What is a Split Ball in Bowling

What is a Split Ball in Bowling? How to Avoid Them

If you're new to the world bowling, you must have heard of the word split ball or just split. Are you wondering what exactly it means? In this guide, you'll get all the answers, from the different types of split balls to the most complex split balls. Here's everything you need to know.

Bowling is a sport that is growing in popularity day by day. As a beginner, knowing and understanding the art of bowling is necessary. Although it may be challenging at first, learning the bowling lingo will not only help you become a better player, but you’ll also understand what's happening as you watch the game.

This guide will explain deeper about what a split ball is in bowling, the causes of a split ball, and the different types of split balls.

Read on.

What Is a Split Ball in Bowling?

Split Ball In Bowling

Split ball, otherwise referred to as split, is the most common term used in bowling. It refers to a situation when a player knocks down almost all the pins in a frame, but at least two non-adjacent groups of one or more pins are left on opposite sides.

Splits are the most difficult to get, and that's why most bowlers dislike them. However, several bowling champions have successfully knocked down all the pins with a spare shot.

How are the Pins Aligned?

Pins are arranged in a triangular shape and the following order:

  1. The front row: Has one pin, referred to as the headpin
  2. The second row: Has two pins, referred to as pin 2 and pin 3
  3. The third row: Has three pins, referred to as pin 4,  pin 5, and pin 6
  4. The last row: Has four pins, referred to as pin 7, pin 8, pin 9, and pin 10

What are the Causes of Split Balls in Bowling?

Some of the reasons why split balls occur include:

  • Lack of or inadequate experience
  • Hitting the headpin with a lot of force

Types of Split Balls

Types of Split Balls

Several types of splits occur in the regular equilateral triangle bowling pin arrangement. They include:

1. 7 – 10 Split.

The 7 – 10 split, also known as the goal post, the snake eyes, or the bedpost, is the most common split ball. In this split, two pins, pin 7 and pin 10, are left standing after all the other pins have been knocked down. It is the most difficult to score because it is tricky to achieve the accurate angle needed to get a perfect shot.

2. 7 – 9 Split.

The Cincinnati split is the 7 – 9 or the 8 – 10 split. The pins are on the last row of the pin deck. Even though the difficulty level is slightly lower than the 7 – 10 split, the Cincinnati split is difficult to score. However, there is a high chance of hitting these pins at the right angle.

3. 5 – 7 Split.

The 5 – 7 split is also referred to as the Woolworth split. In this split, pin 7 which is located in the last row, and pin 5 which is located in the third row, remain intact after the others have been knocked. To score, you should target pin 5 and then hit it at an angle that will enable it to hit pin 7.

4. 3 – 10 Split.

The 3 – 10 split, also known as the Murphy split or the baby split occurs when pin 3, located in the second row, and pin 10, located in the last row, are left standing. Here, you need to throw the ball in a way that will hit pin 3 and then proceed to hit pin 10.

5. Greek Church Split.

The Greek Church Split occurs when pins 4, 6, 7, 9, and 10 remain standing. These are a lot of pins, and if you don't plan carefully, some pins may be left standing. To score, you should aim and knock pin 6, which should knock pins 9 and 10. Pins 9 and 10 should then hit pins 4 and 7.

6. Picket Fence Split.

This fence-like split happens when pins 1, 2, 4, and 7 are left standing, thus forming a fence on the left side. On the other hand, when pins 1, 3, 6, and 10 are left standing, they form a fence on the right side.

What is The Hardest Split in Bowling?

The 7 – 10 Split and The Greek Church are the most complex and complicated bowling splits. These splits are also the most disliked since many professional bowlers rarely get them.

Pro Tip!

When you successfully score a spare in a split, it is referred to as a ‘Killer Shot’.

What is the Most Common Split in Bowling?

Studies suggest that the hand you use when bowling determines the type of split you get. The most common split for left-handed players is the 2 – 7 split, while the most common split for right-handed players is the 3 – 10 split.

How to Avoid Split Balls in Bowling

How to Avoid Split Balls in Bowling

If you want to avoid split balls when bowling, here are some tips that could help.

1. Practice

Practice is the ultimate secret to avoiding split balls. Regular practice gives you the confidence needed to become the best player. After all, practice makes perfect.

2. Choose the right ball.

The type of ball you choose will determine whether you'll get splits. Avoid the plastic balls, as the chances of getting a split ball are higher than those with a hooking point.

3. Take your time

As a beginner, don't hurry to throw the ball. Take your time before throwing the ball to increase your chances of hitting all the pins.

4. Check your form

Did you know that your bowling technique determines the outcome of the game? Most bowlers often get splits because they don’t use the proper bowling form when playing.

Although different players have their style, the below steps will guide you:

Step 1: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and perpendicular to the foul line

Step 2: Take a four-step run-up as you approach the lane

Step 3: Extend your arms fully, and then release the ball (thumb first, followed by the other fingers)

Step 4: Follow through on your swing

To Sum Up

Split balls are challenging, especially for new players. However, with the above tips and techniques, you are on the road to becoming a top bowler. Keep practicing and also master the different angles of hitting different types of split balls. Don't forget that having fun and enjoying the game is also part of being a pro bowler.

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