The Complete Guide to Picking Up Splits in Bowling

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Of course, even professionals can’t expect this to happen 100 percent of the time, so make sure you keep an eye out for spares. However, you will occasionally encounter the most complicated of scenarios, which will make things incredibly difficult: the break. This article will go through various splits in depth and show you how to convert them more effectively.

What Is a Bowling Split, and What Are They?

A split is a form of spare in which two or more pins are left but there is at least one pin gap between them.

Splits may differ greatly, as this broad description suggests. Some, such as the 2-7 split, have just two pins and not much space between them, making them far more complicated than others, such as the dreaded 7-10 split.

The reasons for a split differ depending on which pin configuration you’re leaving, but the common thread is that you didn’t reach the pocket properly for full pin carry. It has to do with the angle at which your bowling ball enters the bag, as well as the height at which you hit the head pin and/or the pin carry that follows.

A split can happen if you don’t have enough hook when the ball hits the pocket, or if you hit the pocket too shallow. The same is true if you throw a straighter ball that lands directly on the head pin.

Different splits arise from different conditions, so let’s look at some basic pin combinations to learn more for best bowling ball for hook beginners.

Splits That Are Difficult, Common, and Rare, and How to Find Them

There are some common strategies you can use to “pick up” or convert your splits, as well as others that are unique to a particular split.

To be an expert at picking up splits, you must first be an excellent spare shooter. This is because the changes you must make for spares (your starting point, goal arrow, preventing drift, and so on) are also essential for reaching your splits. (And this is made even more difficult by the fact that you must strike the pin with even more precision in order for it to knock down the other pin(s) in the split.)

Let’s take a closer look at a few popular and uncommon splits.

The 4-5 (5-6) division

Right-handed bowlers appear to leave the 4-5 pins, while left-handed bowlers leave the 5-6. To learn it, move around 8-10 boards right (for the 4-5) or left (for the 5-6) while maintaining your strike goal line. Of course, the amount of oil on the lane will influence how many boards you need to pass, so experiment and adapt according to your lane conditions.

The 3-10 Breakdown (Baby Split)

Another common split is the baby split, which occurs when the 3 and 10 pins are left together. This involves a slightly different tactic, as you must make contact with the 3 on the right edge so that it topples the pin and sends your ball over to the 10, knocking it down as well. The 3-10 requires a deft touch, demonstrating that ball speed is also critical for picking up splits.

Let’s take a look at a couple of even more uncommon splits next.

The Split of 4-6-7-10 (Big Four, Big Ears)

The “Big Four” or “Big Ears” break is known as the “Big Four” or “Big Ears,” and your chances of picking it up are just around 1%, despite the fact that you may think it’s easier to convert because there are more pins to deal with. Since you must target at one side and fire the pins back to the other side, you’ll need as much ball speed as you can muster for this break (or get lucky by having them bounce out of the pit).

The 4-6-7-9-10 Split is a combination of the numbers 4-6, 7-9, and (Greek Church)

The 4-6-7-9-10 split, also known as the “Greek church,” is even more complicated. This one has a shockingly poor performance rate of 0.2 percent. This is another split where pins must rocket off to hit others, and your best bet is to get the 6 to knock down the 9, which then knocks down the 7 and 4 across the lane. Still, based on the numbers, don’t hold your breath for this one to happen!

Another division in this group that we think is worth mentioning is the 5-7-10 split. This is the closest thing we have to a “impossible” bowling break, as even leaving it, let alone picking it up, is considered incredibly rare. There are no figures about how much it is transformed because it occurs very rarely.

How Do You Get a 7/10 Split?

The last split we’ll discuss is the 7-10 split, which is one of the most well-known and alluded to. This is not the most difficult to convert, despite what you would think based on the distance between the pins.

Both the Big Four and the Greek Church, which we mentioned earlier, are more difficult to find. The 7-10, on the other hand, appeals to a larger number of bowlers, and you’ll see it on the lanes more often.

It, like the other long-shots, necessitates proper technique as well as a fair amount of luck. Start on the opposite side of the lane as your bowling hand to convert a 7-10 split. Righties will go for the 7, while lefties will go for the 10, and make sure to go for the inside edge of that pin, as you’ll need it to drop all the way to the opposite corner. To do so, summon all of your might, as you’ll need the pin to either bounce out of the pit or slide all the way over. In any case, converting the 7-10 needs a lot of luck.

Is a Spare Ball Needed to Convert Splits?

If you’re a serious bowler, you should consider using a dedicated spare ball, which will also serve as your split-picking ball.

You can use a lighter ball for several splits, like the 7-10. This improves accuracy while also reducing ball spin. In this case, a plastic or polyester coverstock (rather than urethane or reactive resin) is also beneficial. Overall, you can get away with only using one ball, but having a spare ball dedicated to split shots can be very useful.

We hope that this article has given you a better understanding of splits and how to convert them. On the lanes, best of luck!

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