Using the 3-6-9 Spare System Moving Right | USBC Bowling Academy

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USBC Director of Coaching Carolyn Dorin-Ballard teaches you how to use the 3-6-9 spare system to move right along the boards to adjust in order to pick up a spare. Here she shows you how to adjust to pick up the 2, 4 and 7 pins.

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29 Comments on “Using the 3-6-9 Spare System Moving Right | USBC Bowling Academy”

  1. Great system for sparing, but to line up correctly you must pivot your feet towards the target with each move you make.

  2. This system works great on house shot. But when you get to sport you can’t rely on the ball hooking the same out of different breakpoints. Notice pros, when they leave left side pins they take plastic and go straight at it, taking lane condition out of the equation.

    1. Still have to be accurate either way…but Loschetter missed a 7pin trying to go straight at it and others missed the 10pin as well…it happens though but you have to be extremely accurate when throwing straight at spares so it doesn’t necessarily take the lane condition out of the equation…

    2. @DASamX5453 you can to be less accurate throwing a straight spare than a hook spare, because the ball doesn’t need hit a break point. That takes lane condition almost out of the equation because the ball doesn’t need to break and plastics can’t read the lane much. The conversion rate of corner pins with pro’s is around 95%

  3. Good spare system, but you’re throwing more shots that are deteriorating your strike line.

  4. My issue is when I walk straight as shown in the video, now I’m 6-8 inches off the straight ahead arm swing to 2nd arrow and now need to swing my arm a little in front of my body to hit the target. Same issue on 10 pin when I walk straight, then need to swivel my hips out of the way to swing arm out to the right at center arrow. This works somewhat but then my armswing gets out of alignment and I’m all over the lane. I use 2nd arrow for strike ball, straight down and in because lanes are oily where I bowl. Is there any “system” for facing the pins and walking right at the corners, or is it just simply aligning my whole body with the corner I’m shooting for, and then using a straight arm swing on every shot? I’d like to shoot most around the middle arrow, adjusting the walk toward the pins in question.

  5. Throw Plastic on spare shots , in tournaments and on sport shot spares: Other wise you are just a House HACK:

    1. Leonard Scott JR. Why do you care how someone gets spares?

      Anyway you can knock all the pins down, you do it

  6. What happen to all the other pros that say go straight at the spare so you leave out lane condition. The only time that I will hook for a spare is on things like 2-8, 3-9, 3-6-9. The 3,6,9 for the right and the 4,8,12 for the left system is good but, rely on straight shots.

    1. We’re a bit unsure about the question here but if it’s asking where the pros are that recommend going straight at spares, they’re still out there. Your system describes a lot of what today’s top players do to approach spare conversions, straighter for single pins/hooking at sleepers. Many of today’s players have multiple ways to shoot spares because lane conditions change so quickly. A player may have a straight line target and a hook target for the same spares on multiple lane conditions. Those who prepare have better success rates. Thanks for the comment and for continuing with the Bowling Academy.

    2. @USBC Bowling Academy
      I’m  sorry if I didn’t make the question clear. If the the system that you explain is to work the bowlers shooting the spares are always hooking toward the pins. It’s not my system that I was explaining, it is the system that I learned from Jeri Edwards.

    1. I start on board 35 too, it works the same as they are saying so not sure what you mean?

      I start on 35, and hit between 3rd and 4th arrow for a strike. If I need to hit the 7 pin — I move over 10(not 9 like they say) to 25 and still throw at the 3rd and 4th arrow.

  7. USBC, is it true that there is a system called 6 10 and 12. My coach tells me to use that instead due to how much today’s bowling balls hooks. Spares are my biggest challenge. I am really working at them. Whenever I miss a spare, it is literally a quarter of an inch. Thanks.

    1. Hi,The 3,6,9 Spare System is an effective starting point for
      alignment when someone’s looking for simplicity and the numbers can
      correlate easily to the pin locations so it’s easy to execute. We’re
      unfamiliar with a specific 6, 10, 12 system but understand that 3/6/9
      can be easily adapted for a player and if 4/8/12, or 6/10/12, etc… are
      more effective for the bowler then they should be used.
      We often see very good spare shooters using a separate
      plastic ball to avoid any extra hook from their “high performance” or
      strike ball. Players choose plastic because it hooks less and can be
      predictable and consistent. Plastic bowling balls tend to be less
      expensive and having one can be a small price to pay for the confidence
      of consistency.
      Develop your own system for alignment and practice, practice, practice….
      Thanks for continuing with the Bowling Academy,
      Stephen Padilla

  8. when shooting at the 7 or 10 and we have to lineup on the other side for each shot, when walking up to the foul line , do we stay in a straight line when walking up or do we walk towards our target and then release the ball?

  9. I very seldom have to throw at any of those pins, but the 4pin is a thorn in my side. As well as the 10pin. I have a problem lifting my head up way to soon😃

  10. 3-6-9 method does not work mathematically. It can get you in “the ball park,” but it is not precise by any means. I used this method for years until I sat down and did the math and geometry. There is a much more precise method. Look up “beyond the basics of bowling.” They have a whole chapter, including debunking the 3-6-9 method and proof of why it doesn’t work.

  11. Bowling Beyond the Basics talks about this. The 3-6-9 system is kind of a myth, but mostly works if you have a big hook. Mathematically with a straight ball, the movement to the left or right is only 1.5 to 2 boards:

    pin lay-down board at foul line aiming for 3rd arrow (right handed)
    10 19
    6 17
    3 or 9 15
    1 or 5 13.5 middle
    2 or 8 11.5
    4 9.5
    7 8

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