How to Pick Up the Left Side Spare in Bowling

Three Parts:Throwing an unweighted ball (house ball) that won't hookRight handed bowlersLeft handed bowlers

Picking up left side spares in bowling depends mainly on whether or not you are throwing a weighted ball (a ball that hooks). This ability is also impacted by whether you are left or right handed. It will take a lot of practice regardless, and the best way to improve your bowling is to bowl often.

Part 1
Throwing an unweighted ball (house ball) that won't hook

  1. 1
    Correct your stance. Throwing a ball that doesn't hook puts you at a slight disadvantage for picking up left side spares. Although it may seem counterintuitive, you will need to stand closer to the right side of the lane on your approach. Then, throw the ball at a normal speed towards the center of the lane.
  2. 2
    Start with your feet on the second dot from the right and put your mark (where you throw the ball) as the center arrow on the lane. Then, make adjustments to account for lane conditions as needed.

Part 2
Right handed bowlers

  1. 1
    Be aware that since your ball is weighted to hook to the left anyway, left side spares will be easier for you to pick up. Many factors play into the hook of the ball such as the type of ball you throw, how you throw it, and the lane conditions where you are bowling. A typical mark (where to throw the ball) would be the second dot on the right, however, you might need to adjust for lane conditions.
  2. 2
    Adjust your stance. The weaker your hook on your ball, the farther right you should stand on the approach.
  3. 3
    Throw with a normal to slow speed with the same release you would for a spare ball. If you have a ball that hooks a lot, move your feet left but keep your mark close to the right so the ball travels across the lane. As always, every lane with be different, so you will have to make adjustments from day to day.

Part 3
Left handed bowlers

  1. 1
    Be aware of the conditions affecting your play. As always, the ball you throw, how you throw it, and the lane conditions at the time all change how your ball travels down the lane, so you will need to adjust from lane to lane.
  2. 2
    Adjust your stance. Generally, for a left handed bowler picking up left side spares, stand with your feet to the right side of the approach. The more hook you have on the ball, the farther right you should stand. Since your ball will tend to hook back to the right, you will need to keep your speed up on the left side spares.
  3. 3
    Start with your mark around the center of the lane, and adjust to match the lane conditions.


  • Make sure to keep your equipment maintained for best results.
  • Practice on different types of lanes to learn how to make effective adjustments as you bowl.

Sources and Citations

  • Initial article written by an IA High School 2015 State Champion Bowler (USA)

Article Info

Categories: Sports and Fitness