Split (ten pin bowling)

A split is a term in ten pin bowling used to describe a number of situations where two or more pins remain standing after the first ball of a frame with a gap between them, when the headpin (the "number 1 pin") is no longer standing after the first ball's delivery.

7–10 split

The most infamous of splits is the 7–10 split, often called "goal posts" or "bedposts", where the bowler is left with the leftmost and the rightmost pin in the back row (the "number 7" and "number 10") to knock down with a single ball to achieve a spare. Two of a number of successful attempts to convert this split were in the films "The Big Lebowski" and "Kingpin".

The only way to pick this up is to let a pin fly back from the pit area. This is very difficult to achieve by itself as a pin flying out from the pit is a fairly rare occurrence. Sliding the pin directly will not work since the ball will fall off the lane before it gets far enough aside the 7 or 10 pin to slide it directly across. Despite this fact, many television shows and movies over the years have depicted the 7–10 split being converted by directly sliding one pin into another. In each case, the "conversion" was rigged by either moving the sliding pin over on a deck without pin spots (giving the ball extra room to slide the pin sideways and making it look like the pin was spotted correctly) or by having some help (human or mechanical) from the pit to "slide" the pin over. Barring such "Hollywood magic" in real life, a freak bounce out of the pit is the only way to convert a 7–10 split.

It is sometimes possible to slide the 7 pin onto the 10 pin by using a bowling ball which comes into contact with the 7 pin just before dropping into the gutter (usually the ball would be on the 1st or 2nd board near the gutter at the point of contact). There is nearly no margin for error in order to achieve this and the contact must be made before the ball enters the gutter or it would be considered an illegal spare.

6–7 and 4–10 splits

It is possible to hit the pin on the back row (the 7 or the 10) by hitting the pin in the third row (the 6 or the 4) at a very fine angle.

Other common splits

;Cincinnati (7–9 or 8–10)This is similar to the 7–10, as they are both splits with pins on the back row of the deck. It is also just about as difficult to convert. However, it is possible to slide the 9 or 8-pin into the 7 or 10 pin, but there is only a 0.05 inch (1 mm) margin of error.

;(5–7) or Woolworth or Dime Store (5–10)Similar to a 6–7 split, but since the pins are closer, the 5 pin does not need to be hit at such a fine angle to hit the 7 pin. Another rare method is to deflect an extremely light ball (under 10 lb) between the two pins.

;Sour Apple or Lily (5–7–10)Similar to above, one must use a light ball (under 10 lb) to deflect the 5 pin into either the 7 or 10 pin and deflect your ball off the 5 pin into the other back pin. It is also possible to slide the 5 pin into either the 7 or 10 pin, and with luck, either the 5 or 7 (or 10, depending on which side the bowler chooses to go) pin will slide or roll into the other pin. It is among the most difficult splits to covert.

The 5–7–10 is considered the most embarrassing split of all, because not only is it almost impossible to make, it is left by throwing a "flat ball", that is, a shot with no revolutions or action on it.

;3–7 splitSimilar to a 5–7 split, but since the 3 is one row further from the 7 than the 5, you must hit the right side of the 3 pin at only a slight angle.

;Baby split (2–7)This is the easiest split to convert since you have two options. You can slide the 2 pin into the 7 pin. The other option is to deflect the ball between the two pins. This can be achieved with a ball of any weight since the pins are close enough together.

;Cocked Hat (2–7–10 or 3–7–10)This split is basically the Baby Split with another pin. The player ignores the pin most "distant" from the other and plays the Baby Split. With luck, the pin should be able to slide to get the other pin.

;The Big Four (4–6–7–10)The "Big Four" split consists of the two pins on either side of the pin deck. It is similar to the 4–7–10 and the 6–7–10, as a common attempt to make the split will consists of sliding the 4 or 6 pin into the remaining two pins on the other side (the ball will take out either the 7 or 10 pin). As with virtually all splits, it is possible to make by bouncing a pin out of the pit.

;Side-by-Side splits (2–3; 4–5; 5–6; 7–8; 9–10)Similar to baby splits because of their close distance from one another, the side-by-side split is almost always made by fitting the ball in between the two pins left standing. A much rarer conversion of the split involves sliding one pin into the other. A similar split (4–5–7 or 5–6–10) should be made the same way. Also called "Fit splits."

;The WashoutAlthough not a split, washouts involve a setup of pins which are spaced out; the setup must include the head pin (the 1 pin). Common examples of the washout include the 1–2–4–10, 1–2–8–10, 1–3–6–7, and the 1–2–10. Washouts are easier than most splits, because the head pin is much more in front of the pin deck and therefore gives the bowler more room for error. The type of washout one leaves largely depends on if the bowler is left-handed or right-handed. For example, a left handed bowler would leave washouts such as the 1–3–6–7 and 1–3–7–9, while a right-handed bowler would leave washouts such as the 1–2–4–10 and the 1–2–8–10.

;The Greek Church (4–6–7–8–10 or 4–6–7–9–10)This split is similar to the Big Four, except there is another pin included (either the 8 or 9 pin). This split is slightly easier to convert than the Big Four, because sliding the 6-pin over (for right-handers) will sometimes cause the 6-pin to ricochet off the 9-pin and set a crash course for the 4 and 7 pins.

;The Big Five (3–4–6–7–10 or 2–4–6–7–10)This split is most easily converted by sliding either the 2-pin (for left-handers) or the 3 pin (for right-handers) into the two pins on the other side of the pin deck. The ball should take out either the 6–10 (for right-handers) or the 4–7 (for left-handers).

;The Big Six (2–4–6–7–8–10 or 3–4–6–7–9–10)This split is similar to the Big Five, but is made slightly harder because there is another pin in the back row, creating a split with two pins on one side and four pins on the other. The split should be made with a drastic curve on the back end of the lane, so that the ball can convert the four pins and have the frontmost pin take the two remaining pins out.

Equivalent splits

Since the pins are set up as an equilateral triangle, identically spaced splits can occur on different parts of the lane. Converting them would be done in the same manner.
7–9 = 8–10, 4–6
5–7 = 2–6, 3–4, 4–9, 5–10, 6–8
3–7 = 2–10
3–10 = 2–7, 2–9, 3–8, 1–4, 1–-6 (technically the last two are not splits)
2–3 = 4–5, 5–6, 7–8, 8–9, 9–10

"Field goals"

In popular culture today, many people will call a ball rolled through the middle of a split a "field goal", coming from the fact that in American football, you must kick the ball through two huge metal poles to get a field goal.

Recorded 7–10 split conversions

* [http://youtube.com/watch?v=gPllVnruRAc Mark Roth]
* [http://youtube.com/watch?v=XtDDG5MrxAs John Mazza]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UAvUDyWjmg Jess Stayrook]

Recorded 4–6–7–10 split conversions

* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auCrhZ46v2k Walter Ray Williams, Jr.]

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