Bowling Terms

A list of commonly used bowling terms.

Angle of Entry - Angle, measure parallel to the boards, at which the bowling ball hits the pocket after completing its path down the lane.

Approach - The area at least 15' long, on which the player walks to the foul line. Usually adjacent to the ball returns and has spots embedded in the approach to aid in lining up.

Arc - The ball path from the foul line to headpin that does not have a sharp, defined break point.

Arm swing - The arc of the bowling arm and hand from the first move toward the line until the delivery of the ball over the line.

Arrows - Aiming points embedded in the lane. These seven arrows (usually red or black, but may be other colors) are used for targeting. (darts)

Backend - The 15 ft. of lane directly preceding the headpin.

Backswing - The path of the arm behind the body during the next to last step in the delivery.

Ball Rack - 1) Where the ball rests before it is rolled and after it returns from the pit; 2) the structure used to store house balls.

Ball Return - Track between the lanes the ball travels on when being returned to the bowler.

Board - An individual piece of the lane (total of 40 or sometimes 41) which run its length and are numbered from 1 on the right for right-handers and from 1 on the left for left-handers.

Bowling Shoes - Special shoes for bowlers have a sticky, rubbery sole on the non-sliding foot to act as a brake and a slicker, harder sole on the other foot to allow sliding on the last step.

Conversion - "Making" a spare; i.e., knocking down all the pins that remain with a second ball. Usually used only when remarking on the conversion of splits.

Cranker - Bowler who uses cranking motion (lift and turn) at the top of the backswing to generate high speed and considerable hooking action.

Curve - Ball that breaks from right to left (for right-handers) in a huge arc (and vice-versa for lefties).

Dead Wood - Pins knocked down but remaining on the lane or in the gutter; must be removed before continuing play.

Deflection - The movement of the ball when it comes into contact with the pins and angles away to one side or the other.

Delivery - Preparation + Release + Follow-through.

Dots - Dots on the approach are used to set the bowler's feet at the start of the approach. Dots on the lane can be used to put the ball down on/toward or to swing thorough a visualized line between the dots and the arrows.

Dry Lanes - Lanes with very little oil applied to them.

Double - Two strikes in a row; scores twenty plus the number of pins knocked down on the next ball.