Tips on how to Improve Your Pin Carry in Bowling


If you’re a bowler, you always want to maximize the number of strikes you get with your first ball. So the concept of “pin carry” is of crucial importance to you, even if you may not always think of it in terms of that phrase.

This article will walk you through everything you need to know about pin carry and how you can use this idea to help improve your scores. To get started, let’s define the concept.

A Definition: What is Pin Carry in Bowling?

Pin carry has been defined as “the process by which pins are knocked down by direct ball impact and pin scatter. Pin carry is affected by factors including angle of entry, point of entry, ball weight, pin spotting variation, and construction of the pin deck, kickbacks (sideboards), and gutters.”

The ideal place for your bowling ball to come into contact is the pocket, but this can lead to corner pins remaining standing. It’s pin carry, then, that increases your strike potential.

For increasing pin carry (and minimizing the times you leave those pesky corner pin spares), we have several tips. Some are relatively basic in nature while others are more complex.

Throwing a Hook for Maximum Pin Carry

Another source states that “the strongest predictor of pin carry” is pocket entry position, so having your ball enter high flush in the pocket is the best thing you can do to maximize pin carry.

At a very basic level, to have the proper entry angle into the pocket, you will want to make sure you’re throwing a hook ball. This allows your ball to hit the pins with more force and will lead to more strikes even when your entry position isn’t ideal.

Read our article on how to throw a hook ball for more complete instruction on doing this if you aren’t already.

Make Sure You’re Using the Best Bowling Ball for Pin Carry

For another recommendation that goes hand in hand with throwing a hook, you also want to make sure that you have a bowling ball that is properly drilled to your hand.

You want to make sure it’s a fingertip ball, as the fingertip grip allows for extra revolutions which is a factor for more pin carry.

Read our article on buying your first custom bowling ball for more information on how to pick the right ball for you.

And for an extra tip relating to your ball, you can use rubber finger inserts which help give you more lift.

More Tips and Strategies for Increasing Pin Carry

No bowler can achieve the perfect entry position consistently on every single throw, so that’s where the other factors, like “high speed, high rev rate, large entry angle, and high ball weight” come in.

We’ve already given some tips on this, and one thing you want to pay particular attention to is your release form. You want to make sure you have enough finger lift.

Also, you want to monitor the positioning of your hand at the release point, as this can help increase your rev rate.

For the ball weight, you don’t want to go too heavy and try to throw something that may result in an injury. But upgrading to a slightly heavier ball, for example from a 14 lb. ball a 15 lb. one, can help give you some additional pin carry.

The best ball speed for pin carry can vary depending on the type of bowler you are. The USBC and ball manufacturers have given 21 mph as a benchmark of the ball speed that will provide the most pin carry (this is measured at the release).

But there is some trade-off between ball speed and rev rates, so you may want to consult our article on the best ball speed for more information on how you may tailor this advice to your own game.

We hope this article has helped give you some practical tips for achieving greater pin carry.

Although there is no way to guarantee that you’ll never see a frustrating corner pin still standing after your shot, by following these recommendations you should be able to more consistently strike and


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