The Dreaded Ten Pin in Bowling – Do This Now

 The Dreaded Ten Pin In Bowling. How often has this happened to you? You thought you had a strike, only to end up staring at one remaining pin. The dreaded ten pin..

You go through you steps, your backswing feels good, you follow through, and the bowling ball feels good as it leaves you hand.

You watch it travel down the lane, you hit your mark, and watch as the ball rolls over it. Everything looks good, the ball is following the line you want. it starts to break and hook to the pocket.

The ball entry looks good, hitting the 1-3(1-2 for lefties) pocket where it should, nice looking angle. The pins start to fly and your thinking “Strike”. Then it happens, 9 pins clear the deck and one remains, the ten pin(seven pin for LHB).

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The Dreaded Ten Pin-You Got Robbed

Now you wonder to yourself, why did than happen? That was a good ball I just threw! Have you heard others comment,”you got robbed”?. Well, did you get robbed, or was something wrong with the ball that you thought was so good?

I though it might be worthwhile to find out what really happens to cause leaving the ten pin in bowling. Let’s face it, if it was a truly good shot, then it would have been a strike.

Here is a video I ran across on You Tube from

Ok, so after watching that, then what do we do to change the path of the ball to correct for the flat ten pin or the wrapped ten pin?

The Flat Ten Pin

First lets deal with the flat ten pin. This is the shot where the 6 pin is lying in the gutter. The ball is rolling out or has lost energy. So, what adjustment is now necessary to correct the problem? Well, consider what has happened to cause the 6 pin to go to the gutter in the first place.

Stop the video above and examine it. As the ball enters the pocket, it drives the 3 pin almost straight back and deflects the 6 pin to the gutter. For left handed bowlers- (LHB)- the 2-4 combo, where the 4 pin lays in the gutter.

So, to correct that, the ball has to hit slightly higher in the pocket to carry the shot. This will result in the 3 pin gaining a better angle towards the 6 pin and forcing it into the 10 pin and not into the gutter. Likewise, for LHB the 4 pin carries the 7 pin better.

The Easiest Thing To Try Avoid Leaving The Ten Pin

The first and easiest adjustment is to move back slightly with your starting point, to allow the ball more time to move a bit higher in the pocket.Or slow the ball speed slightly would also allow it to come into the pocket just a little higher.

Increasing the lift you place on the ball, could also help to make the adjustment. and of course a change to a ball that hooks a bit harder could also give you the desired result.

Another adjustment is to move your feet one board right and throw the same mark. Or try to change the mark you use to line you shot up, and throw slightly the right of your mark.

This allows the ball to use the drier boards on the outside of the lane to create more friction to get the ball to hook sooner.

The Wrapped Ten Pin

Now, lets look at the wrapped ten pin. This is also the same type of situation, where the 3 pin drives back and hits the 6 pin too lightly and drives the 6 pin to the side and around the ten pin, instead of back toward the ten pin. LHB- 4 pin wraps the 7.

Here again the adjustment is the same, where as you may move back slightly, slow the speed down or change balls, or move your feet or mark to the side slightly.

But do note, if the ball goes too high after your adjustment, and you did in fact hit your mark, then you need to get the ball further down the lane by maybe looking past your mark slightly, and in effect putting a slight amount of loft on the ball.

The Key is The Six Pin-(4 pin for LHB)

The key is to watch the 6 pin on your strike. It is possible that you could also throw a straighter ball that has very little turn, or thrown straight, hits the 1-3 pocket, drives the 3 pin slightly in front of the 6 pin, and drives the 6 pin straight back into the pit, and it also leaves the 10 pin.

LHB – hits the 1-2 pocket, drive the 2 pin in front of the 4 pin and drive the 4 into the pit, and leaves the 7 pin.

High Hits

It is also possible to have a hit that is too high on the head pin, that would leave the 10 pin and possibly the 7 pin also for the 7-10 split. That is a high hit. The adjustment for a high hit, is the opposite of a light hit.

You would move up with your feet, or left for a sideways adjustment. Also, using a ball with a shine that travels farther down the lane by skidding more and delaying the hook on the ball.

Too Much Angle

A common problem exists for people who have a great deal of hook or turn on the ball.The ball enters the pocket at too steep an angle. Unfortunately, the result is similar to a high hit.

The path of the ball is too wide with a lot of revs. This will cause the ball to arrive into the 1-3 pocket too steeply, and drive the 6 pin straight into the pit. LHB – 1-2 – and 4 pin into the pit.

A ball change to a weaker ball will help prevent this. Also, an increase in the forward roll on the ball and reduction the rotation will help. This will force the ball to travel farther down the lane before it hits the pocket.

Try using an adjustable wrist support.

This will make it possible to change the amount of lift you are imparting on the ball. Here is more information on what the adjustable wrist support is. You can find them and other bowling products here with free shipping.

One thing is certain, you must first recognize the reason you are leaving 10 pins. Then, you can make the adjustment.

More strikes will result, and your score will increase. By reducing the number of 10 pins in your game, you will also increase the enjoyment you get from the game. After all, who wants to keep trying to make 10 pin spares, shot after shot.I know I don’t!

Any questions or comments,please leave it below


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2 thoughts on “The Dreaded Ten Pin in Bowling – Do This Now”

  1. I can relate to dreading the sight of the ten pin. I’m not the best bowler, but I’ve had my fair share of decent games tainted by a lack of strikes due to the ten pin. I appreciate the advice on how to correct my technique and avoid getting this same issue next time I bowl. Let’s hope it works!

    • Hi Bernard,
      Yes,that ten pin can ruin a good night at the bowling alley. I had my share of games where a nice string of strikes comes to an end with a ten pin left on the deck. I hope the advice helps you improve. Good luck and thanks for taking the time to comment!


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