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BOWLING BASICS 10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW


bowling basics 10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW


TAB LE O F

contents 1. E Q U I PM E NT

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2. BALLS

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3. CAR E

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4. SAFETY

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5. R O UTI N E

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6. D R E SS

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7. C O U RTE SY

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8. PRACTI C E

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9. LEAG U E

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10. TE R M I N O LO GY

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WELCOME to Brooklyn Strike’s Bowling Basics:

10 Things You Need to Know. This is intended to be a guide for beginning and casual bowlers interested in improving their game. However, there are many common mistakes that once corrected will improve your scores almost right away.

What’s Great About Bowling? Glad you asked. A lot of things. Almost anyone can do it, you can do it almost anytime, bowling isn’t weather dependent, it’s cheaper than most sports (yes it is a sport), it’s a great way to make friends and best of all, it’s fun! If you’re a bowler, you’re in very good company. Bowlers are among the most intelligent people on the planet.

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There are a few basic things that will make bowling easier and more enjoyable for you and your fellow bowlers. Believe it or not, these things will make you a better bowler almost immediately!


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Own Your Own Equipment WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? IF YOU’RE SERIOUS about improving your game but don’t have your own ball and shoes, you’re in for a long frustrating haul. Even then, you probably won’t ever achieve any level of consistency. A ball that’s custom fit to your hand will feel lighter and be much easier to control.

WHERE DO YOU BUY EQUIPMENT? Many bowling centers have a pro shop where you can buy excellent quality equipment. If your center doesn’t have one, they can tell you where to go. The minimum you need is a ball, bag, towel and shoes. Of course there are all kinds of gizmos and gadgets that are helpful, but those things can come later.

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A PU B LI CATI O N BY B R O O KLYN STR I KE

The folks in the shop will help you pick out the equipment that’s right for you. Great deals and selection can be had by shopping online, but nothing beats the personal attention and advice you’ll get from your local Pro Shop.


2. choosing the right ball NOT ALL BOWLING BALLS are created equal. Today’s balls range from mild firecrackers to highly explosive bombs. Most better bowlers carry at least three different balls— one with high hook potential, one with medium hook potential, and one with little or no hook potential. It’s important to realize that even the most potentially hooking ball will not automatically hook by itself. You make it hook! That’s why it’s a good idea to develop a consistent proper release before investing in a variety of bowling balls.

WHAT KIND OF BALL DO YOU NEED?

B OWLI N G BAS I C S: 10 TH I N G S YO U N E E D TO KN OW

Generally, the lane condition will dictate what ball is required: heavy oil calls for maximum hooking potential; medium oil calls for medium hooking potential; and dry lanes require very little hook potential. For example: if your bowling on really dry lanes with a ball with high hook potential, the ball will most likely take off in its hooking pattern shortly after hitting the lane. Conversely, if you’re bowling on heavy oil, a low hooking ball will just keep sliding down the lane, both resulting in lower scores.

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WHAT’S INSIDE A BALL? pancake weight

HOUSE

core

pin core cover

PR O FE SS I O NAL

pin core cover second core

If you want to carry only one ball, one with medium hook potential might be the way to go. If you want to carry two balls, get one at each end of the spectrum. The weight of the ball also has a lot to do with it. Too heavy or too light may be hard to control during the approach. Don’t let your ego prevent you from bowling your best by insisting on using the heaviest ball (16lb). For help in choosing your bowling balls, see your local Pro Shop operator.

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A P U B L I C AT I O N BY B R O O K LY N S T R I K E

most explosive

least explosive

cover


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Take Proper Care of Your Equipment WHAT IS THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN? Now that you’ve spent a small fortune on your new bowling gear, the last thing you want to do is ruin it. Avoid leaving your ball in the car or garage for extended periods of time. Bowling balls have been known to crack or even melt from exposure to extreme conditions. A good rule of thumb is to not leave it anywhere you wouldn’t want to sleep. Also, keep your ball clean. It will reward you with steady progress. What you use to clean it with will depend on the kind of ball you have. Your pro shop or bowling center will have what you need.

Don’t wear your bowling shoes anywhere but inside the bowling center. Be careful where you walk and avoid stepping in spilled soda or popcorn crumbs. The idea is to keep all foreign substances off the bottoms of your shoes, especially the pad on the sliding shoe (left shoe for right handed bowlers, right shoe for left handers). Should you happen to step in something, use your towel or a small wire brush to remove it. Many bowlers use special slip-on shoe covers during trips to the restroom and snack bar.

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A P U B L I C AT I O N BY B R O O K LY N S T R I K E

WHAT ABOUT SHOES?


4. Bowling Safety Here’s are a list of safety tips that will actually help develop consistency in your game: NEVER BOWL COLD. Always warm-up with a few body stretches before bowling. It will help you relaxed and prevent pulled muscles. Click here for a simple warm-up routine... MAKE SURE YOUR SHOES ARE CLEAN

and dry before stepping onto the approach; get into the habit of checking the bottoms of your shoes for foreign substances before getting up to take your turn. Especially the sliding shoe (opposite of your bowling hand). It’s amazing how even the smallest crumb or spot of moisture can cause you to stick or slip at the foul line. People have gone flying head first down the lane because they had candy wrappers stuck to the bottom of their shoes. Use a towel to wipe off moisture or small particles, and a wire brush for ground-in goop. If you find a sticky spot on the floor somewhere, be sure to report it to someone in the bowling center.

B OWLI N G BAS I C S: 10 TH I N G S YO U N E E D TO KN OW

EASY SLIDE. If you’re sticking at the line: there

is something called “Easy Slide.” It’s a little bag of powder that is meant to be used on the bottom of the sliding shoe (also on the thumb). Be very careful not to put too much on as the excess will come off on the approach and may cause other bowlers to slip. If you need Easy Slide, remember, “a little dab will do ya.” Be sure to completely rub it in leaving no loose powder on the pad.

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USE TWO HANDS. Don’t pick up the ball with

just one hand: save your wrists and back! This is a common mistake made by many bowlers. Besides not injuring yourself, you want to look like you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t.

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CRADLE THE BALL. Stand in front of the ball return, bend your knees and pick up the ball with both hands. Be careful not to slide your hands between your ball and someone else’s or you might smash your fingers. Cradle the ball in your non-bowling arm and walk to your starting position. After getting your feet in place, insert your fingers (fingers first, thumb last).


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Pre-Shot Routine A consistent pre-shot routine is one of the most overlooked aspects of bowling. The next time you’re watching a basketball game on TV, watch what the players do when getting ready for a free-throw. Each player has his own pre-shot routine, and they do it exactly the same way every time! A consistent pre-shot routine will not only keep you relaxed and focused, it will help ensure safety and proper performance of your equipment. No two routines will be the same but any pre-shot routine might include the following (not necessarily in this order): BE THERE AND BE READY when it’s your turn to bowl! You can’t keep your mind on your game if you’re running around the bowling center between frames. Plus, some bowlers get irritated; ENSURE YOUR HAND IS BONE DRY. This helps ensure a clean release. Use a towel, rosin bag, or the air blower on the ball return to remove moisture. CHECK THE BOTTOM OF YOUR SHOE for moisture or foreign objects. You want to knock the pins over with the ball, not your head! Give the bottom of your shoe a swipe with a towel before every frame.

WIPE YOUR BALL thoroughly with a ball towel to remove any dirt or lane oil. This will help the ball grab the lane and do its thing. As well as help to prevent carrydown (see chapter 10).

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A P U B L I C AT I O N BY B R O O K LY N S T R I K E

REMOVE YOUR BALL from the return correctly.


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Dress for Success IS DRESSING FOR BOWLING EASY?

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Of course! The only specialized attire required are shoes (most bowling centers won’t let you bowl without them). The two most common brands are Linds and Dexter. You probably have everything else already hanging in the closet. Comfortable fitting jeans, chinos, shorts and short sleeve cotton shirts are best. Overly tight or baggy clothes can restrict movement. Some tournaments and clubs actually have dress codes prohibiting t-shirts, shorts or jeans. So if your goal is to take your bowling to a higher level, it wouldn’t hurt to get used to wearing polo shirts and chinos while bowling. If you’re into the retro thing, check out cool vintage bowling shirts.


7. Bowling Courtesy WHAT BASIC THINGS DO YOU NEED TO KNOW? KEEP YOUR STUFF off the seats and out of the way; your fellow players need a place to sit and don’t want to trip over your sneakers on the way to the approach. DON’T BRING FOOD OR DRINKS on the approach; if something spills, all bowling comes to a screeching halt. Be ready when it’s your turn; you don’t want to upset the flow of the game. Conversely, don’t go on the approach until it’s your turn to avoid traffic jams. YIELD to the bowler on your immediate left or right if they are ready to bowl (one lane courtesy); don’t even go near the ball return if the person on either side of you is bowling or getting ready to bowl. Stay behind the scoring console until the coast is clear before taking your turn.

B OWLI N G BAS I C S: 10 TH I N G S YO U N E E D TO KN OW

DON’T LOFT THE BALL; lofting is when you hurl the ball 20 feet forward before it lands on the lane. This can dent the lane and rattle teeth. You want to roll the ball, not throw it.

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7 4

10

9 6

5 2

8

7 4

9

2

3

10 6

5 3 1

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don’t loft the ball down here!

don’t cross the foul line!

optimize time on the approach.

wait for the person adjacent to you!

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no food or drink past here please!


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Practice makes perfect WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO PRACTICE? There are two basic ways to practice: games with friends, and focused solo sessions where you work on various aspects of your game. Both are beneficial. Here are some practice tips: DON’T KEEP SCORE. The scoreboard can be the most distracting thing. Don’t worry, once the lanes are “on,” the automatic mechanism will keep track of how many frames you’ve bowled. Just go out there and roll frame after frame. This is the best way to improve spare shooting because the pressure is off and you can experiment with angles. CONCENTRATE on one thing at a time. For example, if you’re having trouble executing a consistent “follow through,” just work on that and forget everything else. Then move on to something else.

PACE YOURSELF. During league play, you could

be bowling with as many as nine other bowlers on the same pair of lanes. Even though you’re crisscrossing, you usually have to wait a few minutes between frames. It’s a good idea to maintain a similar pace during practice.

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MAKE FRIENDS with some of the better bowlers in your center and get them to take you under their wing. These folks usually keep regular practice schedules. See if they’ll let you join them.


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League and Tournament WHAT IS ALL THIS PRACTICE FOR? Competition! Yes, you can actually earn money bowling. Not to mention the personal satisfaction you’ll get from bowling well and taking your team over the top in a tight game. As mentioned earlier, hours of practice are necessary to succeed, but it all comes together during competition.

ADVICE FOR NEW LEAGUE BOWLERS? GIVE YOURSELF TIME to do an equipment check prior to leaving for the Bowling Center. Make sure everything is there and in good condition. Do any maintenance before you leave as you may not have the opportunity once you arrive at the site. Plus, you don’t want to get there and find out you’ve left your lucky towel or wrist brace at home.

CHECK THE BALLS. Prior to start time, make sure that every ball in your bag fits your hand. Add or remove bowling tape as necessary. You want to minimize the distraction of a poor fit if you have to make a sudden ball change. LOOK SHARP AND BE FRIENDLY. Nobody likes a slob or a snob! Chat with the center staff and other bowlers while you’re getting used to the environment.

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ARRIVE EARLY at the Bowling Center, well in advance of start time. This allows you time to relax and get comfortable with the staff and the Center’s vibe. Most importantly, it gives your fingers and thumb time to shrink or swell to their natural size based on the atmosphere of the Bowling Center.


10. bowling terms As in every sport, Bowling has a language of its own. The tough part is that it’s not the same in all localities! The following is glossary of terms that should get you through any conversation at your local center. ACTION

Movement imparted to the ball by the fingers at the point of release.

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ANCHOR MAN >

The last bowler in a team.

ANGLE

Direction taken by the ball as it enters the 1-3 (1-2 for left-handers) pocket.

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A series of seven arrow markers 14 1/2 to 15.5 feet past the foul line that are placed every fifth board across the lane to serve as aiming points.

ARROWS >

BABY STRIKE

BACK-END

The part of the lane between the second set of arrows and the pin deck.

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BACK-UP BALL BALL TRACK

B OWLI N G BAS I C S: 10 TH I N G S YO U N E E D TO KN OW

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A reverse hook.

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The part of the ball that comes in contact with the lane as it rolls down the alley. (See Spinner, Semiroller, and Full roller.)

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BLOCKED LANE

BOARDS

Pins left after the first shot containing a pocket similar to the 1-3 pocket in a full rack.

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A high-scoring condition when the boards closest to the channels have very little lane conditioner and there is a heavy oil buildup on the center boards which helps to keep shots in the pocket. The 39 strips of wood that extend from the start of the approach to the pins. They are used as both a starting and an aiming point by players.

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BREAK OF THE BOARDS

Point approximately 16 feet out from the foul line just beyond the arrows.

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A ball thrown into the 1-2 (1-3 for lefthanders) pocket.

BROOKLYN > CARRYDOWN

CHERRY

A pin left when a pin in front is knocked down, or chopped; in this case, you’ve “picked a cherry.”

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CHINAMAN CHOP

The gutter on each side of the lane.

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The third bowler in a team.

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To hit a front pin and leave one or more behind it.

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CONVENTIONAL GRIP

CRANKER

Placing your fingers into the ball up to the second joint. It promotes accuracy but retards lift and striking power. Used primarily by beginning and less-advanced players. A bowler who relies more on a big hook and great carrying power than on accuracy. When these folks are “on” and the condition is right, they’re unbeatable (almost).

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CREEP SPEED

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A ball that is rolled very slowly.

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CHANNEL

The movement of lane conditioner (caused by a succession of shots) from beyond where the oil was applied toward the pins. Carrydown decreases the ball’s hooking on the backbend, affecting approach.

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10 . bowling terms CROSSOVER LINE

The aiming point for hitting the 1-2 (1-3 for left-handers) pocket.

DEEP INSIDE LINE >

A strike line that is popular among hook players in which the bowler stands on a high-numbered board and aims for a low-numbered board.

DEFLECTION

The movement of the ball from its path caused by the pins that are hit.

DIE

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When the ball loses action at the end of the roll.

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DOTS

DUMP

A series of spots found on the foul line and seven feet past the foul line. Also at the two most common starting points on the approach. Used primarily as reference point for foot placement. They can also be used for aiming points.

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Dropping the ball at the foul line.

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EARLY TIMING

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FIFTH ARROW

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FILL

Releasing the shot prior to the sliding foot arriving at the foul line. The third from the left (for a right-handed player) or from the right (for left-handers) of the seven arrows on the lane. The fifth arrow is located on the 25th board. The number of pins dropped after a spare and added to the score.

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FINGER GRIPS B OWLI N G BAS I C S: 10 TH I N G S YO U N E E D TO KN OW

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(cont’d)

Inserts placed into finger holes of the ball. Promotes a later release for added lift.

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FINGERTIP GRIP

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A grip whereby the bowler inserts his fingers only up to the first joint. Used to promote hook and striking power.

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FINGER WEIGHT

FIRST ARROW

To turn the wrist away from the ball at the end of the release.

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FOUL LINE

The arrow in the middle of the seven arrows on the lane. Located on the 20th board.

One of ten divisions of a game; the corresponding box on a score sheet. Dropping the ball at the foul line; see also Dump.

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FULL ROLLER

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The line at the end of the approach marking the beginning of the lane; the sliding foot or any part of the bowler’s body touching the lane beyond the foul line results in a loss of pins made on the roll.

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GET-AWAY

HEADS

The farthest to the right (for a right-handed player) or from the left (for left-handers) of the seven arrows on the lane. The first arrow is located on the fifth board.

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FOURTH ARROW

FRAME

Drilling the ball so that the finger holes are closer to the ball’s label than is the thumb hole. It is a form of positive weight. The legal maximum limit is one ounce.

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Method of rolling a ball in which the track area cuts between the thumb and finger holes. While it once was the shot most frequently used, it is rare among better players today because it lacks the carrying power of the more popular semiroller. The front portion of the lane between the foul line and the arrows.

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FLATTEN

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10 . bowling terms HANG A CORNER PIN HEADPIN HEAVY HIGH

When the ball hits the 1 pin head on; also on the nose. When you miss the pocket and hit the 1 pin head on; usually results in a split.

HOLD AREA

The amount of margin for error provided by an oil buildup in the center of the lane.

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HOLDING LANE

The break of the ball into the 1-3 (1-2) for left-handers) pocket.

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IN TIME

KILL SHOT

Simultaneous arrival at the foul line of the sliding foot and release of the ball. The ward walls on both sides of the pin deck used to promote pin deflection so pins ricochet back into play; See also Sidewalls.

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A shot in which the bowler intentionally reduces the amount the ball will hook.

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LATE TIMING

When you release the shot after the sliding foot has come to a halt.

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LAY A FOUNDATION LEAD-OFF MAN LIFT

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A dry or lightly oiled lane condition which causes maximum hook.

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KICKBACKS

B OWLI N G BAS I C S: 10 TH I N G S YO U N E E D TO KN OW

A lane condition that resists the hooking of the ball.

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HOOKING LANES

LEAVE

Leaving a corner pin standing. The 1 pin.

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HOOK

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(cont’d)

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Striking in the ninth frame. First bowler in a team. Pins standing after the first ball. Power imparted to the ball’s roll by the thumb exiting the ball first, followed by fingers.

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LIGHT HIT

Distance the ball carries after it is released before it hits the lane. When properly executed the shot travels forward, not upward or downward.

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LOFTING

To loft one’s shot.

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LONG OIL

Condition in which oil is applied from the foul line to 35 or more feet of the 60-foot lane. Used primarily for PBA and other highly competitive tournaments to create a challenging condition for the advanced-level player.

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LUSTER KING

MAPLE

OIL

Conditioner applied to lane’s surface that extends life of the alley while retarding ball hook.

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PIE ALLEY

PIN DECK

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>

>

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A pin or pins left standing after the second ball in a frame. A lane that allows high scoring.

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PIN ACTION

PINE

Machine which applies wax to the surface of bowling balls to prolong ball life and decrease hook. Hard wood used for that portion of the lane between the foul line and the arrows.

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OPEN FRAME

PIT

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The motion of pins that in turn take out other pins. The part of the lane housing the pins. Softer wood used for that portion of the lane between the arrows and the pin deck. The area at the end of the lane beyond the pin deck.

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LOFT

When the ball barely even touches the 1 pin.

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10 . bowling terms PITCH

The angle at which the finger holes are drilled.

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PLA Y THE GUTTER

POCKET

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A strike shot angle in where the ball is rolled just outside the channel before it begins hooking into the pocket. The space between the 1 and 3 pins (1 and 2 for left-handers).

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POLYESTER

Substance used for bowling balls that was very popular among pros in the 1970s and remains commonly used by amateur players. Its effect is a cross between those of urethane and rubber. A polyester ball goes straighter and doesn’t hit as well as a urethane ball but hooks more and hits harder than a rubber one. Preferred by advanced-level bowlers when the lanes are exceedingly dry.

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REVERSE BLOCK

REVOLUTIONS

B OWLI N G BAS I C S: 10 TH I N G S YO U N E E D TO KN OW

(cont’d)

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The number of times the bowling ball rolls over its circumference from when it is released until it reaches the pins. The greater the number, the more striking power usually results. Higher-quality amateur players and strokers usually achieve 10-20 revolutions. The PBA Tour’s ultra-power players are usually in the 15-20 range on their strike shots.

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RINGING 7-PIN

An extremely difficult lane condition where the boards nearest the gutters are heavily oiled while the lane’s center is relatively dry.

Tap suffered by a left-handed player when the 4 pin flies around the 7 pin.

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RINGING 10-PIN

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Tap suffered by a right-handed player when the 6 pin flies around the 10.

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RUBBER

When the ball uses up most of its impetus early on so little carrying power remains by the time it reaches the pins. The shot will actually stop its hooking pattern as it approaches the pins.

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A ball surface which remains the most common among house balls. Rubber bowling balls were the balls of choice well into the 1970s until polyester balls were introduced. Rubber balls go straightest and may be useful for covering non-double-wood spares when decreasing hook is necessary on a very dry lane. Very rarely used by advanced players.

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RUNNING LANE SANDING

A lane on which the ball hooks easily.

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Using an abrasive substance against the entire surface of the ball. The effect is to get ball to hook more.

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SECOND ARROW

SEMI-TIP GRIP

SEMIROLLER

The second from the right (for a right-handed player) or from the left (left-handers) of the seven arrows on the lane. Located on the tenth board.

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A grip whereby the bowler inserts his fingers into the ball halfway between the first and second joints.

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Most popular shot among better players in which the ball’s track area can be found just outside of the thumb and finger holes.

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SEVENTH ARROW

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The farthest to the left (for a right handed player) or from the right (for left-handers) of the seven arrows on the lane. Located on the 35th board.

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ROLLOUT


10 . bowling terms SHINING

Adding wax to ball’s surface to make it smoother. Used to prolong ball life or retard hook.

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SHORT OIL

Also known as limited distance dressing (or LDD). A lane condition where oil is applied to the front 24 feet or so of the lane, leaving the remaining distance dry.

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SHUR-HOOK

SIDEWALLS

The walls on either side of the pin deck off of which pins can ricochet back into play; See also Kickbacks.

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B OWLI N G BAS I C S: 10 TH I N G S YO U N E E D TO KN OW

SPARE

>

>

The second from the left or right depending on right or left handedness. One of the seven arrows on the lane. Located on the 30th board.

A shot by a left-handed player where the 7 pin remains as the 4 pin falls weakly into the gutter. Caused by the ball deflecting to the left after colliding with the headpin.

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SOFT 10-PIN

SOLID

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A pin hidden behind another in a spare, i.e. the 5 behind the 1.

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SOFT 7-PIN

A cork substance used in the thumb hole to promote a better grip. Commonly used by the player who wants to maintain a similar feel when switching bowling balls.

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SIXTH ARROW

SLEEPER

(cont’d)

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A shot by a right-handed player where the 10 pin remains as the 6 pin falls weakly into the gutter. Caused by the ball deflecting to the right after it collides with the headpin. A strong hit. To knock down all the pins with the first and second ball in a frame.

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SPINNER

A leave of two or more pins (not the King pin) with open space where pins have fallen.

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STIFF LANE

A lane that resists a hook.

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STRAIGHT PLAYER STRIKE

A player who relies more on accuracy than power. Usually noted for having a “by the book” style that includes smooth movements, remaining square to the target throughout the delivery, and being on time at the foul line.

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STRONG BALL

SWING AREA

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A ball rolled with a good deal of action; also Working ball.

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SUITCASE GRIP

TAP

A bowler who places a premium on accuracy at the expense of power. To knock down all the pins on the first ball of a frame.

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STROKER

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Holding the ball like the handle of a suitcase to reduce the amount it will hook. The amount of margin for error to the right of a right-handed player’s target (or to the left of a left-handed player’s target) that is provided by a lack of conditioner on the lowest numbered boards. A hit seems perfect but leaves one pin standing.

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A P U B L I C AT I O N BY B R O O K LY N S T R I K E

SPLIT

A method of delivering a shot so that only the small portion of the ball (around the 7 o’clock position for right-handers and 5 o’clock for lefties) is in contact with the lane. As a rule this is not a very successful shot for maximizing carrying power and thus is rarely employed by the better bowlers.

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10 . bowling terms THIRD ARROW

TICKLER

When the 6 pin bounces of the right kickback and takes out the 10 pin. A heavy or long oil pattern that retards a shot’s hook.

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The relationship between the sliding foot and the hand that releases the shot. See also: Early/late timing.

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THUMB GRIPS

TWEENER

Inserts placed inside of thumb hole to help a player get a better grip. Used primarily to maintain the same feel when switching bowling balls.

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A style of bowling that combines some of the power of the cranker with some of the style and accuracy of the stroker.

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URETHANE

WALL SHOT

Surface substance introduced in bowling balls in early 1980s. Noted for its superior gripping of the lane coupled with strong carrying power.

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A strike that is aided by pins coming off the left kickback in order to take out other pins.

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WEIGHT BLOCK B OWLI N G BAS I C S: 10 TH I N G S YO U N E E D TO KN OW

The third from the right (for a right-handed player) or from the left (for left-handers) of the seven arrows on the lane. Located on the 15th board.

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TIGHT LANES TIMING

(cont’d)

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An added section of weight on the inside of the ball. Can be used to maximum advantage by skilled ball driller when placed off center.

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WIRE IT

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Spare leave involving the headpin in combination with the 10 pin (for righthanders) or the headpin in combination with the 7 pin (for left-handers). Not considered a split. To throw three strikes in the tenth frame; also Strike out in the tenth.

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WASHOUT


B OWLI N G BAS I C S: 10 TH I N G S YO U N E E D TO KN OW

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Bowling Basics: 10 Things You Need to Know  

Publication for Brooklyn Strike, Senior Thesis. Text sourced from Pinboy’s Guide To Better Bowling. Reproduced for educational Purposes. Stu...

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