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Why Do I Leave So Many Ten Pins When I Bowl?

By:, Originally Posted: 8/7/2018; Updated: 4/17/2022

If you ask "why do I leave so many ten pins when I bowl?", you are likely hitting the pocket a great deal in order to do so. Let’s have some fun with this notion of leaving too many ten pins.

Leaving a lot of ten pins is a double-edge sword - on one hand you are hitting the pocket extremely well and on the other hand you are not carrying the corner pin as often as you would like.

When you leave the dreaded 10-pin, chances are you are not hitting the 1-3 pocket exactly how you think it looks. The ball could be coming in from too steep an attack angle or could be entering around the 16 board thereby catching too much of the 3-pin.

When you hit the pocket light, the 3-pin will hit slightly behind the 6-pin and cause it to deflect around the front of the 10-pin. The same thing occurs when the angle of attack in too sharp, the 6-pin rings around the front of the 10-pin. A pocket hit that is too high can also result in pushing the 3-pin back behind the 6-pin with the same results.

If you are leaving too many 10-pins, pay attention to where the ball is exiting the lane. The ball should be exiting the pin deck just left of the 9-pin (for a right-handed bowler), If you are barely taking out the 5-pin the ball will deflect and go straight off the back of the lane in line with the 9-pin resulting in a weak 10. For a weak 10-pin leave try making sure that you are getting enough finish on the ball. There are times when the ball can “hook-out or roll-out” and this can result in a weak 10 as well. Hook-out and roll-out refer to when the ball has expended most of its energy prior to reaching the pocket. Try moving deeper into the oil, polishing up the ball or changing to a ball that will get down the lane further before starting into a roll.

How many ten pins is too many to leave in a three game league series, as example?

Well, one player may average a greater number of ten pins leaves than another for many reasons- some including: lane topography, the oil pattern, the angle of attack into the pocket, bad racks, ball choice, etc...

Is two ten pins per game too many? Perhaps not.

If you leave, on average, 3 ten pins per game, it is virtually certain that over the long bowling season, you are averaging very high scores because you are hitting the pocket solidly 7 or 8 times per game. This adds up to 9 ten pin leaves per three game series. You cannot mind leaving 3 ten pins per game if you hit the pocket solidly 8 times and off-pocket two other times.

Keep in mind, of course, you might strike on off-pocket hits such as wall shots, high pocket hits, or half pocket hits.

When you struggle in hitting the pocket consistently, you are either having trouble playing the lane condition, are making too many errant shots, using the wrong ball, or perhaps experiencing two or three of these cases. Expect poor pin carry when you struggle to hit the pocket consistently.

No one complains of leaving the ten pin too frequently when they are having nights with good “pin carry” and are recording good scores.
Over the course of time, things tend to even out or level the playing field for all bowlers.

All you can really do is to manage your game, keep trying to hit the pocket as often as possible, pick up your spares, and play the lanes the best way possible.

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