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Bowling 101 - The Basics of Scoring and Technique

By Edited Jan 27, 2016 1 0

Bowling seems deceptively simple. A round ball is rolled down a very long lane, with the intent of knocking over the 10 pins at the end of said lane. In reality, bowling is rather complex and only becomes more so the better you get at it. Bowling has a strict scoring system that some people find hard to master. There are a few rules and techniques every bowler needs to know to make their bowling game more successful and enjoyable.

Like any other sport, bowling has rules and regulations. Bowlers have guidelines and restrictions that must be followed. Scorekeeping rules are perhaps the most important bowling rules.

Pyramid Path Blue, Black and White
Bowling scorekeeping rules need to be followed exactly, especially if you ever want to compete as a bowler. Keeping score, even though it may not seem like it, is the most essential and relevant part of the game of bowling.

There are 10 frames in each game of bowling. A frame is a turn, basically. In each frame, you get two tries to knock down the pins at the end of the lane. Each pin is generally worth one point. If you knock all of the pins over on the first try, this is called a strike and the next two throws are added to the frame you got the strike in.

Plasma Bowling Ball
If not all of the bowling pins are not knocked down on the first turn, but instead on the second, it is called a spare and the next throw is added to the frame that you picked up the spare in. Anytime pins are knocked down, you get points for them, but ideally you would want to have a strike or a spare, so more points can be picked up per frame. The maximum amount of points available for one frame is 30 points, which means the bowler got 3 consecutive strikes.

If you do not knock down any pins at all on a throw, that is considered a gutter ball. If it happens on the first roll of the frame, the bowler can only use the second try to pick up a spare. A strike is not possible at this point. If it happens on both rolls, no points will be earned for that game.

Ebonite Cyclone Bowling Ball- Black, Gold and Silver
In the event that a bowler does get three strikes in a row, it is called a Turkey and if the bowler continues to get strikes they are called a four-bagger or a five-bagger. A perfect game is rare and is when the bowler gets 12 strikes in a row, for a total of 300 points.

You must also use proper technique to be effective as a bowler. Your posture, release and pressure, if done correctly can help you perfect your technique and protect your body from getting injured. Concentrating on these things will really help your bowling game. Visualize the ball knocking the pins over and look directly down the lane, not at the ball. Tossing the ball carelessly and using poor technique will only ruin your score with all the gutter balls you will get.

As a beginning bowler there are plenty of ways to learn scoring and proper basic technique. You could take lessons, join a league or even pick up a book on bowling. Having the basics down will give you a good foundation to build your game on.

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