Why Am I Leaving the 7 Pin?

For Left-Handed Bowlers - Why the 7 Pin Won't Fall and How to Correct it

USAG-Humphreys/flickr/CC BY 2.0

Note: this article is for left-handed bowlers and does not apply to right-handers. If you're right-handed and are struggling with the 10 pin, try this article.

One of the great sources of frustration in bowling is the 7 pin. It's typically the hardest single-pin spare to pick up and often remains standing after what seemed to be a perfect strike ball. Fortunately, the fix is not overly complicated.

What's Happening?

It's easy to attribute a standing 7 pin to bad luck, and from time to time, it may be true. But if you're consistently leaving the 7 pin, something is obviously off. Most likely, it's your entry angle.

When you're knocking down every pin but the 7, you're either coming in light (the 2 pin hits the back of the 4, pushing it in front of the 7) or heavy (the 2 pin hits the front of the 4, sending it to the back of the 7).

While bowling, take note of what the 2 and 4 pins are doing. If you see the 4 missing in front of the 7, you're coming in light, and if you see it hitting behind, you're coming in heavy. If you can't tell, you can still try these simple adjustments to figure out your solution.

If You're Coming in Light

You need to get your ball out of the oil sooner, which will let it come into the pocket stronger and with a better angle. The two simplest methods to try:

  • Move 1/2-2 boards right on the approach but keep your same target.
  • Move 4-6 inches back on the approach but keep your same target.

If you're more comfortable moving laterally, try that first. If you prefer moving forward and backward, try that first. You should start seeing more strikes and less 7-pin leaves.

If You're Coming in Heavy

The fixes for coming in heavy are exactly the opposite of coming light:

  • Move 1/2-2 boards left on the approach but keep your same target.
  • Move 4-6 inches forward on the approach but keep your same target.

The 7 pin will likely forever perplex bowlers, but if you pay attention to your shots and what your ball is doing, you can correct things before they get too bad.