As much as we’d all like to throw nothing but strikes, that’s not in the cards for most bowlers. Being able to convert a spare is an important skill to have, but many bowlers are stumped when it comes to the dreaded split. Read on to learn some tips for picking up a split in bowling from the pros at Richmond 40 Bowl.
A split in bowling is a spare (meaning you didn’t bowl a strike and left pins standing) in which two or more pins are standing, separated by at least one pin width. These can range from mildly challenging splits in which you can probably hit one pin and knock it into the other (like the 2-7, 1-4, 1-6, or 3-10), to the truly intimidating splits with one pin left on the farthest point of each side (7-10 split).
The way you pick up a split will depend on what arrangement of pins you’re working with.
To nail a 4-5 (more common for right-handed bowlers), you’ll want to move your approach to the right while using the strike target line. You can adjust the number of boards left or right you need to move depending on how heavy the oil is in the middle section of the lane.
To pick up a 7-8 split, you’ll need to shift your feet to the right of your strike approach by 12 to 14 boards, while still using the strike line target.
This is a fairly common split in bowling, in which the 3 pin is left standing with a space between it and the 10 pin. To clear this one, you’ll need to hit the 3 on its far right side so that it knocks the 3 down, but also sends the ball back towards the 10.
The key to picking up a 5-7 is to move your approach to the left 4 or 5 boards. Using the strike target on the lane with your side adjustment, the ball should skid across the oil on the lane just enough to contact the 5 pin a bit off center, sliding it in to the 7.
Hitting the far corner pin just right so that it slides across the deck and takes out the other pin is no small feat. With a lot of practice and some good luck, you just might be able to pull it off.