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Why am I Leaving the 10 Pin?

For Right-Handed Bowlers - Why the 10 Pin Won't Fall and How to Correct it


Bowling Ball Hitting pins
Jodi Jacobson/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Note: this article is for right-handed bowlers and does not apply to left-handers. If you're left-handed and are struggling with the 7 pin, try this article.

One of bowling's great sources of frustration is the 10 pin. It's typically the hardest single-pin spare to pick up, and often remains standing after what seemed to be a perfect strike ball. Fortunately, the fix is not overly complicated.

What's Happening?

It's easy to attribute a standing 10 pin to bad luck, and from time to time, it may be true. But if you're consistently leaving the 10 pin, something is obviously off. Most likely, it's your entry angle.

When you're knocking down every pin but the 10, you're either coming in light (the 3 pin hits the back of the 6, pushing it in front of the 10) or heavy (the 3 pin hits the front of the 6, sending it to the back of the 10).

While bowling, take note of what the 3 and 6 pins are doing. If you see the 6 missing in front of the 10, you're coming in light, and if you see it hitting behind, you're coming in heavy. If you can't tell, you can still try these simple adjustments to figure out your solution.

If You're Coming in Light

You need to get your ball out of the oil sooner, which will let it come into the pocket stronger and with a better angle. The two simplest methods to try:

  • Move 1/2-2 boards left on the approach but keep your same target.
  • Move 4-6 inches back on the approach but keep your same target.

If you're more comfortable moving laterally, try that first. If you prefer moving forward and backward, try that first. You should start seeing more strikes and less 10-pin leaves.

If You're Coming in Heavy

The fixes for coming in heavy are exactly the opposite of coming in light:

  • Move 1/2-2 boards right on the approach but keep your same target.
  • Move 4-6 inches forward on the approach but keep your same target.

The 10 pin will likely forever perplex bowlers, but if you pay attention to your shots and what your ball is doing, you can correct things before they get too bad.

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