Bowling Tips to Help You Pick Up That Pesky Split

view of bowling lane with pins at end

Bowling is a bit like chess, in that studying the various iterations of gameplay can help you improve your game. One of the most important things to know when trying to take your bowling game to the next level is how to pick up a split

How to Bowl a Split

What is a split, anyway?

If you’re not up on your bowling lingo, don’t worry! A split is just the bowling term for an arrangement of pins still standing after your first shot, when the middle pins have been taken out, and only a few pins remain, with space in between. Because these “split” pins are so far apart, it can be extremely challenging to take them both down in one shot

Types of Splits in Bowling

There are many splits you may encounter while bowling. These are the easier splits. You can usually take these out with a good shot because the pins are close enough that the front pin can fall into the back pin, knocking it down. 

  • The “Baby Split” 
    • 2-7 split
    • 3-10 split
  • The “Double Wood”
    • 2-8 split
    • 3-9 split
    • 1-5 split

The real skill comes into play when you’re facing one of the more difficult bowling splits. In fact, these splits are so hard to bowl that even professional bowlers rarely make them!

  • The “Greek Church” (4, 6, 7, 9, 10 split)
  • The “Bed Posts” (7-10 split)
  • The “Lily” (5, 7, 10 split)

How to Bowl Each Type of Split in Bowling

  • To pick up a baby split, you’ll want to aim for the outside of the front pin (2 or 3). Ideally, this will knock the front pin down, while also sending the ball back and out to hit the last pin (7 or 10). 
  • You can generally pick up a double wood split fairly easily, since the back pin is directly behind the front pin. 

Let’s be honest, you’re probably not going to make the really difficult split shots, even if you’re an experienced bowler. The odds are not in your favor. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible!  

  • The best approach to the Greek church split is to hit the 6 pin in hopes of taking down the 9 and 10 pins. If you get lucky, one of those will fly off to the other side and knock down 7 and 4. 
  • If you’re faced with a bedpost split, you’re going to need to aim for the inside edge of the pin that corresponds to your dominant hand. You’ll need to give the ball enough power to (hopefully) bounce into the wall hard enough that it ricochets across the lane to take out the other pin. It’s as hard as it sounds… But hey, if you make the shot you can dine out on the story for years!
  • The lily split is another bear of a shot. To have any chance of making it, you’ll need to use a lighter ball (less than 10 lbs). Aim for the 5 pin, but not head on—instead, try to hook the ball so that the 5 pin hits either the 7 or 10 pin with enough force to bounce across the lane and take out the last pin.  

Fortunately for all of the amateur bowlers out there, it’s still fun even if you can’t pick up some of the trickier splits. Come on out to Richmond 40 Bowl today to play!