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Bowling Terminology
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ABC
The American Bowling Congress. The official rule-making body of tenpin bowling in the United States.
ABSENTEE
See Blind
ALLEY
Slang: bowling establishment, ie a bowling center, the playing surface or lane.
ANCHORMAN
Last bowler in a team lineup.
ANGLE OF ENTRY
The direction the ball travels when going into the 1-3 pocket for right handed bowlers and the 1-2 for left handed bowlers.
APPROACH
Area at least 15 feet long on which player walks to the foul line.
ARMSWING
The arc of the arm use to deliver the ball.
ARROWS
Sighting targets imbedded in the lane to help player align start position.
AXIS LEVERAGE
Drilling or layout pattern with the center of gravity (c.g.) located on the bowler's positive axis point (P.A.P.) and the pin in the leverage position.
AXIS OF ROTATION
(Example, 0, 45, and 90 degrees) This is a measure of the direction of the initial rotation on the ball with respect to the lane. It is a measurement of the angle between the initial spin axis and the foul line running across the lane. A zero degree axis of rotation is all forward roll. The rotation on the ball is in the direction of the forward travel. The rotation will help keep the ball in the initial direction. The ball will not hook very much. It will roll out early. Therefore, a bowler with this style will need balls drilled to go long. A 90-degree axis of rotation is most likely all side roll. The rotation is perpendicular to the initial direction. The rotation is trying to make the ball hook at a 90-degree angle to the initial direction. This gives the ball more potential to hook. This style causes the ball to skid further down the lane and then hook more. A bowler with this style will most likely need balls drilled to hook earlier; such as axis weight, or pins closer to their axis.
AXIS TILT
(Example, a spinner versus a full roller) This is a measure of the angle of the initial spin axis to a horizontal plane. A full roller or high track style would have little or no axis tilt. The initial spin axis would be parallel or close to parallel with the lane surface. One rotation of the ball would cover the major diameter of the ball. A spinner would have an initial spin axis tilted up from the lane. The ball track would be far away from the thumb and finger holes. One rotation of the ball would cover a much smaller diameter than other bowlers. The spinner style will get the ball further down the lane before it hooks.
AXIS WEIGHT
Axis weight is a drilling pattern designed to produce little or no track flare and get the ball into an early roll with little backend reaction. Axis weight has the pin located on or near the bowler's PAP. The core is positioned along the initial spin axis. This places the core in a stable position. The ball will be initially rotating about the minimum RG axis, which is a stable core position. Therefore, it will continue to rotate about this axis creating no track flare. This reduces the backend reaction. Since the ball is rotating about the low RG axis it is easier for the bowler to rotate it off their hand which gets the ball into an earlier roll.
BABY SPLIT
The 2-7 or 3-10 splits.
BACKENDS
The last 20ft. of a bowling lane.
BACK SWING
The path of the arm behind the body during the next to last step in the delivery.
BAGGER
A term indicating consecutive strikes thrown that is preceded by a number. Ex: three bagger = three strikes in a row, seven bagger = seven strikes in a row.
BALANCE HOLE
This is an extra hole (balance hole or weight hole) in a ball which is used to get the ball within ABC specifications for imbalance (static balance). The maximum allowable diameter is 1-1/4" for ABC and WIBC sanctioned play and 1-3/8" for the PBA.
BED POSTS
The 7-10 split.
BEVEL
Rounding of thumb and or finger holes to smooth their edges.
BIG FOUR
The 4-6-7-10 split.
BLIND
Score given a team for its absent member.
BUCKET
The 2-4-5-8 for righthanders, 3-5-6-9 for lefthanders.
BROOKLYN
When a ball crosses over the headpin i.e., when shooting for the 1-3 pocket the ball goes left and hits the 1-2 side.
BUB
A person who travels with a group of bowlers that usually spend more money than they make. This person performs many duties which includes driving the truck, dressing the lanes, drilling the balls, weighing in the balls, and selling gift items to unaware bowlers. Also refers to a person trying to get their ducks in a row. Also see peacock.
C.G. (CENTER OF GRAVITY)
The point on the bowling ball where it weighs out with no finger, thumb or side weight before drilling. The perfect balance point where the weight on any straight line drawn through the c.g. is zero on either side of the c.g..
CARRYDOWN
Oil that is pushed or carried down the lane by balls when there is bowling on the lane.
CHERRY
Chopping off the front pin by driving it straight back past any other standing pins to the right or left.
CHRISTMAS TREE
A conditoning (oil) pattern. The oil is tapered from right to left and long ways down the lane, tapering into a point. The pattern if viewed from above would resemble a christmas tree with the base beginning at the foul line. The taper may be varying differences.
COEFFICIENT OF FRICTION
The coefficient of friction (also called COF, or friction) is a measurement of the force it takes to slide an object across another surface divided by the object's weight. In bowling, the coefficient of friction refers to how well the bowling ball grabs the lane surface. If lane oil is present the ball slides on the lane surface very easily and there is a low COF. If there is no oil on the lane, the ball does not slide as easily and the coefficient of friction is high. A more aggressive shell material has an even higher coefficient of friction. The greater the coefficient of friction, the sooner the ball will grab the lane and hook.
COUNT
The number of pins knocked down on the first ball.
CRANKER
A bowler who gets alot of revolutions on the ball.
CROSSOVER
A ball going to 1-2 pocket side for a righthander, 1-2 side for lefthander.
DIFFERENTIAL
The difference in the Radius of Gyration or RG on the x-axis and the y-axis. RG differential indicates the amount of flare potential of a bowling ball.
DITCH
The gutter or the very edge of the lane.
DOUBLE
Two strikes in succession.
DUTCH 200
A game of exactly 200 made by alternate strikes or spares.
FLARE
Describes the ball track progression from the bowler's axis of rotation to the ball's preferred spin axis, due to strength of core and friction on the lane.
FOUL
Touching or going beyond the foul line while delivering the ball.
FRAME
One-tenth- of a game. Each square on score sheet is one frame.
FULL ROLLER
This is a bowling style where the ball will track between the finger and thumbhole.
GUTTER BALL
Delivery which rolls off the lane into the gutter.
HEADS
This is the front part of the lane. Also called the maple area of the lane because of the material from which it is made (on wood lanes).
HIGH RG DRILLING
This is a drilling pattern where the pin is located at approximately 90 degrees (or 6 to 6-3/4 inches) to the PAP. It is called this because the core is initially rotating around its highest RG axis off the bowler's hand. This results in the ball skidding further down the lane before hooking. The pin may be positioned close to or in the bowler's track.
HOOK
A ball that breaks sharply toward the pocket.
HOOK POTENTIAL
Rated on an opened ended scale, hook potential describes the relative hook potential of a particular bowling ball. Bowling balls with higher numbers will tend to hook more. Balls with lower numbers will tend to hook less. Hook potential numbers are not intended to place a numerical measurement to the hooking action of a bowling ball. Using the hook potential numbers to compare two bowling balls in an attempt to try and predict a bowling balls reaction does not usually work. The hook potential numbers have been assigned to bowling balls in an attempt to give the consumer a frame of reference. A bowling ball's reaction is determined by many different factors. When choosing a bowling ball it is important to keep those differences in mind. Bowling balls respond to the forces applied to them under certain conditions. A ball designed to hook more may hook less under certain conditions than a ball designed to hook less. Since most companies use different hook rating scales, which only tends to confuse the consumer, bowlingball.com has come up with the "Perfect Scale"™ to give a relative hook rating from one bowling ball to the next.
HOOK OUT
Also know as roll out. This is when the ball has completed hooking and begins to travel in a straight line. The stages of the ball path are described as skid, hook and roll. After the ball skids on the oil and hooks on the dry backends, it will eventually start to just roll. This is hook out.
LEAVE
Pins remaining after the first delivery.
LENGTH
Rated on an open ended scale, length describes the realtive length of a bowling ball. Bowling balls with higher numbers will tend to go longer before starting to change direction. Bowling balls with lower numbers will tend to change direction earlier. Length numbers are not intended to place a numerical measurement of length. Using these numbers to try and predict the exact distance between the bowling balls being compared will not neccesarily be reflected correctly. A bowling ball's reaction is determined by many different factors. When choosing a bowling ball it is important to keep those differences in mind. Bowling balls respond to the forces applied to them under certain conditions. A ball designed to hook more may hook less under certain conditions than a ball designed to hook less.
LEVERAGE DRILLING
This is a drilling pattern that produces the maximum amount of track flare. The pin and CG are located at 3-3/8" from the bowler's PAP which places the core at a 45-degree angle to the axis line. This is an unstable position for a dynamic core. The core wants to move away from this location causing track flare. The track flare increases the friction between the ball and lane, which gets the ball into an early roll. Depending on the bowler's style, the added friction can sometimes increase the sharpness of the turn at the break point (especially for low RPM bowlers); or for others (especially higher RPM bowlers), cause the ball to slow down too much in the oil. This uses up the energy in the oil where the ball cannot hook very easily and reduces the turn at the break point.
LOFTING
Throwing the ball in the air beyond the foul line.
MICA:
Technically a rock material. It is added to balls to pearlize them. Pearlized balls normally skid further and then snap harder. Some new types (sizes) of mica are being added to balls to affect their performance. Some actually help a ball skid in the oil creating a snap at the break point.
MID LINE
This is a terminology used on drill sheets. It is the horizontal line that extends from the center of the grip at 90 degrees towards the PAP (positive axis point).
MESSENGER
When a pin comes across the deck i.e., right to left or left to right off the side boards.
OFF THE SHEET
Finishing a game from any frame with nothing but strikes.
PIN IN
This is a ball that was manufactured with the pin and the center of gravity within 1 1/2" of one another.
PIN OUT
This is a ball that was manufactured with the pin and the center of gravity distance greater than 1 1/2" from one another.
PITCH
The angle at which a hole is bored in a bowling ball. When facing the grip with the fingers ontop and the thumb below - holes that are drilled away from the center of the grip is referred to as reverse. Holes angled or pitched towards the center of the grip is referred to as forward. Right and left pitch are in relation to the hole. Right pitch on the thumb is also called palm pitch since the angle of the thumb is towards the palm.
POCKET
Area between 1-2 pins for a left and 1-3 pins for a righthander.
POSITIVE AXIS POINT (PAP)
This is the point on a ball that it wants to initially rotate about when a bowler releases it. The bowler's style determines this location. It is measured from the center of the grip over a distance along the midline and up or down a distance along the mid plane (vertical axis line).
Pro CG
A Pro-CG is where the CG ends up a certain distance left or right of the Pin and PSA (preferred spin axis). If you draw a line from the PIN to the PSA on average the CG would need to be 2 " or more from that line. That distance will vary depending on if the CG was to the right or left. Although still categorized as a first quality ball it has limited drill options (see our Pro-CG Drilling Options) that requires a certain type of layout.
Pro Pin
These bowling balls are first quality bowling balls with pin distances over 5" from the center of gravity and top weight between 2 and 4 ounces. The extra long pin distances allow you to use drill patterns that may not be capable with normal pin to CG configurations.
RG - AVERAGE RADIUS OF GYRATION
Bowling balls have a RG (Radius of Gyration) converted to a scale of 1-10. RG numbers range from 2.46 to 2.800, but some companies have converted them to a 1-10 scale to help give the consumer a better frame of reference. Mass distribution numbers describe the distribution of mass in the bowling ball. High RG numbers indicate that the balls mass is distributed more towards the cover (cover heavy)which promotes length through the heads of the bowling lane. Low RG numbers indicate that the balls mass is distributed more towards the center (center heavy) which promotes an earlier roll through the front part of the lane.
RG - DIFFERENTIAL
The difference between the maximum and minimum Radius of Gyration. RG-differential indicates the bowling ball's track flare potential. The higher the number the greater the track flare potential.
SPARE
Knocking down all pins in two deliveries.
STRIKE
Knocking down all pins with the first ball.
STRIKING OUT
Throwing three strikes in the tenth frame.
STROKER
A bowler who is very smooth with both his/her release and approach.
TAP
Expression used to describe a single pin that is left standing after what seemed to be a shot where the bowler expected to strike.
TEN IN THE PIT
A Strike that sends all ten pins into the back leaving none on the pin deck.
TRACK
Path to the pins created by many balls rolled in the same general area.
TURKEY
Three strikes in a row.