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How To Pick Up Bowling Splits

Learning how to pick up bowling splits is a small part of the game but one which can make a difference in improving your scores. The goal of all bowlers is to deliver your ball into the pocket and to get a strike or if a pin or pin combination known as a "spare" is left standing, then the goal becomes to convert the spare. Since no one strikes every delivery the likelihood that a split combination of pins will remain standing does exist and is a reality of the game. How to pick up bowling splits can be accomplished by understanding more about pin combination leaves known as "splits" and how to give yourself the best chances in converting the split (a split is also a spare, of course).

In the second row of pins, the 2-3 pin combination is extremely rare but is possible to leave standing. The 2-3 pin leave is known as a split and can be converted by rolling the bowling ball into the exact middle of the two pins as to contact both pins with your bowling ball at virtually the same time. Normally, an adjustment from your strike line will be between 3-5 boards to the right using the same target on the lane for your strike delivery if you are a right handed bowler, which is a commonly used system, but not the only method to convert the 2-3 split. Of course, the 2-3 split is very, very uncommon but the strategy for adjusting is an important key in converting similar splits.

It is important to note that by using the same strike line target and adjusting your feet laterally to the right for this spare since the head pin is located on the 20 board and the pocket on 17.5 board, then about 3 boards to the right is the most likely adjustment. In cases with extreme amounts of lane oil in the center of the lane which causes excessive ball skid, however, an adjustment of 4 or perhaps 5 boards might be needed while still using the same strike line target so you will get the same ball motion toward the split as you do toward the pocket on your first ball delivery. This same adjustment actually works well for the "bucket" spare, the 2-4-5 or the 2-4-5-8 pin combination spares.

By the way, for the sake of simplicity, all references to adjustments for splits in this article will address the right handed bowler. The opposite adjustment will hold true for the left handed bowler.

In the third row of pins exists the 4-5 pin split and the 5-6 pin split. Normally, the 4-5 pin split will occur for a right handed bowler while the 5-6 pin split is a left handed bowler combination. Moving to the right for the 4-5 pin split from 7-10 boards on the approach with your feet and using the same strike line target on the lane is a continuation of a commonly used system for converting the 4-5 pin split. The more oil in the center of the lane, the greater the number of boards are needed to adjust to give yourself the best chances at converting this split. The less amount of oil in the middle of the lane as is the case on very dry lanes, then adjusting a fewer number of boards to the right from your strike alignment positioning will give you the best chance at converting this spare.

In the back row of pins are the same type of split leaves known as the 7-8 pin combination, the 8-9 pin combination (almost never will you leave the 2-3 pin nor the 8-9 pin combination), and the 9-10 pin combination. For the 7-8 pin split, adjust your feet to the right from your strike alignment 11-14 boards and use your same strike line target on the lane so you get the same dependable reaction when the ball travels down the lane toward the 7-8 pin split as you do for a strike delivery.

For the 9-10 pin split, use your 6 pin adjustment from your spare system strategy (perhaps the 3rd or 4th arrows on the lane) and perhaps even use a spare ball which does not hook as much as your strike ball because the back end of the lane is very dry and it is dangerous to try and hook your ball excessively when rolling for right side of the lane spares and splits. Usually, shooting for the 9-10 pin splits requires moving left and delivering your ball across the lane passing through on or about the 20 board or center arrow on it way down to the 9-10 pin split.

Another most frequent split combination is the "baby split" or the 3-10 pin combination. The strategy is to contact the 3 pin on the extreme right side of the pin with your ball so the ball deflects into the 10 pin and you convert the split. Using approximately the same adjustment for the 9-10 pin split can work for the 3-10 pin split because in both cases your ball needs to pass across the 6 pin spot on the pin deck in order to contact both pins and convert the split. An adjustment to the left with your feet across the approach as you would roll for a six pin spare or perhaps a 6-10 pin spare is fairly close to the needed adjustment with, perhaps, 2 boards less adjustment to the left on the approach. Use the same target on the lane as called for in your spare system for the 6 pin or the 6-10 pin spare combination.

The 5-7 split requires an adjustment to the left on the approach and since you need to have the ball contact the 5 pin barely on the far right portion of the pin as to slide the pin into the 7 pin, your adjustment to the left on the approach should be 3-5 boards and continue to use your strike line target on the lane. Moving left on the approach will cause the oil in the middle of the lane to skid your ball far enough to still contact the 5 pin but not squarely as is the case on a strike line delivery.

The 4-9 pin split requires an approximate adjustment as for converting the 7 pin spare as to contact the 4 pin on its far left side of the pin to slide the pin into the 9 pin. Moving your feet anywhere from 11-14 boards to the right on the approach and using the same strike line delivery will give you a good chance to convert this split.

To convert the 4-10 split, the same alignment plus perhaps 1 or 2 additional boards adjustment from the 4-9 split adjustment to the right on the approach and using the same strike line on the lane is the strategy. To convert the 6-7 split, use your 10 pin alignment with perhaps an additional 1 or 2 boards adjustment to the left on the approach with your feet and use your 10 pin target on the lane from your spare shooting strategy so you have some chance of barely contacting the 6 pin with the ball and sliding it over to the 7 pin. Since a greater angle to slide the 4 pin or 6 pin over the the 7 and 10 pins respectively for these splits is required in comparison to converting the 4-9 or 6-8 splits, the chances of converting these larger apart pin location splits is reduced considerably.

To convert the 7-10 split, the 4-6 split, the 8-10 split, or the 7-9 split requires an extremely fortunate ball positioning when contacting either pin in the split combination as to barely topple the pin over, bounce the pin on the deck until it walks itself over to knock down the other pin. These spare combination splits are rare to convert and are more generally picked up by contact on one of the key pins in the split combination and getting a lucky bounce out of the pit and back onto the lane to contact the remaining pin or pins.

One certain strategy for every pin combination on any split you might leave after delivering your strike ball is to make sure to knock down something and not deliver the ball to miss contact at least one pin. Hit something - no air balls please!!

The "washout" leave is generally not referred to as a split but requires similar strategies to convert. To convert the 1-2-10 pin "washout" leave requires adjusting about 5 or 6 boards to the right on the approach (remember, right handed bowlers) and using the same strike line target on the lane as to deflect the head pin across and to the right and contact the 10 pin. The washout is converted fairly regularly compared to many split combination of pins.

Splits are very difficult spares. There are systems using a spare ball and using the same target near the center of the lane which we might see Pro Bowlers using on TV, as example, but require a good deal of practice and do not utilize the oil ratios applied to the lanes by the lane machines as commonly found in most house-conditions at local bowling centers. Unless you are well practiced at systems to convert splits which do not involve use of your strike target line and ten pin or 7 pin spare lines, then we suggest using the strike line delivery system the examples given in this article refer to and encourage.

Develop a system of strike alignment and one for spare alignment before a system for for splits. Using your eyes, your imagination, and controlling your ball speed are keys to converting splits. Generally speaking the best spare shooters are also the best split shooters. So - become a good spare shooter and learn to make good strike line adjustments. Also and importantly, you must walk your lines when delivering your bowling ball toward any off-center pin combination. It is shocking how many bowlers drift off-line when walking to the foul line thereby reducing the impact and effectiveness of making good adjustments for spares or for splits. Practice walking your lines from any location on the approach!

The process of alignment and converting spares and splits is very geometric and matches nicely with use of the bowling arrows, the break point, and ultimately, the pocket. recommends you consult certified coach or a bowling professional for more information on alignment for these tricky splits. Feel free to browse our "BowlVersity" located at the top of our home page to find more articles to review about our great game of bowling. We hope these tips help.

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