What is a Split in Bowling and Types of Split

Hunter Lambrick
If you are a professional bowler or a beginner, you may come across the word 'split' used in the world of Bowling. Of the shots made by bowler players, 60 percent are strikes which is very impressive, but what about the remaining shots that didn’t knock down the pins? Well, you need to understand that as much as you want all the pins to go down, 1000 different ways can cause the pins to be standing. Therefore, the challenging part is converting the shots of the standing pins into spares.

Like other games, Bowling is not an exception and you won't receive challenges. Unfortunately, every Bowler has experienced problems that make them get a Split in Bowling, including even professional bowlers that encounter Split in Bowling. But why do bowlers get a Split in the first place? Numerous factors can make you as a player get split, such as using incorrect angle or speed when hitting the pins with the ball, being inexperienced with the game, or using the wrong bowling equipment for your type of body and many other factors.

To have the best shots, you need some practice to make you reduce to hitting many splits per game. It some times frustrating when experiencing many Splits in your game, but that should not discourage you since, with more practice, you will get to improve. We do have different types of Splits in Bowling that you should know, and we will see which are the toughest and easiest splits we will describe more of these in this article. We will also tell you what Split in Bowling means and the reason behind this split.

Table Of Contents

What is a Split?

A split in Bowling is a situation that affects the arrangement of the ten original pins when a player throws a bowling ball for the first throw, where it knocks down some of the pins and leaves more pins that are not adjacent to each other or leaving two or more groups of one. At this moment, you have the chance of the second throw, which is normally a hard throw since you need to have a well-calculated strategy to knock down the remaining pins. The most common split you can encounter is the 7-10 split.

Having a split is one of the most annoying things every Bowler can experience, as it's the reason that can cause your spare harder to achieve. Therefore the remaining upright pins are not close enough to each other, making your probability of knocking down the pins with one shot lower.

Another thing to note about the pins in Bowling is how they are arranged. The pins are arranged in a triangular shape, having four rows. Let's check out the numbering system of the ten pins:

What are the reasons behind the occurrence of Split Balls in Bowling

Whether you are a pro-level brawler or a beginner having a split is something you should expect, and it is the most disadvantageous thing you can face in the game. Getting splits in the game can affect your mindset and scores, ruining your game. So what reasons make you have a split? Here are a few reasons that are common for the split.

Types of split

In bowling, we have several types of split that are common, and as a bowler, you need to be able to know them and include the following:

How do you knock down a Split?

Ideally, many bowlers would like to knock down all ten pins with the first shot, but sometimes you will get one or more pins left standing and require a second shot to achieve a spare. When it comes to converting splits in Bowling, it all depends on the specific configuration of the pins. Different splits, like the Cocked Hat or Baby Split, require different strategies. For example, the Cocked Hat can be a 2-7-10 or a 3-7-10 split, while the Baby Split can be a 3-10 or a 2-7 split, and then there's the challenging Snake Eyes, which is the 7-10 split.

To successfully pick up a split, you need to consider the placement of your spare ball and use different spin techniques to get the right angle for hitting the initial pin. The idea is to knock down the first pin or pins in a way that allows them to track toward the remaining pins you need to knock down. The angle at which your ball hits the first set of pins determines whether you can convert the split. It's all about finding the right angle and accuracy to knock down the pins to maximize your chances of getting the remaining ones.

Easiest Splits to Pick Up in Bowling.

The easiest splits in Bowling are the " Baby Split" and " Double Wood."The reason for them to be easy is because the pins are aligned close to each other. When they are close, there is a chance for the front pin to knock down the other remaining pin at the back. For instance, to pick up the 3-10 split, you must hit the three-pin straight using a slight angle towards the left. For the 2-7 split, you must hit the two pins straight and apply a slight angle towards the right.

Complex Splits to Knock Down in Bowling.

Initially, 7-10 splits, also known as a Snowflake or Bed Posts, was among the hardest slip to pick up, and most brawlers can agree on this, but currently, that is not the case. It now emerges that The Greek Church is one of the more complex splits compared to the 7-10 Split. Its complexity has been tricky, and only 0.2 percent of the pick-up from the Bowler can be achieved.

How to Avoid Splits in Bowling.

Splitting in Bowling can be avoided, and the best tip to ensure you don't Split is by doing a lot of practice. We all know the more practice you take, the more you get to improve to know how to throw your ball properly in Bowling to achieve the best results.

To avoid splitting, you can also try as much to avoid Bowling straight toward the headpin. As a bowler, you should focus on getting a curve in your throw to have a higher probability of hitting more pins.

Another tip you can do is to find the correct throwing position for you during Bowling, and to achieve this; you need to practice Bowling and find your best angle, technique, and foot placement. As people are different, a strategy that works for another person may not work for you, so do your strategy, and this is through practice, you will achieve yours.

The correct Bowling ball is another tip for any bowler to consider during Bowling. If you have the correct ball that fits your body weight, then that will be the best way to avoid making splitting. For instance, if you choose a ball that is too light, you will use a lot of force, hitting a few pins; for a heavy ball, it will make you uncomfortable, making you Split. To be well assured with the type of ball you will use during Bowling, it is recommended to use a ball that is 10% of your body weight.

Another tip for using the ball is to choose a ball with enough space for finger holes that will fit well with your fingers.

Do you get more points for a Split in Bowling?

No, you don't. Having a Split in Bowling will not add you points but reduce your points. Getting extra points in Bowling is only in one way: through a strike or a spare. It is so unfortunate that the splits you get it is harder for the player to get a spare after the first shot of the ball. Therefore, as the pins are further apart, it will be harder for you to knock down both of them and end up getting fewer points.

Can Splits have only one pin left standing?

No! It is impossible to have a Split with only one pin remaining on the lane and call it a Split. A split in Bowling requires at least two pins to be left standing, with a minimum of one pin's width of space between them.


In Bowling, splitting is one of the discouraging things for any bowler, but you know what? Having a split is a normal part of the game, where even the pro bowlers who avoid getting splits always find themselves getting the Split occasionally. As we have seen the reasons causing Splits, we should try our best to avoid getting Splits using the tips given, and you will have a chance of getting high scores in your game.

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