarkington’s 215-559.

High Game honors from last Wednesday’s Albemarle Rollers went to Mary Beasley for her fantastic 180 game as part of her 457 series.

Right behind Mary was Delli Spaulding’s 174-458 and Rhonda Hilderbrand’s 148 game.

Thursday morning welcomed a 172 top game from Carol Hodge. Carol’s 449 series during All American Ladies was second only to Pat Dooley’s 454. Stella Miller added a 170-447 to go along with a 168 each from Barbara Purcell and Maria Madonia.

During MLK action, John Turner rode an opening 6-bagger of his middle game to a nice 252 as part of a 609 series.

Lake Krehel did nothing to hurt his 212 average, firing a 249-637, James White (241), Boris Beatty (241), and David Ange (601 series) closed out the men’s leaders.

Brittany Gaumond (181-515), Brenda Cowand (168), and Ofelia Beatty (167) paced the ladies last Thursday evening.

Our bumper and youth bowlers held their Moonlight, Crazy-8, Rock ‘n Bowl Christmas Tournament the week before Christmas.

Taking home the trophies for bumpers were Jason Nistler (473) and Patrick Morgan (405) for singles while Jason and Patrick were also the top blind doubles team. Jason took home the tin of popcorn for his high game of 240. In the youth division, Violet Olds (875), Ben Hawkins (827), and Matt Cooper (812) were the top three finishers.

Violet and Thomas Adams took home the blind doubles hardware.

Violet (311) enjoyed the high game popcorn for the youth.

David Ange took home top honors in the 16-person field of the Holiday No-Tap tournament last Thursday night.

Ange fired a perfect 300 game enroute to an 1121 four-game tally; that’s a nice 280 per game clip! Kaytee Simpson finished in second with a 947 total. Nice bowling David and Kaytee!

Until next week, good luck, good bowling and Happy New Year!!!!