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Bowling Tips - The ABC's Of Bowling Lingo
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Bowling Tips - The ABC\'s of Bowling Lingo

Knowing proper bowling terms may not help your average, but it will at least make you sound like you know what you are talking about. I don't know where all of these terms originated from. Some are self explanatory some may make you sit back and go, hmmm. Never the less, from A to Z, here are some of my favorite bowling terms.

A is for anchor which is the last bowler on the team to bowl and A is for address which is the bowler's starting position.

B is for back ends which is the last 6 feet of the lane and Brooklyn which when you shoot a strike from the opposite side pocket. Right-handed bowlers would strike from the left side of the headpin and left-handed bowlers would strike from the right of the headpin. A buzzard is three open frames in a row. Of course, don't forget B for beer frame. A beer frame is when every player on the team (usually a 5 person team) strikes but one person. That person would have to buy a round of drinks.

C is for crawler which is a strike made by missing the head pin. My goal is always to get a strong pocket strike. You may get teased for a "crawler" but my philosophy is a strike scores the same on the scoreboard, no matter how pretty or ugly it is. D is for double wood which is when there is one pin directly behind the other. D is also for Dutch 200 which is made by making alternating strikes and spares in every lane. A deadwood is when a pin is knocked into the gutter. The pin must be removed before game play can continue.

E has been eliminated from my list because I could not think of a bowling term that started with E. If you can come up with a good one, please leave a comment. F is for fence posts which is the 7-10 split. G is for grandma's teeth which is when you leave an array of pins left standing. They are usually not in a particular order or row.

H is head pin, handicap and house ball. The head pin is the #1 or front center pin. Handicap is pins added to scores to even out the playing field so all levels can fairly compete against each other. A house ball is a bowling ball provided by the bowling center. I is for inside. This is a starting point near the center of the lane. Often you will hear "I am playing an "inside" shot. or "That ball was "inside" my mark" J is for jam or force the ball inside the pocket. A Jersey shot is another term for "Brooklyn", when the ball hits the opposite side of the pocket. K is for kegler which is another word for bowler. L is for looper. This is an extra wide hook ball.

M is for messenger, moat and mixer. A messenger is when a pin comes across the lanes when all the others have fallen down. A moat is another name for the gutter and a mixer is a ball thrown that causes pins to bounce around. N is a nose hit which is when you hit the pin head on. For instance, when you are throwing a strike ball you ideally want to hit the 1-3 pocket if you are a right hander, but if you hit the 1 pin straight on, this would be a nose hit. O is an out of bounds shot, which is the spot on the lane where a ball will not come back if you throw a hook ball. It will vary from lane to lane and oil pattern to oil pattern. Open bowling is noncompetitive bowling during non league times. P is for poison ivy, par and puddle. Poison Ivy is the 3-6-10 split. The settee area or the area where bowlers sit is also called the pit area sometimes. Par in bowling is 200. A puddle is another name for the gutter. Q is for quick eight. A quick eight is a good pocket hit which leaves the 4-7 for a right handed bowler and 6-10 for a a left handed bowler. R is for rap and revolutions. Rap is when a single pin remains standing on a good hit. Revolutions is the number of times a ball turns going down the lanes.

There are a lot of S words in bowling, but I will focus on six pack and sand bagger. A six pack is good. This is six strikes in a row. A sand bagger is not good. This is when a bowler purposely keeps his average down in order to receive higher handicap.

T is for tickler and turkey. A tickler is when the six pin gently knocks down the 10 pin. A turkey is three strikes in a row. U is for USBC which is the sanctioning body of bowling in the United States. They regulate the rules in organized play. V is for venting which is a small hole drilled into the bowling ball to relieve the suction in the thumb hole. W is for washout, the name given to the 1-3-10 split or the 1-2-4-10 split. X is the symbol for a strike Y is for Yank shot, which is when a bowler hangs on to the ball too long at the release. and finally Z is for zero in, which is when you find the right strike spot on the lane.

The next time you go bowling, just remember, a turkey is good and always avoid the puddles! Your friends may or may not know what you are talking about but the best bowling tip I can give you on this topic is always act like you know what you are talking about! Some bowling lingo varies from region to region or generation to generation, but other terms are quite standard. Hang around a bowling alley long enough and you will hear some of the above expressions and many more.


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