What Is A Spare In Bowling?

While knocking all the pins in the pin pocket in one go is a great way to get ahead in a game of bowling, throwing a strike isn’t the only way to increase your points in a game.

What Is A Spare In Bowling

You can also roll a spare, which is much more doable than a strike, especially for beginners.

This article is going to discuss all you need to know about spares when it comes to bowling.

Spares Explained

A spare, in bowling, is when all ten pins are knocked down in two shots. For example, if you knock over three pins on your first shot, there are still seven remaining.

If on your second shot, you’re able to knock down the remaining seven pins, you’ve earned yourself a spare. If you’ve managed to do this, you’ll see the ‘/’ symbol on your screen, which signifies a spare.

A spare differs from a strike because a strike is when you knock down all the pins in one go. Spares, on the other hand, require two shots.

How Are Spares Calculated When It Comes To Points?

When it comes to points in bowling, things can get a little tricky. So, let’s break it down for you.

Each frame in bowling is two turns. If you knock down four pins on your first throw, and then five on your next, your overall points for that frame is nine.

However, when you get a spare, it gets a little more complex.

As mentioned earlier, a spare is when you knock down all ten pins in two shots, meaning one frame. If you earn a spare, then the first shot of your next frame is also added to your points.

For example, if you knock down five pins in your first shot, and then five pins in your second shot, you’ve earned a spare – that’s one frame.

Then, you’ll move on to your second frame, and you knock down seven pins on your first go and one pin on your second go. That seven then gets added to your previous frame along with your spare.

So, your score for your first frame would be 5 + 5 + 7 = 17

Your score for your second frame would be 7 + 1 = 8

Therefore, scoring a spare will earn you extra points, as the first shot from your next frame gets added to your spare, as well as your second frame.

Although strikes are more powerful and earn you more points, earning a few spares is also another way to get ahead in the game, and can really put you ahead of your opponents.

What Happens If You Get A Split?

What Is A Spare In Bowling

The situation that all bowlers try their best to avoid is a split. This is when the pins are knocked down, leaving an awkward gap between two or more remaining pins.

One of the worst splits is when the seven and ten pins are the ones remaining. This is because these two pins are very far from each other, making it almost impossible to knock both of them down.

However, it is still possible to earn yourself a spare when you find yourself with a split, it is just pretty difficult and only the best-skilled bowlers are able to do it.

Depending on the split, the bowler may manage to throw the ball so that it causes one of the pins to knock over at an angle and speed, striking down the other pin in its path.

A bowler may encounter many different types of splits, and some are easier to score spares with than others.

Baby Split

A baby split is a relatively easy split to earn a spare with, as the three and ten pins are the ones that remain. These two are in line with each other, so it is possible to knock them down easily, earning yourself a nice spare.

Bucket Split

A bucket is when the remaining pins make a diamond shape. The pins that remain will sometimes depend on what hand the bowler has used.

If a bowler has used their right hand, they are likely to leave pins two, four, five, and eight remaining. If they have used their left hand, then pins three, five, six, and nine are more likely to still be standing.

Either way, it is relatively manageable to score a spare with this split, as all the pins are relatively close together. If the bowler has good technique and a lot of skill, they should be able to knock these down.

Greek Church Split

A Greek Church split is incredibly complex, making it pretty impossible to get a spare. This occurs when there are three pins on one side and two on the other.

Normally, a bowler needs to make a choice and will throw the ball towards the side with three pins, as this will earn them more points.

While there are many splits that can occur, the above has discussed some complex ones and some relatively easy ones.

What Happens When A Bowler Scores A Spare On Their Final Frame?

As you already know, when you earn a spare, you get extra points from your next frame. However, this may have you wondering what happens if you score a spare on your tenth and final frame.

The rule is pretty straightforward. If you earn a spare on your last frame, then you get an extra go! This is known as a ‘fill ball’.

On this last go, however many points you get are added to your score. So, if you knock five pins down on this final go, then those five points are added to your score. This can sometimes make you win the entire game!

Final Thoughts

In summary, spares are a great way to get you ahead of your opponents in a bowling game, and they aren’t too hard to achieve! You just need to hope you don’t find yourself facing a Greek Church Split!

We hope this article has provided you with enough information on spares in bowling.

Drew Kaufner