Converting The Ten Pin

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Making that Pesky Corner Pin

I wrote the following in response to member Qman’s search for a better method of converting the ten pin.

Qman’s post: Back in the old days you were taught to just throw it over the third arrow on the right and you picked it up just about every time unless you pulled it. But now it's my kryptonite. Most often I miss it just to the left. When I do miss left, adjust the next time by moving a little more left…….. then I miss it just off to the right.

I see this as a common occurrence when bowler's target too far right when attempting to convert the ten pin on the THS with their normal release.


Scenario #1: I have defined the typical house shot. A heavy amount of oil (green rectangle) in the center of the lane and a minimal amount of oil (orange rectangles) the outside portions of the lane.


Scenario #2: The bowler is targeting the third arrow to convert the ten pin. By using this method the ball spends slightly less time in the heavy amount of oil area (blue triangle) and slightly more time in the minimal amount of oil area (red triangle). When using a plastic ball with our normal release it is not a good idea to throw the ball into the area containing the minimal portion of oil. Back in the day when plastic balls were “King” the oil pattern only had about 9/10 milliliters. Today’s environment only requires 3 milliliters on the outside portion of the lane! Targeting the third arrow in today’s environment is a dangerous thing!


Scenario #3 The bowler misses right of target, getting the ball into the high friction area even sooner. Remember when the polyester ball (plastic) was “King” it was because the lower volume patterns provided enough friction to create ball motion. Now, you’ve just missed right of target and gave the plastic ball its wish……more friction, thus the ball will hook left of the ten pin.


Scenario # 4 Okay, the ball hooked left of the ten pin, commonsense dictates that I should move my feet further left to compensate. As you can see by moving the feet left and still targeting the third arrow keeps the ball in the heavy amount of oil area (blue triangle) longer (that’s good it will slide more). But by moving the feet left and still targeting the third arrow can result in a straight ball heading towards the outside of the ten pin or even worse into the channel.


Before solving this dilemma, looks look at a similar scenario that many bowlers encounter every day. Bowler “A” is an average league bowler (slightly speed dominant) and Bowler “B” who is rev dominant(typical house pro).

Bowler ”A” has been taught to target the proverbial second arrow. He finds that when he misses inside of target he strikes occasionally, but tends to leave back row pins. When he misses right of target he often faces the danger of splits because the ball goes high. I like to compare this situation to that of a bowler standing along the ocean front. If he pulls the ball left the ball will hydroplane along the water, if he misses right the sand will cause an enormous amount of friction and disastrous results. This my friends is why the THS is often referred to as the Tweener’s nightmare.

Bowler “B” often stands against the ball return throwing an entry level ball hard and somewhere right. Somewhere; because it doesn’t seem to matter as long as it gets to the minimal friction area, where it will then bounce back to the pocket. He can miss in and the ball will hold and carry a high percentage of times (speed and rev rate are his best friend).

This might seem a little off topic but this is exactly what is happening when bowler’s target spares too far right in today’s environment (over / under ball reaction).


Scenario #5 This is the method I teach for conversion of the ten pin in today’s THS environment. Target somewhere between 17 and 20, move the feet to the left of the approach to a position that will enable you to execute the shot as shown below.


Important notes: 1)Notice how the feet are pointing in the direction of the ball’s path.....not towards the 7 pin! 2)The ball now stays in the heavy oil longer (will go straighter due to encountering minimal friction) and will spend less time in the area of the lane that has the most friction. 3)This method of targeting the ten pin will provide you with the most margin of error. Margin of error is a good thing, just watch Bowler ”B”.

Scenario 1
Scenario 2
Scenario 3
Scenario 4
Scenario 5