A split is when there is a space, or spaces in between pins that are left on the pin deck after you’ve thrown your first ball but didn’t make the strike. When you get a split but don’t convert it, the only way to make up for that open frame is to get a “Double” which is two strikes in a row! Let’s discuss how to convert splits and how to best avoid them.
The 7-10 split is the most difficult to convert because the pins are so far apart. One way to make it is to throw the ball hard at the left side of the 7 pin or try to hit the right side of the 10 pin and hope it flies over into the other pin. It’s a pure luck shot and I saw the pro bowler, Mark Roth, make it on TV many, many years ago. He hit the 10 pin and it hit into the back wall and came flying out to get the 7 pin. It was the first time that split was ever converted on television, and it was so exciting to watch! Another fellow to make the 7-10 split was Andy Varipappas, who threw two balls at the same time. The balls crossed each other in the center of the lane and one made the 10 pin and the other ball got down the 7 pin. It would be cool to convert it this way, but you’re only allowed to throw one ball in league play.
Knowing where to stand for your 7 pin, you must move to the right 2-3 boards to hit the left side of the 7 pin, or if you want to hit the 10 pin on the right side, move 2-3 boards to the left of where you would normally stand for the 10 pin. (Lefty’s do the opposite).
Some reasons for winding up with a split are:
Bowling is a lot like playing a game of pool, it’s all about angles. If you hit the headpin straight on, you might wind up with the 4-6-7-10 split (Called the “Greek Church”, or “Grandmas’ Teeth”) or the 4-6 split. To make either of these splits, you must hit the very right side of the 6 pin and hope to slide it over into the 4 pin, or hit the left side of the 4 pin to hit it into the 6 pin. You will need to stand 2-3 boards more to the left from where you normally would stand for the 6 pin because moving more to the left will make you ball go more to the right.
There are several other splits you can wind up with on a bad shot, or it could be due to poor lane conditions where the pinsetter is slightly off and the pins are not lined up exactly on their spots on the pin deck. Let's take the 5-7 split for example. You need to hit the 5 pin on the right side to slide it over into the 7 pin, therefore, you will need to stand a few boards to the left of where you would normally stand to convert the 5 pin. The opposite will happen for the 5-10 split. This time you need to hit the 5 pin on the left side, so try standing 2 boards to the right of where you would normally stand for the 5 pin it and it should slide over nicely hitting into the 10 pin.
The 7-8 split and the 9-10 split are just a ball’s distance apart so your ball will be able to fit right in between the two pins, but you must hit it just right. Notice the 4 pins' location is the pin in front of the space between the 7-8 split. So stand where you normally would to make the 4 pin, but move a board or two to the left to allow for the larger angle your ball will be coming in at. The 6 pin is the pin that would be located where the space is for the 9-10 split. So stand where you would to get the 6 pin, but move a board or two to the left, again to allow for the angle the ball will be coming in at.
Try not to get disgusted when you get a few splits. Just keep practicing and be patient with yourself. Converting these will give you more confidence in the league when it counts. Don't forget to make notes in your notebook so you can check your notes from time to time. Theres a lot to remember in bowling when you are just starting out.
Please join me next week when I'll be discussing “How to Pick Up Splits”-Part 2. I hope to see you then.
Good luck and High scoring!!
Hello!! My name is Joanie. Although I'm not a professional bowler, I have loved the sport for more than 45 years, averaged over 200 for several seasons, and learned quite a bit with research and experience.