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
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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.

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