Bowling Tips: 3-6-9 Spare System

Being able to make spares is very critical in bowling. If you are averaging less than 180, making spares is the simplest way to raise your average to the 180 level. Simply picking up spares can add 10, 20, or 30 more point to your final score. The traditional 3-6-9 spare system is the most widely taught and easiest system to learn for beginners. While it's not a perfect system for every lane condition or for bowlers of higher skill levels, it's something for the beginner to use and learn.

This system was developed many years ago, and it involves moving your feet right either three, six, or nine boards from the spot you stood to shoot your strike depending upon the front pin in the row you're trying to convert. By moving your feet that way, you can easily convert most of the spares. Itís as simple as that. Adjustments begin at the starting place for the strike ball delivery.

In order to use the 3-6-9 system to convert spares, you will need the following: a consistent delivery, consistent aim, and consistent approach. You aim at the same target arrow and move your feet more to the left or the right depending on which pins are left standing. How far do you move your feet? You move in blocks of three boards. Each three board move with your feet will cause your ball to hit the next pin down the line.

IMPORTANT: Always adjust your boards relative to your strike position (i.e. if your strike position is on the 25th board, you move to the right 3 boards to the 22nd board to pick up the 2-pin.)

4-pin is the key pin = move 6 boards right


7-pin is the key pin = move 9 boards right

Pins Right of the Center

Converting spares to the right of the head pin requires one extra step BEFORE you start adjusting. You need to find the 10-pin line. This is the line you use to make a 10-pin conversion. You then adjust your position relative to this line. In the 3 6 9 spare system, you move right 3 boards for the 6-pin and move right 6 boards for the 3-pin.

10-pin is the key pin = 3rd arrow, find the board

6-pin is the key pin = move 3 boards right

3-pin is the key pin = move 6 boards right