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Bowling Highlights

A Bucket in Bowling

Ed Townsend
Posted 3/25/22

Unless you go bowling on a regular basis, you probably don't know what a bucket is, even if you yourself have faced one.

In order to understand what a bucket is, it helps to know a little about …

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Bowling Highlights

A Bucket in Bowling


Unless you go bowling on a regular basis, you probably don't know what a bucket is, even if you yourself have faced one.

In order to understand what a bucket is, it helps to know a little about how bowling pins are set up on the bowling lane.

A full set of 10 pins is known as a rack, which is set up in the shape of an equilateral triangle on the deck, or rear of the lane.

Each pin is 15 inches tall and must be placed precisely 12 inches from neighboring pins.

To aid in scoring and game tracking, each of the pins in a rack is assigned a specific number. If you're facing a rack of pins, the lead or head pin is No. 1.

Subsequent pins are numbered 2 to 10, moving front to back, left to right.

A bucket, not popular with bowlers, is a special kind of spare that leaves four pins in the shape of a diamond. Most bowlers distinguish between a right-handed bucket and a left-handed bucket.

For righties, a bucket is the cluster of the 2,4,5 and 8 pins. For lefties, the bucket is the 3,5,6,9 cluster.

The 1-2-3-5 cluster, although less common, is also known as a bucket. Some bowlers refer to these four-pin clusters as "dinner buckets," reserving the term "bucket" for a cluster of three pins such as 2-4-5 or 3-5-6.

As with any leave, the goal is to pick up the spare, but clearing a bucket can prove challenging for bowlers. Unless your ball hits the spare just so, not all the pins will fall and you'll leave pins behind (known as an open frame).

Most bowlers throw at a bucket using their normal hook shots, adjusting their positioning to have the ball hit the bucket in the same way they attempt to hit the pocket on their first shots.

Other bowlers prefer a head-on-shot. Whatever shot you're using, the most important thing to remember is to make direct contact with the lead pin. Both the hook and the straight shot are good strategies on the 3-5-6-9 bucket, with the hook a bit more to the right than the straight throw.

For the 2-4-5-8 bucket, even more difficult to pick up, the hook ball is the better shot because it is less likely to be deflected by the 8 pin.

One should have fun with their bowling game so try to remember that bucket shots are all part of the game.

I like the way one of my favorite PBA bowlers Norm Duke attacks the bucket: straight on.

Bowling Tip by Mike Luongo

Let's look at a couple of key bowling tips.

One common mistake is the fact that all bowlers focus on the bowling pins when they are thinking of throwing the ball towards the pin deck.

Instead, the right thing to do would be to look at the aiming arrows that are printed on the bowling lane. They are a straight line pointing towards the pin deck and are the most accurate way of making the right shot. Focus on the arrows and you will always get your shot where you want it to go.

Another key tip. While you are approaching, it is particularly important that you keep your speed in check. Sometimes over-speeding when it comes to taking your bowling approach can be detrimental if you are thinking a faster approach might help you knock down more pins.

Taking the right shot for the right situation is critical to score better, and this means that you need to choose between a straight throw and a hook at the right time.

Whether you are a beginner or a professional senior bowler, your bowling sessions are incredibly important. Like every other sport, practice is the key for improvement.


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