Bowling Glossary

 
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z ALL
B
BABY SPLIT
A split that a ball can convert into a spare by fitting between the pins; i.e., the 3-10, 2-7, 4-5 etc.
BABY SPLIT WITH COMPANY
A baby split with an additional pin; 4-5-7; 2-7-8; 3-9-10 etc.
BABY THE BALL
Being too deliberate; too delicate in the release; used to describe a type of release when the lanes are heavily conditioned.
BACK END (AS APPLIED TO A BALL)
Back end ratings seem to confuse bowlers. A ball's "back end" is the angle or degree of hook at the breakpoint. The confusion comes from the term "back end." The ball may break at 20 feet, 30 feet, or 40 feet. That doesn't matter. What you are evaluating is not how much it hooks, but more WHEN it hooks; i.e. the ability of a ball to make a turn back to the pocket. Since there is the potential for balls to have more and less back end, BTM needed a benchmark that would leave room in both directions. Again, the Danger Zone was selected and it was assigned a back end rating of 10. Remember that these are comparisons so 10 doesn't mean anything by itself. It would mean for comparisons that it is stronger than balls rated 9.5 and lower and it would be weaker than balls rated at 10.5 and higher.
BACK ENDS
Usually refers to the far end portion of the lane where the most hook can occur.If the backends are very dry, the ball will continue to hook with power for most players; if the back ends are tight, most players will see more deflection in the pocket and fewer strikes.
BACK PITCH
Angling of the thumbhole backward so the tip of the thumb is extended away from the palm. It is used to help the thumb exit the hole sooner; although very common and generally desirable, too much can cause the ball to fall off the hand early .. i.e., dropping the ball. See "reverse pitch".
BACK ROW
Pins 7-8-9-10; often used to describe the type of spare a player was leaving; i.e. "I was hitting the pocket all day, but getting nothing but back row leaves."
BACKUP
A ball that breaks in the wrong direction, e.g. to the right for a right-handed bowler.
BACKUP (SLICE)
A ball which curves or 'fades away' to the right for a right hander and vice versa for a left hander.
BACKUP BALL
A type of release that causes the ball to hook opposite from the norm; i.e., a ball that moves to the right for a right hand bowler or to the left for a left hand bowler.
BAD RACK
A full set of pins that appears to have one or more not properly spotted; generally undesirable.
BAGGER (DEROGATORY)
Shortened version of "sandbagger", someone who keeps their average artificially low in order to obtain a higher handicap than they deserve.
BAGGER (SUCH AS FIVE BAGGER)
A string of strikes; i.e., five bagger is five in a row.
BAKE THE POCKET
A ball hitting solidly and leaving a solid back row pin.
BAKER GAME/SYSTEM
A method of team play in which in all five players bowl together to make one game; player #1 bowls frames 1 and 6; player #2 bowls frames 2 and 7 etc. Most Baker matches are two games, total pins.
BAKING A BALL
Modern resin balls tend to soak up the lane oil. Placing heat onto the ball track can bleed some of this lane oil out of the ball and improve a ball's reaction. Not recommended unless you have specific instructions on how to do it as ball damage can result.
BALANCE (AS APPLIED TO A BALL)
The weight of a bowling ball is not always evenly distributed in the sphere. ABC rules allow a ball to vary 3 ounces from the drilled top half to bottom half of a ball, and one ounce from the left to right side.Before resin balls, these weights were used to subtly change the roll pattern of a ball. A ball that has negative balances tends to be influenced to turn away from the pins; a ball with positive balance will be influenced to turn into the pins.
BALANCE (AS APPLIED TO A PLAYER)
A player is in balance if, at the point of release, they are able to complete their follow through without falling off to one side; generally means that the release and slide are simultaneous.
BALANCE HOLE
As a general rule, if you take a bowling ball and place the label in front of you and then exactly dissect the ball into two equal halfs, a right and left side, the gross weight of each half would be the same. However, if you dissect the ball off center, a greater portion of the weight block will be on one side of the ball, possibly making that half of the ball too heavy vis-a-vis the other half; also, modern high tech balls and their asymmetrical cores can be drilled in such a manner as to be in violation of the maximum tolerances allowed by the ABC for side to side weight (which is a one ounce differential); to get the ball back to legal compliance an extra, non-gripping hole may be drilled to remove the excess weight. This extra hole is the balance hole. The balance hole can also be used to increase or decrease a ball's reaction and/or to fine tune a more subtle change in ball reaction.
BALK
An incomplete approach taken in which the player walks to the line but does not actually release the ball.
BALL RACK
Portion of ball run, alongside the approach, on which balls remain after their return from the pit. The ball rack is now generally in the center of each pair of lanes.
BALL RETURN
The physical part of the equipment upon which the ball sits after being sent back to you after a delivery.
BALL SPINNER
A machine that is used to spin a ball in a container (half/bowl) so that the user can apply ball polish or sand the ball down more quickly; excellent tool to have at home.
BALL TRACK
(1) the area of the lane where most balls are thrown; (2) the area on a ball here the ball rolls; most balls will show scratches and wear in this area after several games.
BALSA
A hit on the head pin with little power behind it.
BARMAID
A pin that's hidden behind another pin.
BARN DOOR
Any favorable WOOD directly in front of the key pin(s), (ROAD BLOCK.)
BB
A ball thrown with extra speed; see "bullet" and "rocket".
BEAK
The nose; the center of the headpin.
BED
The area surrounding the lane, including the approach, the pit, and the gutters.
BED POSTS
The 7-10 split.
BEER FRAME
In team play (usually of three or more players), either (a) a pre-designated frame in which the player with the lowest pin count on the first ball buys some type of refreshment; or (b) when all but one of the players in any frame get strikes; the one not striking buys the refreshments for the others.
BEHIND THE BALL
The act of keeping your wrist firm through the shot, not imparting any side rotation by "coming around the ball".
BELLY THE BALL
Describes the type of shot where a players stands inside and tosses it to the outside in the hope it returns to the pocket for a strike; "I was standing on board 20, bellying to 8 at forty feet."
BENCH JOCKEYING
As in baseball, conversation or gibes meant to distract an opponent.
BENCHMARK BALL
A favorite or starter ball used for reading lanes (an oil pattern). A bowler understands the benchmark ball by virtue of its roll, dynamic characteristics, surface, and feel.
BENDER
A curve or hook that nearly falls into the gutter before beginning to break.
BENT ELBOW
The act of bending your elbow through the approach; normally not desirable.
BICYCLE
Same as barmaid.
BIG BALL
A type of hook that is very overpowering; also, describes a pressure situation in which a player needs a strike.
BIG COUNT
Usually refers to the number of pins after a string of strikes or a spare; usually means 9 pins, but could mean 8. i.e., "he needs a big count to win."
BIG EARS
The 4-6-7-10 split.
BIG FILL
Getting nine or ten pins following a spare, or a double following a strike.
BIG FIVE
Any SPLIT with two pins on one side and three on the other (No.1 and No.5 are among those down), see also "Greek Church".
BIG FOUR
The 4-6-7-10 split, see also "Big Ears".
BIG THREE
1-2-3 (front TRIANGLE) ("Missed the BIG THREE", etc.).
BJI
Bowler's Journal International magazine.
BLIND
A score marked for a team's absent player. In many leagues, the bowler's average or the average minus ten pins is used. In others, it's a set score, such as 140 for men and 120 for women, see also "dummy score".
BLOCK (AS IT APPLIES TO GAMES)
In a tournament with multiple games, it is not unusual to bowl a limited number of games, take a break, and then bowl more games. The games you bowl in one set is called your block; i.e. a 24 game event might be rolled in four blocks of six games each.
BLOCK/BLOCKED LANE
A lane condition that assists the ball in getting to the pocket; usually means heavy oil in the middle portion of the lane to keep the ball from hooking past the pocket; usually means increased scores, but see "reverse block" for a negative connotation. See also "flat" condition.
BLOW
A missed spare; an open frame but not a split; an error so that the spare is missed.
BLOW THE RACK
Most people use this to mean a type of strike in which the ball enters the pocket light and has enough power and drive to toss the five pin violently to the side, often with messenger pins; some players use the term to describe a solid pocket hit.
BLOWOUT
Knocking down all but one pin.
BLUE DOT
A ball made by Columbia, noted for its hardness and low hook; often used as a spare ball or a ball for very dry lanes.
BOARD
A lane consists of several strips of wood, each called boards; they are usually numbered by the player and used as targeting terms; i.e., I was throwing the 5th board; in synthetic lanes there are no boards as such, but usually the synthetic overlay has a pattern that resembles natural wood lanes.
BOARD 17
Refers to the pocket area of the pins.
BODY ENGLISH
Movements and contortions and the body intended to steer the ball as it travels down the lane. Usually ineffective.
BONO
A condition typified by a severe lack of lane conditioner - see "Mojave Desert"; term seems to be confined to England.
BONUS
In some competitive play you get additional pins, a bonus, for winning the game or match; these pins count towards overall placement in the competition, but do not count when computing a player's average.
BONUS TIME
The shots you take after getting a fill in the 10th frame.
BOOMER
A big hooking ball; a person that throws a big hooking ball.
BOTTOM WEIGHT
The weight of a bowling ball is not always evenly distributed in the sphere. ABC rules allow a ball to vary 3 ounces from the drilled top half to bottom half of a ball, and one ounce from the left to right side. Before resin balls, these weights were used to subtly change the roll pattern of a ball. A ball that had higher top weight would tend to go longer before hooking; a ball with bottom weight would tend to roll earlier. Although still used in ball drilling layouts, it is less important with the modern ball.
BOWL OUT
The practice of allowing a team player to complete their game by bowling more than their schedule turn at one time; allowed as a courtesy to a player that has other time commitments; league and tournament rules can prohibit the practice.
BOWL, THE
Another name for the bowling center. "I am going to the bowl."
BOWLING CENTER
Bowling Establishment, (Bowling Alley, HOUSE.)
BOWLING THIS MONTH
The premier bowling magazine for "players".
BOWL-OFF
First elimination of bowling (semi-finals). A Roll-off is final eliminations, (Finals).
BOX
A frame.
BOX-FRAME
In horizontal scoring, the smaller box is used for 3 ball score, or bonus on mark. In vertical scoring, the left column-box is also used.
BPAA
Bowling Proprietors Association of America.
BREAK
(1) A lucky shot (2) used to indicate that a string of strikes was stopped (3) used when stating that a ball has been thrown that travels in an path with an arc.
BREAK POINT
The portion on the lane where the thrown ball begins to hook back to the pocket. Finding the proper breakpoint (called "breakpoint management") is critical to the modern game. A ball that hooks too early or one that hooks too late will make it very difficult for a player to be consistent. Breakpoints can be adjusted by making changes in alignment, target, ball, ball surface and ball speed.
BRICKYARD
Derogatory term for a bowling center that is notorious for low scores. Same as "grave yard".
BRIDGE
Usually refers to the distance between the finger holes; in houses without automatic scoring, a player might connect strings of strikes with lines...bridges...to keep the player's streak of strikes alive.
BROKE DOWN
The act of a mechanical malfunction that disrupts play; i.e., the pinsetter broke down; the term used to describe a player and their sudden lessening of their score; i.e., "I broke down"; term used to describe the rapidly changing oil pattern on a lane, usually used to indicate a change in the lane surface requiring adjustments by the player to continue to be competitive.
BROOKLYN
A ball that hits on the opposite side of the player's normal pocket; i.e, a Brooklyn for a right handed player would hit on the 1-2 pocket; usually refers to getting a strike in the "wrong" pocket; see also "crossover". Called a "Jersey" in some locations of the country.
BROOKLYN HIT
A hit on the wrong side of the headpin; i.e, the left side for a right-handed bowler, the right side for a lefty.
BROOKLYN STRIKE
A strike that results from a Brooklyn hit.
BROOM BALL
A ball with so much action that it seems to sweep the pins away.
BRUNSWICK
One of the big two bowling firms in the country along with AMF. They have a full line of capital equipment and playing equipment for the bowler.
BRUNSWICK BLACK BEAUTY
One of the old time hard rubber balls; very popular in its day.
BRUNSWICK CROWN JEWEL
One of the first polyester balls. The original series of balls was highly popular as they were better scoring than the hard rubber balls of the day.
BTBA
British Tenpin Bowlers Association; the UK equivalent of the ABC.
BTBIF
British Tenpin Bowlers Instructors Federation; the organization that regulates instructors and coaches in the UK.
BTM
Bowling This Month magazine.
BUCKET
A diamond-shaped, four-pin cluster, e.g., the 2-4-5-8 or 1-2-3-5. Some claim it to be the 2-4-5-8 for right handers, the 3-5-6-9 for a lefty.
BUCKET WITH A MAN IN MOTION
The 2-4-5-7-8 for rightys and the 2-5-6-8-10 for leftys.
BULLET
A ball thrown with extra speed; see also "bb" and "rocket".
BUMPED THE OIL LINE
Usually means that a player has thrown what they think is a pretty decent shot on a crowned condition; the ball begins to hook back and then hits the area of more oil and does not finish strongly; it is said to have "bumped the oil line". See also "rode the oil line".
BUMPER BOWLING
To help children keep the ball in play and on the lane, manufacturers have developed a system of either placing an inflated bumper into the gutters, or a mechanical bouncy wall that prevents a ball from entering the gutter. The thrown ball hits the inflated bumper or wall and bounces back into the playing surface. Kids love it...no gutter balls! See also a derogatory term called "adult bumper bowling".
BURNER
A pin that remains standing after an apparently perfect hit.
BURY/BURIED
Describing a ball that is apparently solid in the pocket.
BUZZARD
Three splits in a row. You can see them "circle"ing (the symbol for a split is a circle). See also "turkey buzzard" and turkey.
BY THE BACK DOOR, (MADE)
When front pin(s) fall last.

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