North American Bowling News
ESPN Magazine Analyzes PBA Spare Shooting on TV
ESPN the Magazine completed more than 3 months of research into the spare-shooting success of Professional Bowlers Association players on national television in its Feb. 7 issue with a revealing “And Another Thing” feature.
ESPN the Magazine’s researchers reviewed every frame of every nationally-televised match from the 2005-06 season through the 2009-10 season, and came up with the following tidbits:
- Players threw strikes on 4,374 of 7,155 first-ball attempts (a 61.13% success rate), meaning they also had to make 2,781 spare attempts.
- While there was no distinction between attempts by right- or left-handed players, the most common spare was the 10 pin. PBA players converted the 10 pin on 95.9% of 710 attempts. Players who shot at the 7 pin were successful on 95.5% of 333 tries.
- The highest conversion rate for all spares was 98.9% for 88 attempts to convert the 9 pin.
- The lowest conversion rate was zero for 53 shots at 7-10 splits. No one has converted a 7-10 on a PBA telecast since Jess Stayrook did it in Tucson, Ariz., in 1991. Mark Roth (Alameda, Calif., 1980) and John Mazza (Sunrise, Fla., 1991) are the only others who have ever converted the 7-10 on a PBA telecast.
- The second-lowest success rate was 3.3% on “Big Four” splits. When Walter Ray Williams Jr. converted the 4-6-7-10 in Norcross, Ga., in 2005, he not only was the only player among 30 who shot at the split during the magazine’s study period, but the only person in PBA television history to convert it.
- The most surprising statistic was the conversion rate for “baby splits,” which has been less than a 50/50 proposition. The 3-10 was converted only 48.6% of the time (17 of 35 attempts).
- The magazine’s study listed the 20 most common spare attempts. Long-time PBA followers will note that the 5 pin, 8-10 and 5-7 splits no longer rank among the most common spares in PBA competition.
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