Bowling Terms – Learn the Lingo

In honor of school starting back up again, we thought it would be a good idea to give everyone a little lesson in bowling. Not a lesson about form and spin, but a lesson in bowling terms. Just like in all sports, you’re likely to hear some lingo and slang. Understandably, this can be pretty confusing to newcomers. Fret not! Below, we’ve explained some of the most useful phrases to learn. So if you really want to know the sport, read on! Soon you’ll be able to congratulate a fellow competitor on a “turkey” (and actually know what you’re talking about!).

A Lesson in Lingo: Bowling Terms 101

Alley Terms

Approach: Here’s the area before the foul line where you stand to prepare for your throw.

Foul Line: The foul line separates the approach from the lane. You don’t want to step over this line.

Lane: The lane is the floor that you roll the ball onto, so make sure not to step on this part because it is oily and slippery (and it will be marked as a foul, if you do step on it).

Gutter: The gutter is a pit on each side of the lane that the bowling ball falls into.

Scoring Terms

Frame: A game of bowling has ten frames, and a bowler throws twice in one frame.

Gutter Ball: If your ball enters the gutter, bowling deems it a “gutter ball,” so unfortunately you will score no points for that throw.

Strike: A strike is scored when all ten pins are knocked down on the first throw.

Spare: Score a spare when you knock down all ten pins within one particular frame, usually done by knocking all the pins down in two throws.

Split: Ever knock down all the pins except the left and right pins on the back row? You bowled a split!

Turkey: A turkey is when a bowler scores three strikes in a row.

Form Terms

Straight Ball: When a bowler throws the bowling ball straight down the lane, we call it a straight ball.

Hook: When a bowler puts a spin on the bowling ball while throwing, which causes it to curve down the lane, we call it a hook.

Thanks for enjoying a lesson of bowling terminology! If you’re interested in using some of these terms and slang and want a more hands on lesson in bowling, be sure to check out Bowling 2.0. Join us at JB’s on 41 for these fun classes. Bowling 2.0 includes four weeks of bowling lessons, beginning September 13 at 6:30 pm. These are 90 minute classes with videos, classroom time, and practice. Best part? It’s free and fun for all ages and skill levels! So what are you waiting for? Click here to sign up for Bowling 2.0!