‌What is a Spare in Bowling?

‌What is a Spare in Bowling

Last updated on January 5th, 2023 at 11:51 am

When a bowler throws a spare in bowling, it means it took them two tries to knock down all ten pins. It does not matter how you achieve the spare. For example, a player could knock down two pins in one attempt and eight pins the next. All that matters is that you did it with two shots, and the player earns a spare.


So, how much is a spare worth in a bowling game? Why is it good to get spares in bowling, and what is the difference between a strike and a spare? What is the difference between a spare and a split? What are some tips for bowling a spare? Finally, what happens if you get a spare on your tenth frame?


Below we will discuss the spare in bowling and its significance to the game.


How Much is a Spare in Bowling?

How Much is a Spare in Bowling

When a player hits a spare, that player receives ten points and earned points from the first ball in the next frame. This work as follows; if a player was to knock down five pins with the first ball and then five pins with the second ball, they have hit a spare. Now in the next frame, they hit four pins with the first ball and three pins with the next ball. In total, the player is awarded fourteen points for their first frame. The player can only count the points earned from the next roll.


Why is it Good to Get Spares in Bowling?

Why is it Good to Get Spares in Bowling

Spares are critical in bowling because, like when you bowl a strike, you earn bonus points from the next frame, but only the number of pins knocked down by the bowling ball on your first attempt counts. These bonus points are why bowlers will go for spares, as it increases your likelihood of having the most points when the game is over.


What is the Difference Between a Strike and a Spare?

What is the Difference Between a Strike and a Spare

A strike and a spare lead to the same outcome of scoring ten points, but there are specific differences between the two. One is that to achieve a strike, you must knock down all ten points in the first attempt, while with a spare, you must do it within the first two attempts.


The next difference is how these two outcomes receive scoring in a bowling game. When a bowler knocks all the pins down and scores a strike, they get points for the total number of pins they knock down in the next two rolls. For a spare, you earn additional points, but it is only for the next roll after the spare.


The final difference between the two is that you can score a perfect game of 300 if you roll consecutive strikes. However, you can not get a 300 score with only spares. Therefore, the maximum score you can get from rolling only spares is between 100-190.


What is the Difference Between a Spare and a Split?

What is the Difference Between a Spare and a Split

When it comes to the difference between a spare and a split, the first is that a spare is when you hit any number of pins on the first try and knock down the remaining on the next. On the other hand, a split occurs when you hit the first eight pins, and the remaining two pins stay upright while having one fallen pin dividing them.


The other difference is that there are no bonus points if you successfully hit a split, but there are bonus points if you hit a spare.


How to Bowl a Spare in Bowling

How to Bowl a Spare in Bowling

One thing to remember when trying to hit a spare is to pay attention to your body. In an attempt to hit a strike, most people will position themselves in the middle of a bowling lane and throw the ball directly down the middle. This position needs adjusting for hitting spares, as you are trying to hit only some pins. Depending on how you want to approach it, you can stand to the left if you are left-handed or right if you are right-handed.


Another bowling tip is to get a good spin on the ball so it comes into contact with the headpin at an angle. Remember, the purpose is to knock down some pins with the first shot and the remaining pins with the next shot. So coming in at an angle will allow you to hit many pins, setting you up for an easier shot on the next roll.


Of course, to do anything requires practice, but there are specific ways to hit spares to keep in mind.


What Does a Spare Look Like on a Scorecard?

What Does a Spare Look Like on a Scorecard

When you or someone else achieves a spare during a bowling game, you mark it with a “/” symbol. If you are playing at a bowling alley with a computer scoreboard, that symbol will automatically appear for that player. If you are playing manually, then draw the “/” symbol on that specific frame box.


The reason there is a “/” is to make it easy to understand what took place on a frame. If no spare takes place, then you have to put the number of pins a player got during a roll. By having the “/” symbol on the scorecard, you can quickly understand they had ten points via two rolls.


What Happens if You Get a Spare on Your Tenth Frame?

A spare in the final frame gives you the same opportunity you would have in any other frame; you get a bonus ball and, thus, another roll. This award system is the same for a strike, but you get two rolls for a strike since you are awarded additional points based on the next two rolls.


Rolling a spare on the tenth frame can be the difference between winning and losing a game. Especially if the score is close on the tenth frame between two players.


Conclusion: What is a Spare in Bowling?

A spare in ten-pin bowling is when you hit all ten pins utilizing two rolls. When you hit a spare, the ten points carry over to the next frame. For example, you roll a six in your next frame after the spare. Those six points then get an additional ten points, making it 16.


Also, what makes the spare so unique is what happens on the tenth frame. If you hit a spare on the tenth frame, you get one more roll on a fresh set of pins. Having one more roll at the end of the game can be the difference between a win and a loss.


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