Diagnosing a Bad Bowling Pin Rack

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If you’ve ever gotten that nervous feeling on the lane before you throw a bowling ball because something feels off, you’re not alone. It’s completely normal to be anxious about the the pin setup, but knowing what to do in the event of a bad bowling pin rack can have a huge impact on the outcome of a single shot and possibly an entire game.

Bowling hall of famer Carolyn Dorin-Ballard and coach Bryan O’Keefe teach you why it can be so important for a bowler’s final score and frame-to-frame mental game to pay attention to the bowling pin rack when stepping up before a shot. As little as 1/8 of an inch can mean the difference between keeping a streak of strikes going or leaving a corner pin.

Bryan and Carolyn begin by setting down a number of racks and diagnosing each scenario. Our instructors agree that, when deciding what to do when you notice a bad bowling pin rack, you should always determine whether the rack is bad enough to damage your score or throw you off your game. Ask yourself how a slightly wider or tighter gap between the 1 and 3 pin will affect your shot, then choose to either hit the rerack button or go for it anyway.

Each bowler will choose to handle a bad bowling pin rack in their own way based on where they are in a game. If still in the first couple frames, some bowlers will decide to shoot the same as they always would, regardless of the bad rack. If you find yourself in the later frames and an abnormal rack is set while you’re sitting on a few strikes in a row, consider hitting the re-rack button, taking a step back and then attacking the shot with a clear head.

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