What Are the Different Kinds of Splits in Bowling?

Bed Posts

    The 7-10 split goes by many names, including "bed posts," "goal posts," "fence posts," "mule ears" and "snake eyes." It's a notorious split because it's the most difficult shot in bowling. The pins on the far ends of the back row remain standing while all other pins have been knocked away. Surprisingly, this split usually occurs on a shot that is almost in the pocket -- the space between the 1 and 3 pins for a right-handed bowler and the 1 and 2 pins for a left-handed bowler.

"Big Four" and the 6-7-10 and 4-7-10 Splits

    The "big four" split, which is comprised of the 4, 6, 7 and 10 pins, happens more to straight bowlers than hook bowlers. A hooked throw crosses the head pin at an angle and drives it into the pins along the side. A straight ball, on the other hand, can roll into the head pin with no angle at all, causing the pins on either side in the back to go untouched. The 6-7-10 and the 4-7-10 splits which have no name, occur much in the same way that the "big four" split does. In these cases, the ball doesn't catch the head pin flush, instead it catches slightly to one side or the other, taking out either the 4 or 7 pin. The "big four," 6-7-10 and 4-7-10 splits are the most difficult spares to convert, next to the "bed posts."

"Baby" Splits and "Side-by-Side" Splits

    "Baby" splits are splits that involve pins that are separated by one pin or less. Examples of "baby" splits include the 2-7 split, 1-4 split, 1-6 split and 3-10 split, all of which are fairly common. Not-so-common "baby" splits include the 2-9 split and the 3-7 split; these are less common because they involve the interior, rather than exterior, pins. Pins that are left standing next to each other are called "side-by-side" splits. They are considered splits because they have to be knocked down at the same time in order to convert. Examples of these splits include the 2-3 split, 4-5 split, 5-6 split, 7-8 split, 8-9 split and the 9-10 split

Colorfully Named Splits

    Some other splits have more colorful nicknames and most involve at least three pins that have to be knocked down. For example, there is the "Greek church," which is either a 4-6-7-8-10 split or a 4-6-7-9-10 split. It's so named because of its similarity in looks to an old cathedral-type church. There is also the "big five" -- the 3-4-6-7-10 or 2-4-6-7-10 split. This is a fairly simple split to convert as long as you hit the 2 pin, for left-handed bowlers, or the 3 pin, for right-handed bowlers, at an angle to drive the first pin into the others. Other splits like this include the "big six" -- a 2-4-6-7-8-10 or 3-4-6-7-9-10 split; the "lily" or "sour apple" -- a 5-7-10 split; and the cocked hat -- a 2-7-10 or 3-7-10 split.

About the Author

Based in Virginia Beach, Mark S. Baker has been working in editorial for more than 20 years. He has served as a writer and editor for publications such as the "Houston Post," "Boca Raton News" and "Interactive Week," among others. Baker also has a culinary arts degree from Johnson & Wales University and has his own catering business.