9 Pin No-Tap

9 Pin No-Tap is a scoring system that counts 9 pins knocked down on the first ball as a strike in the game of bowling.

It’s interesting for good bowlers how it changes the psychology of the sport. In normal competition, the best bowlers are only separated by their ability to knock down all ten pins in one shot rather than getting 9, this is referred to as “carry.”  It seems obvious that striking is the point of the game, but good bowlers commonly continue to hit “the pocket” and get only 9 pins. Keep in mind, every time there are two or more strikes in a row, and a 9 count happens rather than a strike, 21 points are lost from the maximum score, a big problem in competition.

The common approaches to rectifying 9 counts into strikes are changing ball speed, moving left or right on the lane, changing the amount of loft on the ball, changing the ball thrown, increasing or decreasing rev rate (AKA rotation) and changing the direction of rotation on the ball. What change to make depends on the motion the ball is making and the way the pins respond to the ball. However, in 9 pin no tap, the confidence in knowing that as long as the headpin is hit, there is a good chance of at least 9 pins going down, and counting as a strike, is liberating. I’ve seen that good bowlers make more aggressive changes and actually throw more real strikes than they do under the normal scoring system.

The irony is the same opportunity for aggressive adjustment exists in the regular scoring system if the fear of not striking didn’t scare bowlers out of it. This isn’t unique to bowling. Whether consciously aware or otherwise, we’re all scared our decisions won’t pay off, no matter how minor they are. It’s time to switch your mental scoring system to “no-tap” freeing yourself up to do your best work ever.