What Are Some Good Tips to Help With Duckpin Bowling?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 5, 2020 8:35:17 PM ET

Increased throwing repetitions and target precision are the keys to improving in the game of duckpin bowling. The differences in ball and pin size require a slightly different approach than that of traditional 10-pin bowling.

The significantly smaller ball used in duckpin, approximately 5 inches in diameter and 4 pounds, compared to 8.5 inches and up to 16 pounds in 10-pin, involves more of a "throwing" motion with less swinging of the arm. In making the adjustment, those new to the game are encouraged to develop a fluid technique until each throw is identical to the previous.

While the pins are arranged in the same manner as those of traditional 10-pin, duckpins are stouter and shorter, just 9 to 9 1/2 inches, compared to 15. It is important that the "pocket," the area between the 1 and 3 pin and 1 and 2 pin, serves as the precise point of impact. This is easiest in balls employing little to no curve, according to alley owner Ralph Curry.

As a result of the increased difficulty, duckpin competitors throw up to three balls per frame instead of two. Like 10-pin, knocking down all pins on the first or second throw of a frame results in a strike or spare, respectively. However, players are given a third throw to eliminate remaining pins in duckpin.

While perfect games in 10-pin bowling are regular among amateurs and professionals, such a game has never occurred in duckpin; as of 2015, the record in a sanctioned game is Pete Signore Jr.'s 279 in 1992.