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
A
ABC
American Bowling Congress official rule making body for ten pin bowling for its members in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico and US military bases worldwide; founded in 1895 and headquartered in Greendale, Wisconsin, 5301 S. 76th Street 53129
ACTION
Spin on the ball and the movement of the pins caused by that spin. A relatively slow ball with a lot of action can be much more effective than a very fast ball with little action. Pins flying and mixing, ending with a good makeable leave. Bowling for money, usually one-on-one.
ACTIVITY
Recreational or leisure in nature. Generally fun and less physically and psychologically challenging. Not usually inducing a consistent overload to the muscles or a training effect to the cardiovascular system, though do provide some forms of physical fitness benefits. Often sport oriented.
ADDRESS
The bowler's stance before beginning the approach.
ADJUSTMENT
The changing of part of your game to be more competitive on the particular lane and/or lane condition you are bowling. This can mean an alignment change, equipment change, or even changes in your physical or mental game; some are subtle, others more pronounced. If you are not able to adjust, you will not reach your potential. If you fail to try to adjust, you are doomed to repeat your mistakes.
ADULT BUMPER BOWLING
A term used to describe a lane condition that is very easy.
AEROBIC EXERCISE
Exercise utilizing oxygen and body fats as the main energy source. Endurance in nature and usually at submaximal levels.
AJBC
American Junior Bowling Congress former governing body for junior bowlers; since replaced by the Young American Bowling Alliance (YABA)
ALL EVENTS
A score based on a bowler's combined total from singles, doubles, and team events in a given tournament For example, in a tournament, you bowl 3 games each for team, singles and doubles. The total for the 9 games is your "All Events" total and is eligible for additional prizes.
ALL THE WAY
The act of completing a game with all strikes from a given point in the game.See also "off the sheet" or "XXX'ed out".
ALLEY
Strictly, a group of lanes or the bowling establishment that houses them. Often used, though, to mean a single lane.
AMF
American Machine and Foundry was the original name for the acronym. AMF made the first automatic pinsetter and now is one of the big two bowling firms in the country along with Brunswick. They have a full line of capital equipment and playing equipment for the bowler.
AMF 3 DOT
A hard rubber ball popular in the "old days". It was solid black with three white dots above the bridge. Often used by bowlers to describe how a shot hit the pins if the reaction is poor. i.e., "the ball hits like a three dot." This is to not degrade the ball, it was one of the best; it is that times have changed and hard rubber is just not effective on most lane conditions of today.
ANAEROBIC EXERCISE
Exercise utilizing carbohydrates as the main energy source. Short term habitually requiring maximal efforts of strength or power.
ANCHOR; ANCHOR MAN
The last bowler to roll for a team; usually the team's best bowler. Sometimes used in a derogatory fashion to mean a player that holds you down and prevents you from moving ahead. It originally comes from tug-of-war, where the strongest, heaviest man on the team is stationed at the end as an anchor.
ANGLE
Usually refers to the line a player is throwing; see also "entry angle". The direction at which the ball is traveling when it enters the pocket.
ANKLE SHOT
Hitting your ankle during the delivery. Ankle shots are both undesirable and painful!
APPLE
The bowling ball; see "rock".
APPROACH (WALK OR RUNWAY)
1) The movement of the bowler from address to delivery. 2) The part of the lane behind the foul line where the player takes their steps before releasing the ball behind the foul line, which must be at least 15 feet long.
APPROVED BALL CLEANERS
Under the current rules, once competition starts, it is illegal to put foreign substances (cleaners, polish etc) on the surface of the ball unless it is one of the ABC "approved" substances.
ARC
A type of ball reaction favored by many players in that the ball has a slower continuous hooking action rather than the "skid-snap" reaction of some aggressive balls. Note that if you have a highly aggressive ball that is causing too much over/under reaction, you can tame the ball somewhat by dulling the surface from the shine with a 600 or 800 wet sanded grit.
ARC REACTION
Used to describe the hook action of a ball, regardless of amount, when the hooking action is gradual and not violent. See also "flip".
AREA
A player has "area" if they are able to hit a larger number of boards and still get the ball back to the pocket. Modern high scoring environments can often give a player a 5-8 board area.
AREA BOWLER
A player that uses their instincts to make subconscious adjustments in release as they throw the ball; see also "feel" bowling. More common in today's bowling environment where power is often better than accuracy.
AREA CHECK
A ball that is intentionally thrown too wide or intentionally thrown tighter; the purpose is to check the lanes to see how much area a player has to throw the ball.
ARENA / ARENA BOWLING
In some tournaments the final stepladder finish is held in a special location such as a convention center or auditorium to accommodate more fans; lanes, usually 4 or 6, are installed in the setting much like as a stage; the lanes are taken down and removed from the site at the conclusion of the competition. Due to the very high scores of some finals held in arenas, the term has also come to mean a very easy condition.
ARID
Describes a very dry lane surface.
ARMSWING
The path your arm takes from your pushaway to release. See also "outside in" and "inside out". Generally it is desirable to have your armswing in a consistent plane of movement.
ARROWS
A targeting system comprised of seven aiming points marked in the lane some fifteen feet from the foul line to allow the bowler to determine the correct release point. Can be used to describe to someone else the angle or line a player was using; i.e., "he was playing the third arrow."
ARSENAL
A collection of balls owned by a competitive player such that each ball reacts somewhat differently so that the player can adjust faster to changing lane conditions. Usually an arsenal consists of four or more balls.
ATHLETE
An individual who competes in sport subsequently developing lifestyle habits which enhance sport and athletic performance. May also include such lifestyle habits as specific dietary and training regimens, emotional and stress management, psychological preparation, etc.
AUTOMATIC FOUL DETECTOR
An electric eye device that sets off an alarm if the bowler's foot crosses the foul line.
AXE THE BALL
Usually used in a derogatory fashion as in "You got a lot of wood with that dull axe."
AXIS
Generally the reference is to the positive axis point (PAP), which is the point on the ball where the bowler's release creates the initial axis of rotation.
AXIS LEVERAGE
A drilling pattern with the Center of Gravity located on the bowler's P.A.P. and the pin in the leverage position.
AXIS OF ROTATION
The distance between the translational energy and the rotational energy. In English, the amount of axis tilt that a bowler has.
AXIS TILT
Ranging from 0 to 90 degrees, this is determined by the direction your axis is facing when you release the ball. 0 is parallel to the gutters, 90 is parallel to the foul line. The less axis tilt you have, the sooner the ball will go into a roll. Higher degrees of axis tilt promotes skid. Being able to change your axis tilt using your release style is a very important tool in your scoring arsenal and in your ability to be able to play the lane condition.
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.
C
CARRY
Refers to how often an apparent pocket hit gets a strike. If your carry is good, you get mostly strikes; if the carry is bad, you leave back row pins.
CARRYDOWN
The oil conditioner on the lane does not soak into the boards, it sits on top. As balls are thrown, the oil is subtly moved...it might be pushed left and right, or, it might be moved farther down the lane (carried down). Usually, but not always, a house with a lot of carrydown will not allow a ball to hook as much on the back ends and scores will be lower. In some houses and oil patterns, the initial pattern is too much over/under and carry increases as the carrydown effect takes place.
CARRYOFF
Similar to "carrydown" except the bowling ball soaks up the conditioner and removes it from the area of the roll; particularly common on porous and high flaring resin balls. If this happens, most players need to move inside to continue to find a playable oil line. Usually not desirable.
CC
A 200 game.
CENTER
The lanes you bowl in...the physical building.
CENTER OF GRAVITY (CG)
The heaviest part of a bowling ball. The CG is signified by a dye mark placed on the ball by the manufacturer designating the center of the weight mass relative to the top of the ball.
CHANNEL
The formal name for a gutter. The area to the right and left of the playing surface that catches a ball that rolls off the lane.
CHEATER BALL
A derogatory term used to describe modern highly aggressive bowling balls that can offer the hook and power formerly attained only by players that imparted the action due solely to the efforts of the bowler.
CHEESY CAKES
Lanes that are dressed so that it's easy to get strikes.
CHERRY
Missing a spare cluster by taking the front pin or pins only; it usually means that the ball hit too much in the center of the front pin causing no ball deflection to assist in taking the remaining pins; i.e., leaving the 6-10 spare and hitting dead center on the 6 pin and the 10 pin remaining. See also "chop". Also, a word used to describe very easy scoring conditions.
CHICKEN WING
A term used to describe the movement of the elbow of the throwing arm as it flares away from the body; it often leads to a follow through that crosses the body; such actions hinder accuracy and consistency.
CHOKE
Failing to perform in a positive manner when the pressure was on the player. To perform poorly in an important situation because of nerves. To become over-anxious and miss badly.
CHOP
To knock down one pin of a spare leave, while the pin next to or behind it remains standing. Seel also "cherry".
CHRISTMAS TREE
The 3-7-10 or 2-7-10 split; so-called because of the triangular arrangement.
CINCINNATI
The 8-10 split.
CLEAN BACK ENDS
A generally desirable lane condition in which the back ends of the lane have little or no conditioner (see "stripped lanes" also). It is helpful in that the ball can generate a larger hook with the increased friction on the clean back end surface.
CLEAN GAME
A game without any open frames.
CLEANUP (TEN)
Down all remaining pins with the third ball, (Cleanup ball).
CLOSED POCKET
A full rack of pins set up for your strike ball such that the head pin is a tad off spot towards your ball hand; i.e., to the right for a right handed player; closed pockets can give unpredictable results, often negative. See also "open pocket".
CLOTHES LINE
A group of four pins in a single line; i.e., 1-2-4-7 or 1-3-6-10.
CLOTHESLINE
The 1-2-4-7 or 1-3-6-10 leave.
CLUTCH
Pressure situation; a player that responds well to pressure.
COLUMBIA 300
One of the big manufacturers of balls.
COME AROUND THE BALL
The act of rotating your fingers around the ball to impart rotation; too much can result in a ball being "topped". See also "behind the ball".
COMING IN BEHIND THE HEADPIN
This is a ball that leaves a ten pin on an apparent solid hit, but the ball enters the pocket late.
COMING THROUGH
The act of a player performing positively under pressure.
COMING THROUGH THE BALL
A phrase to describe the player's release.
CONCOURSE
Open space where crowds gather behind the settee. They are usually separated by tables and chairs.
CONDITION
The overall term used to describe the lane surface; i.e., .."it was a dry condition."
CONDITIONER
Another name for lane oil. All lanes need some type of protective coating to prevent burn marks in the heads from the force of the thrown balls. In the "old days" lane conditioner was used primarily as a protective measure; today, under the System of Bowling, some centers legally use the lane conditioner as a tool to assist in scoring and guiding a ball to the pocket. The area of a lane that is heavily conditioned will retard the hook, and if there is heavy conditioner in the center/pocket area of the lane it can assist the ball into the pocket. See also "blocked lanes".
CONVENTIONAL GRIP
A type of ball drilling where the fingers are placed up to the second joint. Not used by many higher skilled players as it is much harder to get a hook on this type of drilling, although, is may assist accuracy in some players.
CONVERT
To make a spare after a split leave; loosely, to make any spare.
CORE
The material in the center portion of the ball.
CORE TORQUE
Internal or core torque refers to the mass distribution within the core and the internal lever arms created by the core. Core torque is an assigned value of the ball's ability to combat rollout, the complete loss of axis tilt. High torque balls are more effective than lower torque balls at delaying rollout. Core torque can also be one indicator of the type of reaction that a bowler can expect at the breakpoint with high torque balls having the propensity to be more "violent" and the lower torque balls tending to display a more even, predictable transition from skid to roll.
COUNT
The number of pins knocked down with the first ball in a frame.
COUSIN
Usually the term used to describe the anchor player on a team that had a chance to "stick" a teammate with a beer frame, but did not strike. The anchor is said to be a "cousin" of the other player. Also, the name of the pin that is hidden in a spare cluster; i.e., the 8 in the 2-8, or the 9 in the 3-9; a "sleeper".
COVER
To make a spare; "I covered the five pin."
COVERSTOCK
The material that makes up the outer shell of the ball; the hardness, texture, and shine of a bowling ball. It is generally defined as Aggressive, meaning it is made of a high friction material that is prone to large hook or flip when it encounters dry boards; or, Medium which displays less tendency to hook; and, Mild/Mellow which is the lowest friction material and the least sensitive to dry lanes.
CRANKER
A player that uses exaggerated arm/wrist action to impart a great deal of hooking action. Usually means that the player has less accuracy and relies more on power for their scores.
CRAWLER
A strike on which the ball misses the head pin. So called because the 4, 2, and 1 pins usually fall slowly, like dominos, after the rest of the pins are down.
CREEPER
A slow ball.
CREEPER/CREEP SPEED
A person that throws the ball very slowly; very slow ball speed.
CROAKER
A combination of a cranker and stroker.
CROSSING WITH A PLAYER
Refers to competition in which you move lanes after a game or games and the persons that move with you are said to "cross" with you.
CROSSOVER
A ball thrown on the first shot that misses your pocket and hits either on the "wrong" pocket or even misses farther to the wrong pocket side.
CROSS-OVER
A ball that results in a Brooklyn hit.
CROWN/CROWNED CONDITION
A lane conditioning pattern that places a larger amount of oil in the center of the lane to assist the ball and help guide it to the pocket. Promotes high scores at the expense of talent. See "block" or "blocked lanes" and "flat condition".
CUPPING YOUR WRIST
A type of ball carry that has your wrist bent upwards; it is considered a power/more hook delivery.
CURTAIN
A blow in the last frame by the anchor man, when a spare would have won for his team.
CURVE
A ball that has a big, slow break. Compare to hook.
CUSHION
Part of the pinsetter at the back of the lane that absorbs the shock of pins and thrown balls. Also refers to the amount of a lead you have on your competition; i.e., "I had a 30 pin cushion."
CUTTER
A very sharp-breaking hook.
D
D.O.A.
Short for "dead on arrival"; applied to a dead ball.
DANCER
Pin bouncing end to end, or end over end (usually off to SIDEWALL).
DARTS
See arrows.
DASH (-)
A dash written in the place of a mark where scoring after two balls - indicates that no MARK was made in that box. (Dashes are used by scorekeepers in bowling competitions).
DEAD BALL
A ball that is out of play, or that does not count as rolled (not fair, not foul). Also ball with little action. As it applies to resin balls, a ball is "dead" when the reaction cannot be obtained similar to what it was when new. In such a case resurfacing may be required.
DEAD WOOD
Pins that remain on the lane or in the gutter after being knocked down after the machine has reset the pins. They are removed in ten-pin before play continues, but left in place in both candlepin and duckpin bowling.
DECK
Shorthand for "pindeck"; the surface of the lane ends upon which the pins are spotted.
DEEP DOODOO
What you are in if your opponent is zoned.
DEEP INSIDE LINE
A strike line that is popular among the big hook players in which the player stands on a high numbered board and aims for a lower numbered board; for a right handed player, this means that they start their delivery on the far left of the approach.
DEFLECTION
The movement of the ball or pins when they contact each other. Deflection is neither good nor bad, but you can have too much or too little. Deflection is needed to make many spares and to get strikes.
DELIVERED A MESSAGE
Usually means that a pin or pins came off the kickbacks to take out another pin or pins.
DELIVERY
A bowler's entire movement, from approach to follow-through. A thrown shot; the act of throwing a shot.
DEUCE
A game of 200 or more.
DEXTERS/DEXTER SHOES
One of the big bowling shoe manufacturers.
DIE
An expression used to indicate that the ball stopped its strong hooking action before entering the pocket. "The ball died".
DIFFERENTIAL
It is the difference between the lowest and highest RGs. You compute the high and subtract the low from that and you have the differential. There is no minimum for differential. What differential tells you: RG Differential is an indicator of track flare POTENTIAL in a bowling ball. Differentials in the .01s to .02s would mean that a ball has a lower track flare potential, .03s to .04s would be the medium range for track flare potential, and the .05s to .080 would indicate a high track flare potential. These ranges above are not based on cardinal rules. They are BTM in-house rules of thumb because there are no published guidelines. Also, differential is a guide to the internal versatility of a ball. It can indicate just how much of a length adjustment can be made through drilling. A low differential will allow for only a modest variance in length (from shortest drilling to longest) which may translate into as little as a foot or two. An extremely high differential may translate into a length window in the neighborhood of eight feet.
DIME STORE
The 5-10 split.
DINNER BUCKET
Same as bucket.
DITCH
The gutter; the channel.
DIVE
A sharp, last-instant break by the ball; it is said to "dive into the pocket."
DIVE/DOVE
The action of the ball that hooks greatly at the last moments before hitting the pins. i.e., "I swung the ball out and it dove back."
DODO
A ball that is balanced illegally.
DONK/DOINK/DORK
An expression used by some players to indicate that they threw a particularly bad shot. "I dorked the ball."
DOTS
Series of seven spots on the lanes past the foul line but before the arrows; used to assist in targeting and alignment; also, the same spots on the approach normally used to align your feet in your initial stance. Markers on the runway that guide the bowler's approach.
DOUBLE
Two consecutive strikes in the same game.
DOUBLE GUTTER
Throwing two balls in a row into the gutter. Detrimental to high scoring.
DOUBLE PINOCHLE
Same as big ears.
DOUBLE WOOD
Any two pins such that one is directly behind the other; i.e., the 2-8; 3-9; 1-5. Same as barmaid.
DOVETAILS
The portion of a wood lane where the maple and pine boards meet; same as "splice".
DOWN AND IN
Refers to a line that is more direct and parallel to the boards; opposite of bellying the ball.
DOWN THE BOARDS
Refers to a line that is more direct and parallel to the boards; opposite of bellying the ball.
DRESSING
The lane conditioner; the act of applying lane conditioner.
DRIFT
The number of boards that you vary from straight in your approach to the foul line. For example, if you place the inside edge of your slide foot on board 15 on the approach, but your inside edge slides on the 12 board at the foul line, you have a three board inward drift.
DRIVE
Usually used to indicate the power of the ball as it hits the pin. "It drove through the rack."
DRY LANE BALL
A ball that for you and your game performs better on dry lanes than on more heavily conditioned lanes; you can sometimes achieve the result by polishing a ball to make it shinier so that it skids more before hooking.
DRY LANES
A lane that has less conditioner than normal for your game; usually means earlier and more hook.
DUMMY
Score allowed for an absent player; see also "blind score".
DUMP
To release the ball without bending the knee, which usually makes it travel through the air before plopping down on the lane.
DUMP/DUMPING
The practice of dropping the ball at or before the foul line; not usually desirable.
DUTCH 200
A game of exactly 200 made by alternating strikes and spares throughout the entire game.
DYNAMIC IMBALANCE
The planned apparent imbalance in balls due to high tech cores and drilling techniques. Many people claim that this has created balls that hook out of the box with a lessening requirement to have the skill to impart the hook and power by the bowler themselves.
DYNAMIC WEIGHTS
In the old days, before the advent of modern core design in balls, the center of the ball was, more or less, symmetrical. In today's high tech computer designed ball cores and multiple cores designs, you can have cores that are not evenly balanced and distributed within the center of the ball; this allows balls to be drilled and designed in a manner that the apparent "weight" of the ball can shift depending on the drilling pattern; i.e., it is not "static" it is "dynamic".
E
EAGLE
An emblem that is awarded for winning a title at the ABC tournament. If a player has an eagle, that means he is a past champion in some event.
EARLY FOUNDATION
A strike in the eighth frame. See also foundation.
EARLY TIMING
Releasing the ball before the sliding foot completes its slide; usually results in less hook and a less strong ball as the player does not have the proper balance and leverage to hit up on the ball. If you are having trouble constantly coming high, you may have a case of early timing. Getting the ball into the pushaway faster might help. See also "late timing".
EFRAH
Very dry lanes. Acronym for "Even Full Rollers Are Hooking"; used to describe lanes. "It is 'efrah' weather in the house today."
ENTRY ANGLE
The angle relative to the pocket that the balls enters the pocket. As a rule, increased angle means increased strikes (hence the preference for a ball that hooks a lot or for clean back ends.)
ERROR
A missed spare; same as blow. Most players do not count an unmade split as an error, but maybe they should as it was an error on the first ball to come so high!
EXERCISE
Hard work. Produces an overload on the musculoskeletal system or a respiratory training effect on the cardiovascular system. Goal oriented resulting in physiological adaptations.
EXTRA FRAME
(1) the bonus for filling the 10th frame; (2) frames bowled but not scored on your sheet; houses with autoscorers track them and may charge you for them!
F
FABALL
One of the major ball firms. Maker of the Hammer line and the very popular "3D Offset" series of balls.
FADE
The act of a ball breaking opposite to its normal hook trajectory; a very slight back up.
FAIR ZONE
Portion of lane between the FOUL-LINE and the LOB-LINE.
FAITH, HOPE, AND CHARITY
Same as Christmas Tree.
FALL BACK SHOT
A type of shot that starts to the opposite side of the normal pocket and then fades back into the pocket; sometimes used on very oily lane conditions.
FALL OFF
Describes either (1) a player losing their balance at the release and they lose their balance off to the side; (2) the act of the ball coming off your hand too quickly, resulting in a very errant or weak hitting shot; (3) gutter ball as it falls off the lane.
FAST EIGHT
Describes an apparent good pocket hit that gets just 8 pins; typically the right handed players will leave the 4-7 spare and the left handed players the 6-10; usually the ball is a tad high when this happens.
FAST LANES
This has two different and opposite meanings depending on the part of the country you reside. In some parts, a fast lane is one that is very oily (as the ball travels fast down the lane); in other areas a fast lane hooks a lot (it hooks up quickly). See also "slow lane".
FEEL BOWLING
The practice of using your instincts to make subconscious adjustments in release as you throw the ball; see also "area" bowling. More common in today's bowling environment where power is often better than accuracy.
FENCE POSTS
The 7-10 split. Same as bed posts.
FIELD GOAL
A ball that travels between two pins without knocking down either of them.
FIFTH ARROW
The 25th board from the right (right hand player).
FILL
The pins knocked down after a spare or two strikes. A spare or strike so that the scoring box is "filled".
FILL (COUNT)
Bonus on strike or spare.
FILL BALL
The ball thrown after a spare in the tenth frame.
FILL BALL; FILL FRAME
A final, third ball in the 10th frame, after a spare or the second of two strikes, required to determine the bowler's final score.
FINGER GRIPS
Inserts that are placed in the finger and/or thumb holes to allow a better grip and generation of more spin, later release and more lift.
FINGER WEIGHT
The drilling of a ball so that the finger holes are closer to the ball's label than is the thumbhole; it is a form of positive weight.
FINGERTIP
A type of grip in which the fingers are inserted only as far as the first joint, allowing much more spin.
FINGERTIP GRIP
Grip whereby the player inserts fingers only up to the first joint; it is said that it promotes hook at the loss of accuracy.
FINISH (AS APPLIED TO LANES)
(1) the underlying protective coating on the wood, often polyurethane; or (2) the lane conditioner and/or pattern.
FINISH (AS APPLIED TO THE BALL REACTION)
The final "drive" the ball makes toward the pocket. .. a ball that fails to finish comes up short and leaves (at best) a half-ten, or a bucket. Can be the result of a poorly released shot, or from backends afflicted with "carrydown".
FINISH (AS APPLIED TO THE BALL SURFACE)
The amount of shine/gloss on the ball. As a general rule, balls that are heavily polished and shiny tend to go farther down the lane before beginning to hook; conversely, balls with a lot of surface (from sanding perhaps) tend to begin to hook much earlier.
FINISH/FINISH POSITION
Your body position after release.
FIQ
The Federation International des Quilleurs, the international governing body for tenpins; the FIQ has more than 80 member nations.
FIRST ARROW
The farthest to the right (for a right handed player); located on the 5th board.
FIT
(1) How your ball is measured for your hands; your span, pitch etc. (2) The act of going between both pins on a baby split.
FIT SPLIT
A two-pin split in which the pins are close enough together that the ball can hit them both.
FIVE-BAGGER
Five straight strikes.
FLARE (ARM/ELBOW)
The action of your arm or elbow when it goes away from your body in the armswing or during the release; generally not desirable.
FLARE (TRACK FLARE)
The migration of the ball track from the bowler's initial axis, the axis upon release, to the final axis, the axis at the moment of impact with the pins.
FLAT
A ball that deflects too much; ineffective ball; few revolutions; if a ball comes into the pocket on an apparent good hit but leaves a weak hit such as the 5-7 or 8-10 split, it is said to have hit flat.
FLAT BALL
A ball with little or no spin, resulting in little or no action.
FLAT CONDITION
A lane oiling pattern that places the same amount of oil across the entire width of the lane. Usually a very challenging condition as there is no block or crown; can be very low scoring if it deteriorates into a reverse block.
FLAT GUTTER
The normal gutter is shaped somewhat oval so that the ball can roll purely and cleanly to the pit area if it goes into the gutter early...the channel effect; however, at the end of the lanes by the pins, the gutters are flat, not ovaled. The height (from the pin deck to the bottom of the flat gutters) is regulated by the ABC as if the flat gutters are too high, they will allow much better pinfall as pins will deflect off the sideboards and bounce back onto the lane much easier resulting in more pin action.
FLATTENING THE BALL
The intentional act of taking power off the ball; often used to throw the ball straighter; usually described as either keeping the wrist behind the ball at the release (no rotation), or even rotating against your normal release to cause the ball to fade or back up.
FLIP
The action of a highly aggressive ball that seems to be going very long down the lane and then takes a sudden violent movement to the pocket. See also "arc".
FLOATER
A ball that has little or no lift or turn, which therefore follows the path of least resistance down the lane.
FLUFF SHOT
A kill shot, either by design or accident.
FLUSH
Being solid in the pocket.
FLUSH "X" PIN
Expression to describe leaving a pin on a solid shot; i.e., "I left a flush 8 pin".
FLYING ELBOW
Same as chicken wing.
FOLLOW THROUGH
What your arm does after the ball leaves your hand. It is generally desirable to follow through towards your target and upward as this promotes more accuracy.
FOLLOW-THROUGH
The motion that takes place after release of the ball.
FORWARD PITCH
Angling of the thumbhole inward and/or the finger holes upward so that the tip of the bowler's thumb is pointing more towards the palm and/or the fingers are angled away from the palm. Promotes hanging onto the ball longer.
FORWARD ROLL
The rotation of a ball that is more towards its full circumference; end over end roll.
FOUL
Crossing or touching the foul line at delivery. It's penalized by a count of zero pins. If the foul occurs on the first ball of a frame, the bowler gets a second shot at a new rack.
FOUL LIGHT
An electronic indicator/light, often combined with a buzzer noise, that is triggered when a beam of light that transverses the foul line is broken.
FOUL LINE
The line that separates the approach area from the beginning of the playing surface. A line, usually red, between the approach and the beginning of the lane, 60 feet from the head pin.
FOUNDATION
A strike in the ninth frame; so he called because it lays a foundation for a strong finish, with the possibility of three more strikes in the tenth.
FOUNDATION BALL
The ball thrown in the 9th frame.
FOUNDATION FRAME
The 9th frame.
FOUNDATION, THE
Created by Jim Davis, it is an industry group (private individuals can join also) designed to look into the many issues affecting the integrity of the sport.
FOUNDATION/EARLY
Usually means a string of strikes that includes the 9th and 10th, but started earlier; for example, if you started in the 7th frame you could say you had an early foundation in the 7th.
FOUR-BAGGER
Four consecutive strikes.
FOURTH ARROW
The 20th board from the right (right handed player).
FRAME
One tenth of the game; each frame is numbered from 1 through 10; if you strike in the tenth you get a bonus frame (the 11th); if you strike again, you get another frame (the 12th).If you strike on the last ball (the 12th) the game is over, no additional bonus shots.
FRAMES PER STOP OR "PER STOP"
The industry standard for measuring the maintenance performed on pinsetter machines. Most centers will track the number of frames before the machine needs human intervention to continue running, not including preventative maintenance. An adequate amount is 1,500 frames per stop. Machines that are extremely well taken care of will average upwards of 2,000 frames per stop.
FREE HOOK
An expression when the lanes are very dry; i.e., you can throw a hook for free! No work required!
FRIED
A lane condition where the heads have little or no conditioner remaining, causing early hook; usually not desirable. Also, Fried Lanes is the unhappy situation where the entire lane surface is arid.
FROZEN ROPE
A very fast, straight ball. A ball thrown with more than normal speed, straightly thrown into the pocket.
FULL HIT
Usually means a ball that is thrown to close to the center of the headpin; see "high hit". A ball that hits the head pin at or near the center; often results in a split. Striking the target pin at or near the center (on the nose, or high hit).
FULL ROLLER
A ball that rolls over its full circumference; see also semi-roller and spinner. The track of the ball cuts between the thumb and finger holes. Although once very popular, it is now rarely used because it lacks the carrying power of a semi-rolled ball due to the fact that it generally cannot create the increased entry angles that are helpful to carrying your strikes, particularly the off hits.
G
GAME
One string by each member of a team or group.
GARBAGE HIT/STRIKE
Any hit that produces a strike when it shouldn't, as when it misses the pocket.
G-BOARD
The gutter. See also the "grey board".
GET AWAY
The act of getting something positive out of a bad release or poorly thrown shot.
GIFT
A very lucky result.
GO LONG
A balls goes "long" when it skids farther down the lane before starting its hook. Desirable on hooking lanes. You can get a ball to go longer by altering the surface to reduce the friction (polish the ball).
GOAL POSTS
The 7-10 split. Same as bedposts.
GOLDEN GATE
Same as big ears.
GOOD OUT (NICE OUT)
Got most of pins remaining on a bad leave (third ball).
GOOD TRY
Good shot on the key pin or the target wood.
GOOSE EGG
Usually means a split (the scoring symbol for a split is a "O"); can also mean that you knocked down -0- pins on a shot.
GRAB
The act of the ball reacting to the friction of the lane and ball surface.
GRANDMA'S TEETH
The 4-6-7-10 split or any of the "big five" split combinations; so called because it looks like a mouth with missing teeth. Any non-standard leave.
GRAVE YARD
Low scoring lanes or center. Same as "brickyard."
GRAY BOARD
The gutter. Many centers have their gutters painted gray; hitting the gray board is an attempt at humor to tell someone that the shot went in the gutter.
GREASY
Describes a very oily/heavily conditioned lane.
GREEK CHURCH
A split leave of five pins similar to the 4-6-7-9-10; so called because it reminds people of an old cathedral type church with spires etc. Any split on which there are three pins on one side of the lane and two on the other.
GROOVE
Ball track or indentation in the lane; also, a bowler that is performing particularly well is "in the groove" or is "grooved".
GROSS WEIGHT
The total dead weight of a bowling ball; often referred to as "gross weight before drilling". The maximum gross weight of a ball is 16 pounds. Yet, a new ball before drilling may weigh a few ounces over that total; these extra ounces are removed during the drilling process.
GUIDE MARKS (LINE)
An aid to finding start of 2 or 3 steps for ball delivery. Most approaches have guide lines (commonly at 8 feet 2 inches and 11 feet 6 inches before the foul line; formed by 1 inch spots, 8½ inches apart, and centered with lane).
GUTTER
A depressed area, about 9 1/2 inches wide, on either side of the lane which guides the ball to the pit after it leaves the lane. Same as channel.
GUTTER BALL
A ball that leaves the lane and travels down the gutter before reaching the pins.
GUTTER SHOT
A line to the pocket that is from the released from the far outside, near board 1-2. It generates a natural entry angle, but is difficult to play if you are a boomer or if the lanes are very dry.
H
HALF HIT
A ball in the pocket that is heavier than light, but not deeply buried; often results in leaving a 10 pin.
HALF TEN
See Half hit above. The description of a ten pin that was left by a ball in the pocket and the 6 pin laying down in front of the 10 pin in a half hearted manner; same as "weak 10".
HAMMER
One of the names of the balls made by Faball.
HAMMER THE POCKET
Hitting the pocket consistently.
HAMMERED
A person gets "hammered" when beaten decisively; particularly if the opponent is using a ball from Faball.
HANDICAP
Pins awarded to a player or team in an attempt to equalize competition. Often refered to as a percentage of a established target score. For example, if the handicap was 90% of 200, a player with an average of 160 would receive 36 pins as the handicap (90% of 200-160). Many studies have been done and it seems that the most fair method is to base the handicap on at least the highest average in the league. 100% handicap leagues are becoming more common.
HANG A PIN
Leave a pin standing on an apparent solid hit.
HARD WAY
Picking up a spare in the non-traditional method. For example, the 3-10 split is best picked up by fitting the ball between the 3 and 10 pins; it can also be picked the "hard way" by hitting the 3 pin left of center and deflecting it into the 10 pin. Some times it refers to getting a Dutch 200 game...i.e., getting a 200 score the "hard way".
HEAD PIN
The 1-pin.
HEADPIN
The number 1 pin.
HEADS
That part of the first portion of the lane that is usually hard maple (wood lanes) to absorb the impact of the thrown balls. See"dovetails", "splice" and "pines" also; generally the first 20 feet of the wood lane.
HEAVY
A ball that hits more to the center of the headpin, often leaving a split. Same as "high".
HELICOPTER SHOT
A type of release that is used with lighter weight balls such that the ball appears to spin similar to a top rather than roll and hook; used by many players in the Far East as an alternative to a traditional hook release.
HELP (AS IN HELPER PINS)
A pin that comes off the sideboards and helps knock down the remaining pin or pins; see also "messenger".
HIGH
A ball that hits more to the center of the headpin, often leaving a split. Same as "heavy".
HIGH BOARD
Although lanes are built to certain tolerances, humidity and other factors might cause an individual board to be a hair higher than the others; a ball hitting a high board will tend to stop hooking when it hits the higher board.
HIGH HIT
A hit on or near the center of the head pin.
HIGH ROLLER
Tournament An amateur event that pays a very high prize for the top places and also charges a fairly stiff price to enter.
HIGHER
Farther to the left for right-handers, to the right for left-handed bowlers.
HIT
Where the ball contacted the pins..i.e. "I hit light in the pocket."; also how it contacted the pins .. "the ball hit weakly".
HIT UP ON THE BALL
The act at the release point of coming through the ball with a strong finger release; a ball that is hit hard will tend to be very powerful; used to describe a good release feeling .. "I really hit that shot well." See also "stroke".
HOLD SPOT
A portion of the lane that is more heavily conditioned so that the ball appears to stop its hooking action and "hold" its spot on line to the pocket.
HOLD THE LINE/POCKET
Describes the reaction of a ball that hits the hold spot. i.e., "The ball held pocket."
HOLE
Same as the pocket.
HOME ALLEY/HOUSE/LANES
Either the center where you normally bowl; or, within the center, your favorite lane or lanes.
HONOR SCORE
A score deemed worthy of an award by the governing bodies of ten pin bowling. The ultimate honor scores would be a 300 game and 900 series.
HOOK
A ball that breaks rather sharply toward the pocket, as opposed to a curve.
HOOK - (TO "COME IN")
A ball that breaks sharply to the left for a right hander and vice versa for a left hander.
HOOK OUT/HOOK AND SET
A type of ball reaction on the lanes where the ball begins to hook and then stops its hooking action and turns into more of an end over end roll. Can be very effective (Amletto Monicelli comes to mind), but generally requires great accuracy to do well as control of the hook/set point is critical. See "roll out shot" also.
HOUSE
The bowling center; the "bowl"; the "alley"; the "lanes".
HOUSE BALL
A ball provided by the center to its customers. Usually, but not always, they are of less quality than modern high tech equipment, usually polyester or hard urethane, not resin. Sometimes used as an expression to describe a person that is normally a good player but is having an off game; i.e., "Looks like he is throwing a house ball again."
HYPOKINETIC DISEASE
A condition or disease resulting from a sedentary lifestyle or "too little activity." Examples include obesity, diabetes, back pains, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, etc. ...
I
IBC
Intercollegiate Bowling Championships; an elite tournament of 16 men's and women's teams that qualify for the event through a series of competitions during the season.
IBP
Intercollegiate Bowling Program; governing authority for collegiate bowling.
ICY/LIKE ICE
Describes an oily/heavily conditioned lane where the ball skids a great deal..like if on ice! See also "greasy" and "wet".
IN "THERE"
A good pocket hit.
IN THE GROVE
Zoned, well lined up; unconscious bowling; doing so well that it is nearly automatic.
IN THERE
In either the left or right STRIKE ZONE (or, ball made a good hit).
IN TIME
Simultaneous arrival at the foul line of one's sliding foot and release of the ball.
INSIDE OUT ARMSWING
The inside-out swing has a setup somewhat toward center of the body, but not always. More importantly, the pushaway, or whatever someone calls it, moves toward the center of the body. For a right-handed bowler it would move to the left in front of the body. The swing is then forced to loop out around the body rather than straight back as in the traditional pendulum swing. As it loops out around the body, it redirects behind the back completing the backswing. The forward portion of the swing is again muscled not forward, but out to the right sending the ball from left to right. Although generally undesirable, this swing is best used when attempting to send the ball right off the hand.
INSIDE/INSIDE LINE
A starting point (well, release point too) near the center of the lane as opposed to the outside, near the edge of the lane; but, when deep deep inside you may actually be near the opposite gutter! To "move inside" or to "move farther inside" is to move farther to the left (right handed players) than your prior start and/or release position.
J
JACK MANDERS
Same as field goal. (Jack Manders was a field goal kicker for the Chicago Bears back in the 1930s, so this term is pretty much dated.)
JAM
Usually means that you are trying to force the ball higher into the pocket; can also mean a very solid pocket hit.
JERSEY SIDE
Same as Brooklyn side.
JERSEY SIDE/HIT
A ball that hits on the opposite side of the player's normal pocket; i.e, a Jersey 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 Brooklyn" in most locations of the country.
JUICE
A delivery with high rotation; powerful.
JUNK BALL
A ball thrown with little rotation and little power.
K
KEGGLING
Bowling.
KEGLER
German word for bowler.
KEY PIN
Front of target pin of any leave, (when there is no wood shot).
KICKBACK
Vertical division boards between the sides of the lanes at the pit end. On many hits the pins can bounce off the kickbacks and knock down more pins; see also "sidewalls". Variations: Loose kickback means that there is not much rigidity to the sides, this causes the force of the pins to be absorbed easier resulting in less movement/bounce of the pins back onto the pin deck; Tight kickbacks means very solid rigid sides resulting in more bounce of the pins; desirable for higher scores.
KICKBACKS
The dividers between lanes; so called because pins often kick back off a divider to knock other pins downs.
KILL
To overpower your competition by a large margin.
KILL SHOT
A ball thrown with the intention of it hooking less; an alternate release to throw the ball straighter on spares.
KILL THE BALL
To take the spin off the ball, resulting in a straight shot. Often used to maximimize accuracy on easy spare leaves.
KINDLING
Light weight pins. See also "logs".
KINGPIN
Strictly speaking, the 5-pin, because its action is usually the key to knocking down more pins; occasionally used to refer to the 1-pin. Also the name of a bowling related comedy movie starring Woody Harrelson.
KITTY
Money collected by team members for misses, low games and other "fines" imposed by team members upon themselves. Often sued to defray expenses of tournaments or divided at the end of the season.
K-MART BALL
Derogatory name for a ball that hits poorly or is ill fitting.
KRESGE
An old timer term to describe the 5-7 split; a variation on the "Woolworth" which is the 5-10 (five and dime) split.
L
LANE
The actual playing area, which is 42 inches wide and 62 feet, 10 3/4 inches long. The gutters and the approach are not part of the lane. "Lanes" can be used to describe the entire center.
LANE MACHINE
The machine that oils the lanes.
LANE MARKERS
Range finders (alley sights) and foot guide lines.
LATE 10
Said of the 10-pin when it is the last to fall on a strike, usually after a moment's hesitation.
LATE TIMING
When your release of the ball occurs slightly after the slide begins (or in the extreme case, when the slide is over or nearly over); often referred as the "plant and throw" release; if your body is "planted" it allows you to use more upper body and arm strength to whip the ball through the release adding more lift and power. Taught by some coaches as the ideal release. One way to try get late timing is by holding/carrying the ball a tinge longer in your approach before executing the push-away. If you are consistently coming up light, you may be suffering from a case of late timing. One cure is to start your pushaway earlier as this will tend to produce earlier timing. See also "early timing".
LATERAL PITCH
Angling of the thumbhole and/or finger holes to the left or the right. Used to assist in the exit timing of the ball (i.e. how fast or easily it comes off your hand); improper lateral pitch can cause blisters or sore spots on your thumb or finger.
LAY A FOUNDATION
Getting a strike in the 9th frame.
LEADOFF
The first player in the team's lineup.
LEAD-OFF
The first bowler in the line-up of a team.
LEADOFF MAN
The first bowler for a team.
LEAVE
The pins that remain after the first ball has been rolled.
LEFT FIELD
Area left of head pin: (and RIGHT FIELD - area right of head pin).
LENGTH
Length is an evaluation of how far a ball will travel before it begins to hook. Length does not include skid produced by lane conditioner, additional fine sanding, or the use of "liquid sandpaper" polishes. BTM uses the Danger Zone as a control ball and it has an assigned length value of 2 on a scale of 10.
LEVERAGE
Refers to a balance position at the foul line such that you are able to come through the ball with power; to increase leverage you can have slightly late timing.
LEVERAGE DRILLING
A method of drilling the ball so that it tends to skid farther and finish harder (go long .. hit hard). A balance hole is needed to bring the ball back into compliance with ABC rules in such a drilling. It is a drilling pattern with both the pin and the cg located 3-3/8" from the bowler's P.A.P., usually requires an extra balance hole.
LEVERAGE POINT
A point on the ball surface located 3 3/8" from the bowler's positive axis point (P.A.P.).
LHB
Left handed player.
LIFT
The upward motion with your fingers at the point of release.
LIGHT
A hit on the pins that is not full; too much right or left of center.
LIGHT HIT
A hit that doesn't strike the headpin solidly.
LIGHT SEVEN
A light hit that results in the 2-4-5 or 3-5-6 split.
LIGHTS OUT
Two distinctly different meanings: (1) when a player shoots incredible high scores; "He shot lights out."; or, to indicate a breakdown in your game; "The lights went out."
LILY
The 5-7-10 split; also known as the "sour apple".
LIND'S
Lind Shoe Company; one of the makers of premium bowling shoes. See also "Dexter's"
LINE
(1) The path the ball takes; one game of bowling. (2) Dated synonym for a game of bowling.
LINED UP
In the groove, hitting the pocket consistently.
LITTLE RAIL
The rail or picket fence leave minus the 1-, 7-, or 10-pin.
LOAFING
Delivering the ball without sufficient lift, which usually results in its rolling off to the right (for a right-handed bowler).
LOB
To toss the ball over the lob line which is 10 feet from the approach side of the foul line.
LOFT
The distance the ball travels between time of release and the time it hits the lane. A bowler often needs to adjust the loft somewhat to increase or decrease rotation.
LOFTING
Throwing the ball onto the lane well beyond the foul line; can cause damage to the lane if excessive; can be used to "shorten" the lane which may help with lanes that hook too much for your normal shot.
LOGS
Heavy pins that are often used for practice, since they generally require more precise hits to achieve good scores. Pins that fall with difficulty; very heavy pins.
LONG OIL
Condition in which the lane conditioner is applied from the foul line farther than normal. There is no magic standard, but 35-40 feet or more of application is often considered long oil. It can be a more difficult condition in that there will be less backend to generate pocket entry angle.
LOOP/LOOPING THE BALL
A slow big hook. Also, the act of bringing your throwing hand behind your back in your armswing as it "loops" from out to in; generally not desirable. See also "armswing", "inside out armswing" and "outside in armswing".
LOOPER
A very slow, wide hook.
LOOSE HIT
A hit low in the pocket, more on the 3-pin for a righthander and the 2-pin for a leftie, than on the head pin. Also known as a low hit.
LOSE THE BALL
The dropping of the ball off your hand early; the ball slipping out of your hand.
LOSE THE SHOT
When you start missing the pocket after several frames of being consistently in the pocket.
LOST
When you have no clue how to play the lanes.
LOVE TAP
A very light on one pin from another that just barely knocks it down.
LOW
Light hit; opposite of "high" hit. Descriptive of a loose hit.
LOW AT THE LINE
Refers to your body position at the point of release. Many coaches suggest that the optimum body position for balance is to be slightly bent at the waist with a deep knee bend. This puts your body in a well balanced position and aids leverage/power; if you rear up at the line during the release you will lose accuracy and tend to pull the ball too high.
LPBT
Ladies Professional Bowling Tour. See also PBA.
LUCK
The merging of opportunity with preparation.
LUSTER KING
A machine that applies a wax like substance to the surface of a ball; it promotes less hook.
M
MAKEABLE SPLIT
A split that isn't terribly difficult to convert, though it may not exactly be easy.
MAPLE
The hard wood used for the head portion of the lanes (foul line to arrows); see also "pine", "splice", and "dovetails".
MAPLES
The pins, because that's the wood they used to be made from.
MARK
A strike or spare; a person that is vulnerable to losing money in a match; your target on the lanes.
MARSHMALLOW
A soft hitting ball; ineffective ball.
MASS BIAS
Mass bias in a bowling ball occurs when the weight block or portion of weight block is more dominant in one direction inside of a bowling ball.
MATCH
3, 5, or 10 strings (per player) game between opponents.
MATCH PLAY
A kind of competition in which two bowlers compete against one another, rather than against the field as a whole. Typically, the winner of a match advances to the next round for another match.
MEDAL PLAY
Only total pins count. Most local events, city and association tournaments for example, are medal play or medal play with handicap.
MEDIC
Called out when a solid corner or 5-pin is left. Sarcastically calling for a doctor because the bowler hit the ball "so hard" there must be blood on their fingers; or alternatively, that the ball is near death (five pin) and needs assistance.
MELINDA
A phrase sweeping its way through England at the moment is the 'Melinda' call when you get a messenger or a lot of pin action. So named after the large chested model Melinda Messenger.
MESSENGER
The name given to the pin that rolls across the pindeck into a pin or pins to either get a strike or break up a split.
MINUS
In competitive play, the amount of pins (including bonus, if any) that a player is scoring under a 200 average; a player that shoots 1534 for 8 games is "minus" 66. See also "plus", "over" and "under".
MISS
An error; a blow; usually does not refer to an unmade split.
MISTER 900
Usually refers to Glenn Allison; he had the first 900 series before the SoB; it was rejected as not being in compliance with the lane conditioning rules at the time (although most experts acknowledge that it would be entirely legal today).
MIXED DOUBLES
A two person team competition in which one is male and the other female.
MIXER
A light pocket hit that scatters the pins resulting in a strike. A ball with a lot of action.
MOAT
The gutter.
MOJAVE DESERT
Very dry lane condition; "arid".
MORPHED
When a pin moves across the deck and does not fall, perhaps changing from an easy spare to a much harder spare.
MOTHER-IN-LAW
Usually the 7-pin, because it's often the pin that remains standing to spoil what looked like a good strike hit; sometimes synonymous with barmaid.
MOVE IN
To adjust your approach farther towards the center of the lane; towards higher numbered boards.
MOVE OUT
To adjust your approach farther towards the edge of the lane; towards lower numbered boards.
MR. (OR MRS.) AVERAGE
Facetious name for a bowler who doesn't show up, since his or her average is often used to compute team scoring. See also blind.
MULE EARS
Same as bedposts.
MULTILINGUAL
When a player is able to score well from a variety of lines/angles.
MURPHY
Same as baby split.
N
NAKED SPARE
A single pin spare.
NATIONALS
The ABC and/or WIBC tournament.
NEGATIVE WEIGHT
Weight on a ball that tends to hold back the hook and/or to get the ball into a roll earlier; bottom weight, negative side weight and thumb weight are considered negative weights. These are considered static weights that can be drilled into a ball. See also "dynamic" weights.
NEVER UP NEVER IN
A philosophy that says that in order to strike you must first hit the headpin; stolen from similar meanings in putting (golf).
NO DRIVE NO FIVE
An expression meaning that to take out the five pin on a pocket hit, the ball must drive through the deflection from the headpin to hit the five pin.
NO GUTS NO GLORY
Expression meaning "be aggressive".
NOSE
The beak; center of the headpin; a "nosy" hit is high on the headpin.
NOSE HIT
A hit directly on the head pin; very often results in a split.
NO-TAP
A type of competition where 9 pins on the first ball is scored as a strike; in some instances there are 8-pin no-tap events; in those, 8 pins or more on the first ball counts as a strike.
NOTHING BALL
A ball that accomplishes little because of a poor hit, no action, or both. An ineffective ball.
O
ON THE NOSE
Descriptive of a nose hit.
ONE IN THE DARK
Same as barmaid.
OPEN BOWLING
Bowling for the fun of it, as opposed to competing in league or tournament play.
OPEN FRAME
A frame in which the bowler doesn't get a strike or a spare.
OUT AND IN
A hook that's initially thrown toward the gutterand then breaks back across the lane toward the pocket.
OUT OF BOUNDS
An area from which the ball can't get to the pocket with its usual break. If, for example, a right-handed bowler delivers the ball from too far to the right, it is said to be out of bounds.
OVER
To a professional bowler, the number of pins above 200. Thus a score of 224 is "24 over." See also par; under.
OVER-TURN
To put too much spin on the ball, usually resulting in too much of a hook, which can lead to a nose hit or even a Brooklyn hit.
P
PACE/PACER
A pacer bowls as part of a team only for the purpose of keeping the "pace" of the game more even; pacer scores do not count towards the team total. Also, the rhythm of your footwork as you approach the release point.
PACK
A full count of ten; a strike; also, an adjective to describe a full pocket hit; i.e., "it was packed". See also "six pack".
PAP (POSITIVE AXIS POINT)
The point on the ball that is equidistant from all points of the release ball track.
PAR
To a professional bowler, a 200 game. See also over; under.
PART OF BUILDING, (HIT)
Get 7 or 10 pin only. Hit corner pin with first ball.
PART OF THE BUILDING
An expression used to describe a standing single pin after an apparent perfect hit.
PART OF THE BUILDING/HOUSE
Said of the 7 or 10 pin when it remains solidly standing after an apparently perfect hit. Used in a phrase such as, "That pin must be part of the building."
PBA
Professional Bowlers Association.
PEARL/PEARLIZED
A type of ball surface that is not a solid color, but has a swirling, cloud-like appearance. As a general rule, all things being equal, a pearlized ball tends to go longer before hooking than would its solid cousin.
PENCILS
Very light weight pins.
PERFECT GAME
A score of 300, resulting from 12 consecutive strikes.
PHYSICAL WORK
Activities which are somewhat difficult yet nonspecific to sport. They do fatigue the body at times and may generate some forms of physical fitness benefits.
PICK
Same as chop.
PICK A CHERRY
Missing a spare cluster by taking the front pin or pins only; it usually means that the ball hit too much in the center of the front pin causing no ball deflection to assist in taking the remaining pins; i.e., leaving the 6-10 spare and hitting dead center on the 6 pin and the 10 pin remaining. See also "chop".
PICKET FENCE
The 1-2-4-7 or 1-3-6-10 spares.
PIE
Easy scoring condition; easy lanes.
PIE ALLEY
A lane that produces high scores; from "easy as pie."
PIN (AS IT APPLIES TO A BALL)
The small circle of a different color found on the surface of the ball. It locates the center of the weight block that identifies the direction it is tilted.
PIN ACTION
Motion of struck pins that hopefully will knock down others!
PIN BOY
Before automatic pinsetters, the pins were set by hand. The person, regardless of gender or age, was the "pinboy".
PIN CHASER
An employee of the bowling center that helps with machine calls during play.
PIN COUNT
The number of pins knocked down in a frame.
PIN DECK
The surface of the lane ends upon which the pins are spotted. It is made of a hard wood or synthetic surface to absorb the pounding it takes.
PIN PLACEMENT
Out or In. A drilling term that is relative to a bowler's track designed purposely for creating more ball dynamics. A Pin-in ball (when the pin is located within two inches of the CG) is excellent choice for control and less hook; a Pin-out ball usually can be made to hook more and flip more dramatically than pin-in balls; they often give the driller more options.
PINCHING THE BALL
Taking too tight a grip on the ball. Gripping the ball too hard.
PINDECK (PLATE)
The area upon which the pins are set.
PINDICATOR
A display board that shows the bowler which pins remain standing after the first ball.
PINE/THE PINES
The portion of a wood lane beyond the splice and up to the pin deck. See also "heads", "maple".
PINFALL
(1) the number of pins knocked down; (2) how the pins fell.
PINNING
Getting single pins and pairs (after the first ball). ("Pin it out", etc.)
PIT
The area of the lane behind the pin deck. The area at the end of the lane.
PITCH
Angle at which the holes in a ball are drilled.
PLATFORM
Same as approach (1).
PLAY THE GUTTER
Playing a strike angle from the edge of the gutter.
PLUG
To fill a hole with a plastic that hardens so that you can drill the holes in a different area.
PLUS
In competitive play, the amount of pins (including bonus, if any) that a player is scoring over a 200 average; a player that shoots 1734 for 8 games is "plus" 134. See also "minus", "over" and "under".
POCKET
The desirable location for the ball to hit the pins to maximize strike potential. Generally the area between the 1-3 pins (right hand player) or the 1-2 pins (left hand player). This is the target for the first ball in a frame.
POCKET SPLIT
A split that is left after the ball hits the pocket; usually it is the result of a ball being deflected too much (i.e., some pocket splits are the 8-10, 5-7 etc).
POINT
To aim the ball directly at the pocket; usually as part of a "frozen rope".
POISON IVY
The 3-6-10 split.
POLISHING THE BALL
The process of applying a foreign substance to a ball in order to lessen the friction between the ball and the lane; the ball becomes shinier/glossier and the goal is for the ball to hook later and less.
POLYESTER
Substance (a plastic) that was very popular in ball surface in the 1970's (among top players), and, still very popular today as either a spare ball or ball of first choice for recreational players. It usually hooks less than a urethane or resin ball, but more than a rubber ball. It normally has a hard shiny surface, not prone to hooking much; it can come in a variety of colors. Used by higher skilled players if the lanes are very dry. See also "urethane" and "resin".
POODLE
To throw a gutter ball; probably a facetious corruption of puddle.
PORTSIDER
A lefthanded player.
POSITION ROUND
In competition, league or tournaments, in which part of the competition is match play, it is when teams or individuals play each other based upon their standing; i.e., position 1 plays 2; 3 plays 4; etc. The purpose is to give teams a chance to improve their standing directly against their closest competition.
POSITIVE AXIS POINT (PAP)
The axis of the ball during the first few revolutions that is created totally by the bowler's release style.
POSITIVE WEIGHT
Weight on a ball that tends to enhance the hook and/or to get the ball into a roll later down the lane; top weight, positive side weight and finger weight are considered positive weights. These are considered static weights that can be drilled into a ball. See also "dynamic" weights.
POT GAME
A type of gambling competition in which two or more bowlers put money in the pot and the high scorer wins it all.
POUND
To consistently hit your mark.
POWDER PUFF, PUFF BALL
Same as nothing ball.
POWER PLAYER
A cranker; hard hitting, big hook, faster than average speed player.
POWERHOUSE
A ball thrown very fast and with a lot of action, resulting in an unmistakable strike.
PRACTICE
The act of bowling with a purpose to either improve a skill or to work on acquiring a new skill; it is NOT just going to the lanes and bowling a few games.
PREFERRED SPIN AXIS (PSA)
It is the final axis a ball achieves while rolling down the lane. It is heavily influenced by the amount of friction and bowler generated revolutions.
PUDDLE
(1) a gutter ball; (2) a spot on the lane that seems to have much more oil than expected.
PULL SHOT
An erratic shot that goes off target towards the center or past the headpin.
PULL THE RUG
A hit on which a number of pins wobble for a time before falling down simultaneously, as if a rug had been pulled out from under them.
PUMPKIN
A softly thrown ball with little or no spin. A soft hitting ball.
PUNCH OUT
To finish with consecutive strikes, from any frame on.
PUNCH OUT OR THROUGH
Down a pin(s) from the middle only (punch No. 6 out of a full set; or punch through No.1 after a Worcester, etc.)
PUNCHED OUT
The act of completing a game with all strikes from a given point in the game.See also "off the sheet" or "XXX'ed out". or "all the way".
PUSHAWAY
The initial movement of the ball to get it into motion; some people push the ball directly forward, others slightly push forward and up, others drop the ball into motion.
PUZZLE
Where wood is an obstruction or is difficult to figure (play).
Q
QUALITY SHOT
A shot in which everything, the approach, release etc all come together in perfect timing and balance. It has nothing to do with score or results. "Quality shots", not pinfall, is your practice goal.
QUANTUM
A line of premium balls made by Brunswick; its most famous (or infamous) is the Quantum Helix which has two different materials on its cover. There is a harder urethane ring around the ball that is said to cause the ball to skid through the heads; then, after getting the desired length, the secondary surface...aggressive resin...takes over and returns the ball to the pocket.
QUICK EIGHT
An apparently good pocket hit that knocks down only eight pins, usually leaving the 4-7 or 6-10.
R
RACK
The complete set of pins when set on the pindeck; aka "full rack".
RADIUS OF GYRATION (RG)
Identifies how fast a ball begins to rotate once it leaves the bowler's hand.
RAIL
Same as picket fence.
RAILROAD
A wide split on which both pins are on the same line; e.g., the 7-10, 8-10, 7-9, or 4-6.
RANGE FINDERS
Markers in the lane that help the bowler determine the target line. There are two sets of such markers: ten dots located seven feet past the foul line and seven arrows arranged in a triangle beginning 16 feet beyond the foul line.
RANGE FINDERS (ALLEY SIGHTS)
5 targets, each 1X7 inch, 6½ inches apart; forming a 2 foot long arrowhead centered 20 feet beyond the foul-line installed in many candlepin centers.
RAP
When a single pin remains standing after an apparent good hit. See also "tap". Same as burner.
REACTIVE RESIN
A polymer that is a cousin to traditional urethane; used as the coverstock on most modern balls; it is generally a surface that grabs the lane sooner, resulting in more and earlier hook than other coverstock surfaces. They can feel "tacky/sticky" when warm. They tend to "react" much more to differing lane surfaces, hooking more on drier lanes and skidding more in oil.
READING THE LANE
Experimentation, usually during practice, to determine the characteristics of a lane. Some lanes are faster than others, some will allow a bigger hook while others will hold the ball back, etc.
READING THE LANES
The process of discovering how your ball reacts on different portions of the lane surface; hopefully, finding the best area to use to maximize strike potential.
REFINISH/RESURFACE
To sand and/or polish a ball that is heavily tracked in an attempt to restore the out-of-box finish.
RELAXED FINGERTIP
A grip that is more than a semi-fingertip but not as far stretched as a full fingertip grip.
RELEASE
The point at which the ball is put onto the lane; also, the hand action that takes place at that point.
RE-RACK
Resetting the pins to a new full rack due to a perceived mis-spotting of one or more pins.
RERACK OR RESET
A call by a bowler asking that the pins be lifted from the alley and put back properly, because they're off spot.
RETURN
A track that brings balls back from the pit.
REV LEVERAGE
A drilling with the pin 4-1/2" and the CG 3-3/8" from the bowler's PAP. The CG is placed down in the thumb and positive quadrant of the ball and the extra hole is located 6 3/4" from the pin on a line through the CG. The ball must have a 3+ inch pin out to start.
REVERSE
A severe backup.
REVERSE BLOCK
For most people, a very difficult lane condition in which the boards closer to the gutter are heavily oiled, while those in the center are dry. The difficulty is that if the ball is thrown in the center, it tends to hook too much and ride high; if you adjust and throw the ball more to the right, the ball will hit the oil and not get back to the pocket. See also "block".
REVERSE 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 "back pitch".
REVS/REVOLUTIONS
The number of times the ball rolls over its circumference from when it is released until it contacts the pins; as a rule, more is better. However, it is also commonly referred to as the number of times the ball rotates on its axis from release to contact with the pins. Here it is less clear whether more is helpful, as it would depend a great deal on the location and diameter of the ball track.
RHB
Right handed bowler.
RINGING 10 PIN
When the 10 pin stands after a particularly hard hitting shot; see "soft ten" also.
RINGING TEN-BURNER
An apparently good hit on the pocket that fails to knock the 10-pin down.
ROCK
The bowling ball.
ROCKET
A ball thrown with extra speed; see also "bb" and "bullet".
RODE THE OIL LINE
A method of lane play where there is an oil line/crown into the pocket and the player keeps the ball on the oil line into the pocket; can result it high scores. See also "bumped the oil line".
ROLL OUT
A ball that loses its side rotation before hitting the pins; the hook action stops at that point and the ball straightens out; generally undesirable; see also "hookout" and "hook and set".
ROTATION
The spin given to the ball that creates both the break and action.
ROTATIONAL ENERGY
The energy created by the release and rotation of the hand up, around, through, and/or over the ball. This is the rotation of the ball.
RUN/RUNNING LANE
A lane that hooks excessively. "My ball hit the lanes and ran left!"
RUNWAY
Normally the approach area behind the foul line; also the name given to the areas to the side of the house end lanes where the staff can walk (run!) to the machines for service.
S
SANCTION FEE
A fee paid to a governing body as a requirement to have the scores count towards official averages and to be eligible for honor score recognition. A league player typically pays a national sanction fee to the ABC or WIBC or YABA, and also a local association fee, at the beginning of the league season. Sanctioning is very desirable as it maintains standards and guarantees eligibility for awards that are given by the local or national organizations.
SAND IN THEIR SHOES
A sandbagger. "He has sand in his shoes."
SANDBAGGER
A bowler who deliberately keeps his average low during the first part of the season, to take advantage of an artificially high handicap later on. A cheater.
SANDING A BALL
The process of applying an abrasive to alter the surface of the ball, the goal to make the ball grab the lanes sooner and hook both earlier and more. To be legal, the entire surface of the ball must be sanded in the same manner. See also "polishing a ball".
SANDWICH GAME
Same as Dutch 200.
SANTA CAME EARLY
Expression used after a very lucky shot; a gift.
SCENIC ROUTE
The path a ball that hooks excessively takes to the pocket. Path taken by a long, slow curve ball.
SCHLEIFER
A strike, usually from a loose hit, on which the pins slowly fall, one after the other. From the German for "grinder."
SCOREABILITY
The scoring potential of a particular lane and condition. It can be used to describe how a lane has been optimized to increase the scores.
SCOTCH DOUBLES
A system of doubles play where the two bowlers on each team play alternate shots throughout the game. The only time one of the pair ever completes a frame on his/her own is when scoring a strike.
SCRATCH
Actual score, without a handicap added. Bowling without the benefit of handicap.
SECOND ARROW
Either the actual second arrow from the gutter (also the tenth board), or, the description of the line a player is throwing; i.e., "She is playing the second arrow."
SEMI-FINGER TIP
A grip in which the player's fingers are inserted into the ball approximately half way between the first and second joints. See also "conventional" and "fingertip".
SEMI-ROLLER
The most popular shot today; it describes a ball that tracks outside of the thumb and finger holes.
SEMI-SPINNER
A semi-roller that tracks lower that normal causing the ball to spin quicker. Can be desirable to generate more length at the expense of some power.
SERIES
The set of games that make your bock; most leagues are three game series.
SERIES (SET)
(Usually) three strings total (may be 5 or 10 strings, etc.)
SET
(1) The act of a ball holding pocket. (2) The series of games that makes your block or league session; most leagues are three game sets.
SET SHOT
The same as "hookout" and "rollout".
SETTEE
The area behind the approach and between the concourse.
SETTING THE BALL SHORT
Either intentionally or by accident releasing the ball very near, or even behind, the foul line.
SHADOW BALL
A practice ball rolled on an empty lane, without pins.
SHINING
Adding a polish to a ball to retard its hooking action. See "polishing a ball".
SHORT OIL
Also known as "limited distance dressing/LDD". A condition in which oil is applied to the front 24 feet or less of the lane, with the remainder dry. Can be very high scoring.
SHORT PIN
A rolling pin that doesn't quite knock down a pin that's standing.
SHORT RACK
A pinsetter malfunction whereby it sets up fewer than the full ten pins.
SIDEARMING OR SIDEWHEELING
Pulling the arm away from the body during delivery.
SIDEBOARDS
Same as kickbacks.
SIDEWALL (KICKBACKS; SIDE KICK)
The high division boards between LANES at the pins end (partition between pindecks).
SIDEWALLS THE KICKBACKS;
Vertical division boards between the sides of the lanes at the pit end. On many hits the pins can bounce off the kickbacks and knock down more pins. Variations: Loose kickback means that there is not much rigidity to the sides, this causes the force of the pins to be absorbed easier resulting in less movement/bounce of the pins back onto the pin deck; Tight kickbacks means very solid rigid sides resulting in more bounce of the pins; desirable for higher scores.
SIXPACK
Six consecutive strikes.
SIX-PACK
Six strikes in a row.
SIXTH ARROW
The arrow commonly used by Jason Couch and Kelly Coffman ; for a right handed player, the second arrow on the lanes starting from the left side; a deep inside target line.
SKATE
Skidding too much, too far before hooking.
SKID
What the ball does when it first hits the lane surface; all balls need to skid before hooking.
SLEEPER
A pin hidden behind another pin; see "cousin". Same as barmaid.
SLICK
An oily lane condition.
SLIDE; SLIDE STEP
The final step of the delivery, on which the bowler's foot slides.
SLOT
Term for a very easy lane condition.
SLOT ALLEY
A lane with a worn track that guides the ball into the pocket, making strikes easy.
SLOW LANES
This has two different and opposite meanings depending on the part of the country you reside. In some parts, a slow lane is one that is very oily (as the ball slowly hooks); in other areas a slow lane hooks a lot (friction makes the ball speed slower as it hooks). See also "fast lane".
SLUG/THUMB SLUG
A plastic cylinder that is inserted into a hole that is drilled where your normal thumb hole would be; this plastic cylinder is then drilled out for your thumb. Slugs are used by a majority of players that have a multiple ball arsenal as they slug has a smooth consistent surface that remains the same as you change balls in competition.
SMALL BALL
An ineffective ball; one that must hit perfectly to strike as the pocket area for them is small.
SNAKE EYES
The 7-10 split. Same as bedposts.
SNAP
Usually refers to the ability of a ball to "go long" and then make a violent turn back to the pocket. A bowler that has a "skid-snap" reacting ball will create large entry angles, but at some expense of accuracy. See also "arc".
SNOW PLOW
Normally a ball that hits high and plows through the pins for a strike. A strike ball.
SOAKER/SOAKING THE BALL
In the 1970's, Don McCune, a PBA player, discovered that if you soaked a ball with a particular solvent (Methyl Ethyl Ketone, aka "mek") it made the surface of hard polyester balls softer, resulting in more hook and higher scores. He won several events that year; the PBA and ABC ultimately banned this practice and initiated a standard for the hardness of a ball.
SOFT
The ball hitting the pins without power; the act of intentionally throwing a shot to cut down on the power; a word to describe a very easy lane condition.
SOFT 10 PIN
A ten pin that is left on a weak pocket hit; see also "flat 10".
SOLID
(1) a ball surface that is one color, no pearl effect; (2) the act of hitting the pocket with authority.
SOLID (X) PIN
Describes leaving a pin an an apparent solid shot; "I left a solid 10."
SOUR APPLE
A weak hit that leaves leaves the 5-7, 5-10 or 5-7-10 split; also, the 5-7-10 split itself. Also known as the "lily".
SPAN
A term used by the ball driller; generally, it is the distance from the thumb hole to the finger holes.
SPARE
Knocking all the pins with two balls. The score for that frame is 10 plus the number of pins knocked down with the first ball of the next frame.
SPARE BALL
A ball used by players primarily for covering single pin spares. Typically, a "spare" ball will be a low hooking polyester ball that the player can throw straight at the pin, hopefully taking any lane condition factors out of the spare shooting process; also, it is the name of a ball made by STORM Products.
SPARE LEAVE
Generally, the pins standing after first ball is rolled; often used to mean a leave on which it's relatively easy to get a spare, as opposed to a split leave.
SPILLER
A strike on a light hit, on which the pins fall slowly.
SPINNER/SPIN SHOT
A semi-roller that tracks very low on the ball, so low that in some cases you can see the thumb hole appear to be stationary as the ball revolves on the lane to the pins; generally less effective than other shots, but can generate more length. Close to being the same roll pattern as the "helicopter" shot.
SPLICE
They are on the lanes where the pine meets the maple; dovetail.
SPLIT
A spare combination in which the head pin is down and the remaining pins have one or more intermediate pins down immediately ahead of or behind them. There are 459 possible split combinations.
SPLIT, SPLIT LEAVE
A leave on which some of the remaining pins are rather widely separated, making a spare relatively difficult. The 7-10 is the most difficult to convert.
SPORT
A competitive event governed by various internal and external systems and organizations. The individual investment of time, money, energy & ego in sport heavily outweigh the recreational aspect.
SPOT
A place on the LANE where a bowler is aiming, (also, part of a track or line.) Your target on the lanes; it might be a dot, an arrow or a darker board etc.
SPOT BOWLING
Using a particular target on the lane, rather than the pins themselves, as an aiming point. Many bowlers use the range finders, for example.
STABILITY
A defined rolling action of a bowling ball as it travels down the lane. Stability is said to be directly related to the importance of lane conditions. For instance: On oily conditions, a stable ball rolls better than an unstable ball which ultimately skids too far. On dryer conditions, an unstable ball rolls better than a stable ball which rolls too quickly.
STATIC
Weights The amount of thumb or finger, positive or negative side, top or bottom weight a ball has after drilling. Most people feel that this is less important overall in the high tech balls of today, with the major items causing ball reaation being the ball surface, underlying lane condition and to some extent core design.
STEAL
To get more pins then you hit for, or that you deserve by the hit made.
STEAL A STRIKE
To get a strike on a less-than-perfect hit.
STEPLADDER
Three consecutive games in a series that increase by one pin each game; i.e., 145-146-147 is a stepladder series; also, a type of competition that ends an event whereby the lowest seeded player among those remaining plays against the next higher seed, with the winner advancing to face the next higher seed; this continues until the championship is decided against the number one seeded player or team.
STIFF
An oily lane.
STONE 8 (OR STONE 9 ETC)
The leaving of the named pin an an apparent solid flush hit.
STORM
One of the high tech bowling ball manufacturers; their line of balls often has the word "storm" as part of the ball name; i.e., "Firestorm", "Thunderstorm" etc.
STRAIGHT PLAYER
A player that relies on accuracy at the expense of power.
STRIKE
The feat of knocking down all ten pins with the first ball. The score for the frame is 10 plus the total number of pins knocked down by the next two balls. The symbol is "X".
STRIKE OUT
Usually, getting all three strikes in the tenth frame; also sometimes the same as punch out.
STRIKE SPLIT
A split that results from what was apparently a strike hit. Usually the 8-10 split for a right-handed bowler and the 7-9 for a lefty.
STRIKE ZONE
Target area on either side of HEADPIN.
STRING
A number of successive strikes. A single game of bowling.
STRIP THE LANES
The cleaning and removal of back end oil that has been carried down after the normal lane condition has been applied and many games bowled on the lanes. A stripped lane surface is dry and prone to hook; this should be done daily to keep a consistent lane condition; sadly, many center do this very irregularly.
STROKE
The act of releasing the ball in a fluid unforced motion, unlike a cranker who usually "hits up" on the ball at the release.
STROKER/TWEENER
A player that has more accuracy and less power than a cranker, with more power than a straight player; also "tweener".
SUITCASE GRIP
Holding the ball as you would the handle of a suitcase; promotes reduced hook.
SWEEP
The device on the pin-setter which clears the plate.
SWEEPER
(1) WOOD that cleans remaining pins off deck (clears remaining pins). (2) Big hook, same as broom ball. (3) A type of tournament.
SWEEPSTAKE
Tournament where contestants pay an entry fee (for prizes).
SWING AREA
The amount of error a player has when making a shot.
SWING/SWING SHOT
The throwing of the ball from an inside position on the lane towards the gutter; i.e., I was starting on board 15 swinging to 5 at the arrows."
SWISH
To hit high enough in the pocket so that the five pin slides off to the opposite side in a "swishing" action.
SWISS CHEESE BALL
A ball with many holes in it, used to determine the proper fit for a bowler so a custom ball can be drilled .
SYSTEM OF BOWLING (SOB)
An attempt by the ruling body to legislate a minimum condition that all lanes must provide; it was hoped that it would place a more competitive balance into the game (it hasn't!). In general, the SoB has legalized any and all lane conditions so long as there is a minimum of 3 units of oil across every board that is conditioned. Many houses use the SoB to legalize lane blocking by applying the minimum on the outside boards and then crowning/walling the middle. The SoB is currently under review by the ABC.
T
TANDEM
Same as barmaid.
TAP
The leaving of a single pin on an apparent perfect shot. Same as burner.
TARGET PIN (OBJECT PIN)
The pin that must be hit to make a shot.
TAXI
The shout used when a bowlers misses their mark by a large margin...sometimes in association with conducting an "area check"; similar to the phrase used in the midwest/colder winter parts of the US when someone might say to a player that misses wildly to the gutter side..."Please start my car while you are there." i.e., so far "outside".
TEAM CAPTAIN
The player responsible for getting bowlers to the lane on time, setting the lineup, and handling any other necessary chores.
TELEPHONE POLES
Logs; very heavy pins.
THIN (HIT)
Where the ball barely touches the pin (LIGHT HIT or LOW HIT).
THIN HIT
A light hit in the pocket or on any spare. Same as loose hit.
THREE HUNDRED (300) GAME
A perfect game.
THREE HUNDRED (300) GAME JINX
Similar to the baseball's "no-hit jinx"; when a player opens with a streak of strikes, it's considered bad luck to mention the possibility of a 300 game.
THREE QUARTER BUCKET
Three of the four pins of the bucket split.
THREE QUARTER HIT
First ball hits between 2-4 or 3-6.
THREE QUARTER ROLLER
Semi-roller.
THROWING ROCKS
Said of a bowler who scores well by rolling a very fast ball.
THUMB WEIGHT
Method of drilling the ball so that the thumbhole is closer to the label than are the finger holes; it is considered a negative weight; see "finger weight".
TICKLER
The 6-pin, when it very gently knocks over the 10-pin, resulting in a strike.
TIGHT LANES
Lanes that do not hook much; oily, stiff, heavily conditioned, icy.
TILT THE FIVE
A weak pocket hit where the ball deflects too much are just barely knocks over the five pin.
TIMING
The relationship between your arrival at the foul line and the release. See "early" and "late" timing.
TOO THIN
Barely misses (near miss) - almost knocked down the pin.
TOOK/TAKING THE COLLAR
"Choking" on an important shot.
TOP WEIGHT
Drilling of a ball so that there is more weight above the label than there is below; it is considered a positive weight. See "bottom weight".
TOPPING THE BALL
Keeping the thumb in the ball too long at release, resulting in little action because the fingers go over the top of the ball instead of behind it or to one side.
TOUCH
Same as burner.
TRACK
Either "ball track", which is the area on the surface of the ball upon which the ball rotates as it goes down the lane; or. the area of a lane where most players in that center throw their normal strike line.
TRACK, INC.
One of the high tech ball firms. Affiliated with Columbia 300; their line includes the very popular and successful "Triton" line of balls.
TRANSLATIONAL ENERGY
The energy created by the approach and the armswing toward the focal point.
TRIPLE
Three consecutive strikes.
TRIPLICATE
Three scores exactly the same; Jeremy Sonnenfeld has had the ultimate triplicate, 300-300-300.
TRIPPED 4
Said of the 4-pin when it's knocked down by the 2-pin on a bounce off the kickback.
TRIPPED-4
A hit that is a little high in the pocket that seems to leave the 4 pin, but the 2 pin comes off the sideboards to trip it over.
TRUST
When you believe the ball will come back from a position very close to the gutter. "I am really trusting the ball."
TUG THE BALL
Pulling or yanking the ball high on the headpin or crossing over.
TUMBLER
Same as spiller.
TURBULENCE HOLE
This extra hole creates air turbulence and causes the pins to fly around and mix better.
TURKEY
Three strikes in a row.
TURKEY BUZZARD
Three splits in a row. You can see them "circle"ing (remember, the symbol for a split is a circle). See also "buzzard".
TURN
The motion of the hand and wrist that imparts rotation to the ball at release.
TWEENER
A player that has more accuracy and less power than a cranker, with more power than a straight player; also "stroker".
U
UMBRELLA BALL
A high hit that nevertheless results in a strike; so called because the pins fan out as they fall into something like an umbrella pattern, rather than being scattered around.
UNCLE
Usually the term used to describe the anchor player on a team that had a chance to "stick" a teammate with a beer frame, but did not strike. The anchor is said to be an "uncle" of the other player. See "cousin".
UNDER
In competitive play, the amount of pins (including bonus, if any) that a player is scoring under a 200 average; a player that shoots 1734 for 9 games is "under" by 66. See also "plus", "minus" and "over".
UP THE BOARDS/UP THE TRACK
A strike line that is straighter into the ball track with little belly.
UP THE HILL
When a ball successfully moves over a high board.
URETHANE
A plastic blend that is normally softer and more porous than polyester; coverstock favorite until the advent of reactive resin.
V
VENT HOLE
An extra hole drilled to relieve suction in the thumb hole; not a gripping hole.
VICARIOUS BOWLING
Watching WRWjr bowl.
VIOLATION
An infraction affecting 2nd or 3rd ball score.
W
WALL
(1) the sideboards/kickback (2) the crown of oil (3) a very easy shot
WALL SHOT
A strike that is light in the pocket whereby pins are deflected into the kickbacks and return to the pin deck to knock down more pins.
WASHOUT
A split with the corner pin (7 or 10) standing; symbolised as "W"; not making the spare is considered a blow or error, not a split. The 1-2-4-10 or 1-2-10 split for right-handed bowlers, the 1-3-6-7 or 1-3-7 for left-handers.
WEAK HIT
A flat or soft hit leaving a single pin or possible a pocket split.
WEIGHT BLOCK
The interior portion of a ball that adds extra weight to it to bring the overall gross weight higher. Knowledge of the location of the weight block is used to create balls with differing positive and negative weight distributions.
WHOOPS
What you say when you lose the ball in your backswing.
WIBC
Women's International Bowling Congress; governing body for women players.
WINDING 'EM IN
Throwing a big hook back to the pocket.
WINDING THEM IN
Said of a bowler who gets a big hook consistently into the pocket.
WIRED
In the zone; very consistent with high scores.
WOOD
1)A pin or pins; 2)the number of pins knocked down; 3)the number of pins given to a bowler as a handicap.
WOOLWORTH
The 5-10 (five and dime) split; see also "Kresge".
WORKING BALL
A ball that has action and mix to scramble the pins; a hard charging effective ball.
WOW
Make a SPARE (or TEN) out of a SPLIT LEAVE.
WRAP AROUND
A shot on which the 6-pin almost hits the 10-pin but spins right around it, leaving it standing.
X
X
The symbol for a strike.
XXX'ED OUT
The act of completing a game with all strikes from a given point in the game.See also "off the sheet" or "all the way" or "punched out".
Y
YABA
Young American Bowling Alliance; governing body for youth bowlers.
YANK THE SHOT
To hold onto the ball too long, thus pulling it across the body before release. Pulling or tugging the ball high or past the pocket.
YELLOW DOT
An older polyester ball made by Columbia that was known for its excellent roll and hit.
Z
ZERO IN
To find the path to the pocket, usually after some poor hits and/or experimentation.
ZONE
A highly successful ball line from Brunswick; one of the biggest selling lines of balls ever made.
ZONE/IN THE
Lined up; in the groove; consistent and powerful. "He is zoned."

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