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Bowling – Spot Bowling

Spot bowling is a term used by the professionals and all bowlers who are fairly accomplished in the sport. The question is, what is the difference between spot bowling and pin bowling? We’ll try to answer that question here.

Pin bowling is when the bowler looks down the alley at the pins and rolls the ball aiming at what he sees down the alley. This may seem perfectly logical. After all, it’s the pins you’re aiming at so why look at anything else? Don’t you want to look at the pins? You certainly don’t want to be looking at the cute girl in the lane next to you, though that would probably be a more interesting sight. And while it may seem logical to want to look at the pins, since they’re what you’re trying to hit, the truth is, that is the hardest way to go about trying to knock them down. Why? We’ll explain that shortly after we explain what spot bowling is.

Spot bowling is where you pick a spot on the alley itself, maybe an arrow or a dot. You don’t look at the pins at all, as much as you might be tempted to do so. Instead, you look at the spot and continue looking at it as you release the ball, never taking one look at the pins until after the ball is rolled and heading down the alley. Then you can look to see what you’ve hit. For those of you scratching your head wondering why you would want to do this, the answer may surprise you but here it comes.

To understand the answer you have to first understand something about distance and accuracy. When you fire a gun, the closer you are to the target, the more accurate your shot is going to be. As the target gets farther away it becomes harder to hit it because of the distance. Think about it. If you’re playing darts and have a dart board 6 inches in front of you, you’re going to hit the bulls-eye more often than if it’s 20 feet away. Well, it’s the same thing with bowling. It’s much easier to hit a spot on the lane a foot in front of you than it is to hit pins that are twenty feet or so away.

If you’re still scratching your head thinking, “But you still have to hit the pins”, the difference is this. If you’re aiming at the second arrow from the right on your first shot and the ball lands to the left of the head pin, then obviously you need to move your spot to the right in order to hit the one-three pocket. Well, it’s a lot easier to hit the spot that you’re aiming for, in order to hit that one-three pocket, than it is to try to hit pins 20 feet away. If you keep hitting that same spot, the ball is going to hit the same place down the alley as long as the conditions don’t change and you keep the ball speed the same.

This is why professional bowlers spot bowl. Are they good enough to maybe aim for the pins? Maybe. But why make it harder on themselves? Yes, believe it or not, spot bowling is actually easier than pin bowling.

Try it sometime. You’ll see your score improve almost immediately.

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