, The site for the fans, by the fans.... Bowling Glossary

Click on any letter to jump to bowling terms and bowling phrases beginning with that letter:
A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K    L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z


Safe zone -
The area on the ball from one inch inside the midplane to a line from the bowlers PAP to the Ring finger and from the PAP to the equator, in which the Pin of a ball can be placed safely without the track and holes interfering with one another.

Sanction fee -
A fee paid to a governing body as a requirement to have the scores count towards official averages and to be eligible for honor score recognition.

Sandbagger -
1) A player that keeps their average artificially low in order to obtain a higher handicap in tournaments.
2) A cheater.

Sanding -
1) The process of applying an abrasive to alter the surface of the ball so it will grab the lanes sooner and hook both earlier and more. To be legal, the entire surface of the ball must be sanded in the same manner.
2) The process of resurfacing wood lanes, typically done during the off season, once every few years.

Sand paper -
120,180,220,320,400,600,100,1500- Paper used to sand bowling balls to desired texture.

Scenic route -
The path an excessively hooking ball takes to the pocket.

Scoreability -
The scoring potential of a particular lane and condition. It can be used to describe how a lane has been optimized to increase the scores.

Scotch doubles -
A system of doubles play where the two bowlers on each team play alternate shots throughout the game. The only time one of the pair ever completes a frame on his/her own is when scoring a strike.

Scratch -
Bowling without the benefit of handicap.

Second arrow -
1) Either the actual second arrow from the gutter (the tenth board).
2) The description of the line a player is throwing.

Semi finger tip -
A grip in which the player's fingers are inserted into the ball approximately half way between the first and second joints.

Semi roller -
A ball that tracks outside of the thumb and finger holes.

Semi spinner -
A semi-roller that tracks lower that normal causing the ball to spin quicker.

Semi tip -
A grip in which the bowler places his or her fingers in the ball between the first and second joint while placing the entire thumb in the ball.

Series -
Set of games bowled in a league or tournament; typically three games.

Set -
1) The series of games that makes your block or league session
2) The act of a ball holding pocket.

Settee -
The area behind the approach and between the concourse.

Seven Up - (7 Up) -
7 strikes in a row.

Shell -
The outer portion of a bowling ball surrounding the core.

Shiny -
A ball that looks glossy. In general, shiny balls have fewer open/exposed pours.

Short oil -
Also known as "limited distance dressing". A condition in which oil is applied to the front 24 feet or less of the lane, with the remainder dry.

Short rack -
A pinsetter malfunction that causes fewer than the full ten pins to be set.

Side roll -
The hand starts behind the ball and then rotates to the side after the thumb comes out, creating a roll that is more sideways and which hooks more.

Sidewalls -
1) The kickbacks
2) Vertical division boards between the sides of the lanes at the pit end.

Six pack -
Six strikes in a row.

Sixth arrow -
1) For a right handed player, the second arrow on the lanes starting from the left side
2) A deep inside target line.

Skating -
A ball that skids down the lane too far before hooking.

Skid -
Refers to the portion of the bowling ball's path in which the velocity of the contact point on the ball is greater than zero and the ball is therefore actually not rolling but is instead sliding down the lane.

Skid flip -
If a player has a lot of side roll or if the lanes are very slick up front and dry in the back part of the lane the ball slides a long way down the lane and then breaks loose hooking very, very sharply in the back part of the lane.

Skittles -
An old European target sport, from which Ten-pin bowling and Candlepin bowling in the United States, and Five-pin bowling in Canada are descended. In the United Kingdom the game remains a very popular pub sport in England and Wales, though it tends to be found in particular regions, not nation-wide.

Sleeper -
A pin hidden behind another pin.

Slick -
An oily lane condition.

Slot -
A very easy lane condition.

Slow lanes -
1) A lane that is very oily and doesn't allow much hook.
2) A lane that hooks a lot.

Slug -
A plastic or urethane cylinder used because of its smooth consistent surface that is inserted and glued into a drilled hole in the ball. It is then drilled where your normal thumb hole would be.

Small ball -
An ineffective ball that must hit perfectly to strike as the pocket area for them is very small.

Snake eyes -
The 7-10 split.

Snap -
A ball path that does have a sharp, defined breakpoint. However, when referring to the actual break point, the term snap is often used as a quantifying term.

System of Bowling: Concerning balls, pins, lanes and dressing distribution.

Snow plow -
Normally a ball that hits high and plows threw the pins for a strike.

Span -
Distance from edge of thumb hole nearest to center to edge of finger holes nearest to center.

Span gauge -
A tool used to measure the actual distance between two holes drilled into a bowling ball.

Spare -
Knocking down all remaining pins in the second ball or delivery.

Spare ball -
A ball used to convert spares. Typically a low hooking polyester ball that the player can throw straight at the pin.

Spindle sanders (bevel sander) -
A motorized shaft and cutting tool, used to sand holes.

Splash -
The characteristic manner in which pins fall down when struck by the ball, or the time when pins are in motion.

Splice -
Where the pine meets the maple down lane.

Split -
Various combination of pins standing after a first throw where one or more pins has been knocked down creating a space between standing pins and thus a harder spare to make. (4-5, 5-6, 4-7, 6-10, 7-10, 4-6-7-10, etc.)

Spinner -
A semi-roller that tracks very low on the ball, so low that in some cases you can see the thumb hole appear to be stationary as the ball revolves on the lane to the pins.

Spin shot -
A semi-roller that tracks very low on the ball, so low that in some cases you can see the thumb hole appear to be stationary as the ball revolves on the lane to the pins.

Soaker -
In the 1970's, Don McCune, a PBA player, discovered that if you soaked a ball with a solvent (Methyl Ethyl Ketone) it made the surface of hard polyester balls softer, resulting in more hook and higher scores. He won several events that year; the PBA and ABC ultimately banned this practice and initiated a standard for the hardness of a ball.

Soft -
1) A ball that hits the pins without power.
2) The act of intentionally throwing a shot to cut down on the power
3) A word to describe a very easy lane condition.

Soft 10 pin -
A ten pin that is left on a weak pocket hit.

Solid -
1) A ball surface that is one color, no pearl effect.
2) The act of hitting the pocket with authority.

Solid pin -
A pin that is left standing on what appeared to be a good shot.

Sour apple -
The 5-7-10 split.

Sport bowling -
Consists of leagues and tournament that are conducted on challenging lane conditions. The program, in its most basic form, is an opportunity for all bowlers to determine their true skills in such areas as accuracy, consistency, the ability to read lanes, and spare shooting skills to have success rather than rely on today's high-tech equipment or forgiving lane patterns to achieve high honor awards.

Spot bowling -
A method of aiming the ball in which the arrows and dots or a specific spot on the lane is used as the target rather than looking at the pins.

Squirt -
Refers to the action of a bowling ball as it hydroplanes past its breakpoint.

Stability -
A defined rolling action of a bowling ball as it travels down the lane. On oily conditions, a stable ball rolls better than an unstable ball which ultimately skids too far. On dryer conditions, an unstable ball rolls better than a stable ball which rolls too quickly.

Static weights -
Measurements of forces at work in systems that are at rest. Side, finger and top.

Steal -
To get more pinfall that seems deserved.

Stepladder -
1) Three consecutive games in a series that increase by one pin each game.
2) A type of competition that ends an event whereby the lowest seeded player among those remaining plays against the next higher seed, with the winner advancing to face the next higher seed; this continues until the championship is decided against the number one seeded player or team.
3) A portable device with steps, a hinged supporting frame, usually topped with a small platform, and is never put away by Sheldon.

Stiff -
An oily lane.

Stone pin -
The leaving of the named pin in an apparent solid flush hit.

Straight player -
A person that relies on accuracy at the expense of power.

Stretched fingertip -
A fingertip grip which puts excessive force on the joints and muscles of the hand. A greater than 90 total joint angles into the hole.

Strike -
Knocking down all ten pins with the first ball or delivery.

Strike out -
Finishing the game with all strikes.

String -
1) A number of successive strikes.
2) A single game of bowling.

Strip the lanes -
The cleaning and removal of back end oil that has been carried down after the normal lane condition has been applied and many games bowled on the lanes. A stripped lane surface is dry and prone to hook; this should be done along with the conditioning process after each league to keep a consistent lane condition.

Stroke -
The act of releasing the ball in a fluid unforced motion.

Stroker -
Someone who has smooth swing and delivery without sudden acceleration.

Suitcase grip -
Reduce the hook of the ball by holding the ball as you would the handle of a suitcase.

Surface -
Refers to the texture, both shine and hardness, of a bowling ball.

System of Bowling (SOB) -
Concerning balls, pins, lanes and dressing distribution.

Sweeper -
1) Big hook.
2) A type of tournament.

Swing area -
The amount of error a player has when making a shot.

Swing shot -
The throwing of the ball from an inside position on the lane towards the gutter.

Swish -
To hit high enough in the pocket so that the five pin slides off to the opposite side in a "swishing" action.

         -Back to the Top

If you would like to suggest a term and a definition please submit it to: Content Suggestions

We're here to help!

At you can get FREE advice from bowling coaches and league bowlers who thrive on helping other bowlers!
Post questions about your game, your technique or find how to overcome difficult lane conditions. You can even post videos of yourself bowling for critique and constructive criticism. Recent Posts
Bowling for Peanuts
by BOSStull - 09/29/22 12:49 PM
Storm/Roto Grip MatchMaker Live
by BOSStull - 09/29/22 12:33 PM
Glue for repairing bowling shoes
by LindaDelcamp - 09/21/22 02:48 PM
The price of new bowling balls
by BOSStull - 09/10/22 07:26 AM

About | Contact Us | Advertise With Us | Site Map
Use of this website constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. | Material Connection Disclosure

Copyright © 1998 - 2022 - usrbingeek LLC | Copyright Policy, BowlingFans, The Right Approach, Kegler's Connection, Tour411, BallBeat,,, and Bowling News You Can Use are trademarks of usrbingeek LLC. All other trademarks and tradenames are property of their respective owners.