Like our FB page

Like our website
Tweet @bowlingball
Follow @bowlingball
Use and distribution of this article is subject to our terms and conditions
whereby's information and copyright must be included.

Common Bowling Splits, Originally Posted: 4/10/2012; Updated: 11/18/2023

Common bowling splits
usually lead to open frames but learning a bit about them might help you improve the frequency you convert them into spares.

Common bowling splits are certainly a part of the game we never enjoy but one which can be addressed if we learn a little about these splits and which ones we try hard to convert.

The goal of all bowlers is to deliver your ball into the pocket and to get a strike. If we do not strike then we want to pick up the spare. Since no one strikes every delivery, the likelihood that a split combination of pins remaining standing is a stark reality. An examination of a a few pin combinations known as bowling splits is useful.

First, anytime the head pin remains standing, the spare combination is referred to as a "washout." Normally, an adjustment for the "washout" from your strike line will be between 5-7 boards to the right using the same target on the lane for your strike delivery if you are a right handed bowler and if you bowl on most house lane conditions. Of course, all spare adjustments should be based on your own given spare shooting strategies.

More frequently by far is the 3-10 split left predominantly by right handed bowlers. Left handed bowlers leave the 2-7 split. Both splits are left because the bowling ball contacted the head pin and "chopped" off the 2 pin or 3 pin and thereby left the 7 or 10 pin as accompanying pins. These very common split combinations are known as "baby splits." The "baby" split can be converted by contacting both pins with the bowling ball or by knocking the front pin in a caroming fashion into the back pin.

By hitting the head pin at a sharp angle but very light as to leave the 2 pin (right handed bowlers), there exists a good possibility the 10 pin may also be left standing, possibly with the 8 pin as well. These 2-10 splits or 2-8-10 splits are frequent leaves in modern day bowling by virtue of the hook potential ratings many new bowling balls possess. The 2-10 split may be converted only by sliding the front pin into the corner pin in the back row. Most experienced bowlers will align themselves as if they were trying to pick up the 4 pin in order to clip the 2 pin slightly and deflect it into the 10 pin across the pin deck. The opposite is true for left handed players and the 3-7 split.

In the third row of pins exists the 4-5 pin split and the 5-6 pin split for right handed bowlers and left handed bowlers respectively. 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 on most house lane oiling conditions. You should experiment to calculate just the right amount of lateral adjustment with your feet works best for you when trying to convert the 4-5 split. The adjustment is close to the same adjustment you might make when trying to convert the 2-4-5 pin spare combination. The opposite holds true for left handed bowlers trying to pick up the 5-6 split.

Generally, the more oil in the center of the lane, the greater the number of boards are needed to adjust laterally to give yourself the best chances at converting either split if you use your strike target as your spare target. The less amount of oil in the middle of the lane, as is the case on very dry lanes, requires a fewer number of boards as an adjustment laterally to give you the best chance at converting either spare.

In the back row of pins are the same type of common split leaves known as the 7-8 split and the 9-10 split combination. For the 7-8 pin split, adjust your feet laterally as if trying to convert the 4 pin spare but perhaps adjust slightly more toward the 7 pin for best results. Use an opposite lateral adjustment if you leave the 9-10 split and try to pick up the 6 pin with a slight adjustment further toward the 10 pin.

Lateral adjustments should be based upon your given spare adjustment system.

The 5-7 split requires an adjustment on the approach to slide the 5 pin into the 7 pin because the ball cannot deflect off of the 5 pin into the 7 pin. The same holds true for the 5-10 split commonly left standing by left handed bowlers. Usually the bowlers will move perhaps two additional boards on the approach laterally than a normal adjustment when trying to convert the 5 pin spare when left standing alone. Both splits require precision to convert into spares.

The 4-9 pin split and the 6-8 split require the same strategy as does the 5-7 or 5-10 splits in that the adjustment is perhaps a little more then a routine adjustment for either the 7 pin solo spare or the 10 pin solo spare, both based on your own given spare shooting system.

To convert the 4-10 split, the same alignment plus perhaps 1 or 2 additional boards adjustment from the 4-9 split adjustment is the strategy. To convert the 6-7 split, use your 10 pin solo spare alignment with perhaps an additional 1 or 2 boards adjustment on the approach with your feet is the strategy. Since a greater angle to slide the 4 pin or 6 pin over the the 7 and 10 pins respectively is required for these splits, the chances of converting these splits is reduced considerably compared to the 49 and 6-8 splits.

To convert the 7-10, the 4-6, the 8-10, or the 7-9 splits 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. In some instances, the bowling ball will double hit one of the pins you are targeting and the pin will carom out of the pit and back onto the pin deck and knock over the other pin for a spare. These spare combination splits are rare to convert and are more generally recognized as a likely open frame. The strategy is to get one pin and move on to the next frame.

One certain strategy for any pin combination of any split you might leave is to make sure to knock down something and not deliver the ball and miss all the pins entirely. Hit something - no air balls please!!

Splits are very difficult spares. There are many alignment systems for shooting spares. Lateral adjustments should be based upon your given spare adjustment system. All spare systems require a good deal of practice to master. Shooting at common splits should be based off of your chosen spare shooting system. Develop reliable systems of strike alignment and spare shooting before worrying about shooting splits.

Controlling your ball speed is one important key to converting splits. By rule of thumb, the best spare shooters are also the best split shooters. Your challenge is to become a good spare shooter and learn to make good strike line adjustments. recommends you consult certified coach or a bowling professional for more information on alignment for these tricky splits. While you are visiting our site today, please check out the vast menu of bowling consumer products we offer at great prices, with no shipping charges, with free insurance, and with no hidden handling charges. has become the No. 1 “e-tailer” of choice for bowling equipment by the consumers of America. Ordering is an easy process by following simple online instructions. Thanks for visiting.

Click here to shop smart deals Need Help? Click here to access our contact information. Click here to shop 3G Tour X Shoes!
WeeklyContestText Click here to shop all Pyramid bowling balls