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BowlingFans.com Bowling Glossary


Click on any letter to jump to bowling terms and bowling phrases beginning with that letter:
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B

Babying the ball -
The act of being too delicate or too deliberate in the release.



Baby split -
A split that a ball can convert into a spare by fitting between the pins.



Baby split with company -
A baby split which an additional pin.



Back swing -
Portion of bowler's delivery from the time the ball breaks the lateral plain of the body until the ball reaches the apex of the bowler's swing.



Backend -
The 15 ft. of lane directly preceding the headpin and where most ball hook will occur.



Backend rating-
The angle or degree of hook a ball is capable of hooking at the breakpoint.



Back pitch -
To help the thumb exit the hole sooner the thumbhole is angled backward so the tip of the thumb is extended away from the palm.



Backup ball -
Style of bowling in which the movement of the ball is from left to right for right handers and from right to left for left handers.



Back row -
The last row of pins, 7, 8, 9, and 10. May be used to describe the type of spare a bowler was leaving.



Bad rack -
A set of pins that appears to have one or more not properly spotted on the lane.



Bagger -
1) When preceded by a number it designated the number of strikes strung together.
2) Shortened version of "sandbagger." Someone who intentionally keeps their average artificially low in order to obtain a higher handicap.



Baker -
A method of scoring team play in which in all five players bowl together to make one game; player #1 bowls frames 1 and 6; player #2 bowls frames 2 and 7 etc. Most Baker matches are at least two games and winning team is determined by total pins.



Baking -
Modern resin balls soak up lane oil. Heating a ball can bleed some of this lane oil (and some of the reactive resin and other chemicals added by the ball manufacturer) out of the ball. This method is not recommended as it almost always permanently damages the ball.



Ball cups -
A concave holder for bowling balls.



Ball fitter -
A tool used to measure the bowlers hand size for length, hole size and sometimes angles.



Ball plug -
A two part epoxy used to fill holes in bowling balls.



Ball spinner -
Motorized cup and pulley system used to spin a bowling ball during sanding or polishing.



Balance -
1) The release and slide are simultaneous.
2) The bowler is able to steadily complete their follow through without leaning to one side or another.
3) The weight of a bowling ball is not always evenly distributed in the sphere. Balls can be drilled to subtly change the roll pattern of a ball. A ball that has negative balances tends to turn away from the pins; a ball with positive balance may turn into the pins.



Balance hole -
Modern bowling balls with asymmetrical cores can be drilled in such a manner as to be in violation of the maximum tolerances allowed for side to side weight; to make the ball legal, an extra, non-gripping balancehole may be drilled to remove the excess weight. A balance hole can also be used to increase or decrease a ball's reaction and/or to fine tune a more subtle change in ball reaction.



Balk -
An incomplete approach taken in which the player walks to the line but does not actually release the ball.



Ball rack -
Storage rack for bowling balls.



Ball return -
A physical part of the bowling center equipment upon which the ball sits after being sent back to you after a delivery.



Ball spinner -
A machine that is used to spin a bowling ball in a bowl and used to apply ball polish or to evenly sand a ball.



Ball track -
1)The area of the lane where most balls are thrown.
2)The area on a ball where the ball rolls; most balls have wear scratches and in this area after several games.



BB -
A ball thrown with extra speed.
Also known as "Bullet" and "Rocket."



Bed post -
Slang for the 7-10 split.



Beak -
The nose or center of the headpin.



Beer frame -
1) A pre-designated frame in which the player with the lowest pin count on the first ball buys some type of refreshment.
2) When all but one of the players in any frame get strikes; the one not striking buys the refreshments for the others.



Bevel -
Refers to the rounded edge of any hole drilled into a bowling ball.



Behind the ball -
The act of keeping your wrist firm through the shot, not imparting any side rotation by "coming around the ball".



Belly the ball -
Describes the type of shot where a players stands inside and tosses it to the outside in the hope it returns to the pocket for a strike.



Benchmark ball -
A favorite or starter ball used for reading lanes. A bowler understands the benchmark ball by virtue of its roll, dynamic characteristics, surface, and feel.



Bent elbow
The act of bending your elbow through the approach; normally not desirable.



Big ball
A type of hook that is very overpowering; also, describes a pressure situation in which a player needs a strike.



Big count
1) Refers to the number of pins after a string of strikes or a spare
2) 9 pins
3) How many pins needed to win a game, "He needs a big count to win."



Big five
A split with three pins on one side and two on the other
Also known as a "Greek Church."



Big four
The 4-6-7-10 split.



Bevel knife (Three edged knife) -
A knife with three edges used to customize hole size and bevel.



BJI -
Bowlers Journal International magazine. A premier bowling news magazine. Its business articles are an invaluable resource for bowling center and pro shop owners and managers. Skilled bowlers from around the world get useful insight into the game from the well written instructional columns and gear reviews. Subscribe to Bowlers Journal International.



Blind
Score allowed for an absent player
Also known as "dummy score."



Blocked lane
1) A lane condition that assists the ball in getting to the pocket
2) Heavy oil in the middle portion of the lane to keep the ball from hooking past the pocket
3) Increased scores
Also see "reverse block" for a negative connotation and "flat" condition.



Block -
In a tournament with multiple games, it is not unusual to bowl a limited number of games, take a break, and then bowl more games. The games you bowl in one set is called your block; i.e. a 24 game event might be rolled in four blocks of six games each.



Blow -
A missed spare; an open frame but not a split; an error so that the spare is missed.



Blow the rack -
1) A type of strike in which the ball enters the pocket light and has enough power and drive to toss the five pin violently to the side, often with messenger pins
2) Some players use the term to describe a solid pocket hit.



Blue dot -
A ball made by Columbia. It is noted for its hardness and low hook which makes it ideal as a spare ball or a ball for very dry lanes.



Boards -
Any one of 39 one inch wide individual pieces of wood pieced together to comprise the surface of the lane.



Board17 -
The pocket area of the pins.



Bocce -
A precision sport closely related to bowls and pétanque with a common ancestry from ancient games played in the Roman Empire. Developed into its present form in Italy, it is played around Europe and also in overseas countries that have received Italian migrants, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina and Brazil, initially amongst the migrants themselves but slowly becoming more popular with their descendants and the wider community.



Body english -
Movements and contortions of the body intended to steer the ball as it travels down the lane.



Boomer -
A big hooking ball or a person that throws a big hooking ball.



Bonus -
In some competitive play you get additional pins, a bonus, for winning the game or match; these pins count towards overall placement in the competition, but do not count when computing a player's average.



Bonus time-
The shots you take after getting a fill in the 10th frame.



Bottom weight -
Imbalance in which the half of the ball opposite the center of the grip weighs more than the half containing the center of the grip.



Bowl out -
The practice of allowing a team player to complete their game by bowling more than their scheduled turn at one time; allowed as a courtesy to a player that has other time commitments; league and tournament rules may prohibit the practice.



Bowlers Journal International -
A premier bowling news magazine. Its business articles are an invaluable resource for bowling center and pro shop owners and managers. Skilled bowlers from around the world get useful insight into the game from the well written instructional columns and gear reviews. Subscribe to Bowlers Journal International.



Bowling This Month -
Delivers the comprehensive information and instruction to help you bowl better. Topics include comprehensive new equipment reviews, lane play, ball motion and reaction, tips to improve mechanics, mental conditioning, physical conditioning, and an updated ball comparison chart. Subscribe to Bowling This Month.



Bowling trophy -
A non monetary prize or memento, such as a gilded statue of a bowler on a wood base, cup, or plaque, received as a symbol of victory.



Bowls -
Also known as Lawn Bowls or Lawn Bowling, is a precision sport where the goal is to roll slightly radially asymmetrical balls (called bowls) closer to a smaller white ball (the "jack" or "kitty") than one's opponent is able to do. It is related to bocce and pétanque. This game is most popular in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and in other UK territories.



BPAA -
Bowling Proprietors Association of America.



Break -
A lucky shot.
A string of strikes was stopped.



Break down -
1) A mechanical malfunction that disrupts play.
2) A player and their sudden lessening of their score.
3) The rapidly changing oil pattern on a lane.
4) A change in the lane surface requiring adjustments by the player to continue to be competitive.



Breakpoint -
Point in the trajectory of a bowling ball at which the ball makes its greatest change in direction.



Brickyard -
Derogatory term for a bowling center that is notorious for low scores. Also known as "grave yard."



Bridge -
Distance between the finger holes. A common place for ball cracks to occur.



Broke down -
1) A mechanical malfunction that disrupts play.
2) A player and their sudden lessening of their score.
3) The rapidly changing oil pattern on a lane.
4) A change in the lane surface requiring adjustments by the player to continue to be competitive.



Brooklyn -
A ball that hits on the opposite side of the player's normal pocket.
Also called a "Jersey" in some locations of the country. i.e, A Brooklyn for a right handed player would hit the 1-2 pocket.



Brunswick -
One of the big two bowling firms in the country along with AMF. They have a full line of capital equipment and playing equipment for the bowler.



Brunswick Black Beauty-
One of the most popular, old time hard rubber balls.



Brunswick Crown Jewel -
One of the first polyester balls. The original series of balls was highly popular as they were better scoring than the hard rubber balls of the day.



BTBA -
British Tenpin Bowlers Association



BTBIF -
British Tenpin Bowlers Instructors Federation



BTM -
Bowling This Month magazine. Delivers the comprehensive information and instruction to help you bowl better. Topics include comprehensive new equipment reviews, lane play, ball motion and reaction, tips to improve mechanics, mental conditioning, physical conditioning, and an updated ball comparison chart. Subscribe to Bowling This Month.



Bucket -
The 2-4-5-8 for right handers, the 3-5-6-9 for a lefty.



Bucket with a man in motion -
The 2-4-5-7-8 for rightys and the 2-5-6-8-10 for leftys.



Bullet -
A ball thrown with extra speed.
Also known as "BB" and "Rocket."



Bumper bowling -
1) To help children keep the ball in play and on the lane, manufacturers have developed a system of either placing an inflated bumper into the gutters, or a mechanical bouncy wall that prevents a ball from entering the gutter. The thrown ball hits the inflated bumper or wall and bounces back into the playing surface.
2) A derogatory term used to describe a lane condition that is very easy.
Also known as "adult bumper bowling."



Bumped the oil line -
A player has thrown what they think is a pretty decent shot on a crowned condition; the ball begins to hook back and then hits the area of more oil and does not finish strongly; it is said to have "bumped the oil line".
Also known as "rode the oil line".



Buried -
A ball that is apparently solid in the pocket.



Bury -
A ball that is apparently solid in the pocket.



Buzzard -
Three splits in a row.
The symbol for a split is a circle.


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