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How to Score Bowling

By Edited Jan 18, 2014 1 0

Bowling is incredibly popular with people of all ages; this is not surprising considering that for a small fee you can enjoy yourself with friends for hours. While it may seem strange to some players, most common players do not actually know how to score bowling. Whether the automated scoreboard is to blame or not for people not knowing how to generate their own score, this article demonstrates how to score bowling quickly.  

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When you break it down, scoring a game of bowling is seemingly as simple as adding the number of pins that are knocked down. However, in reality, it is important to know what certain symbols and letters mean on your score sheet. If you want to know how to score bowling, you are going to need to understand these as well.

First, the absolute basics, the maximum you can score in an entire game is 300, this is also known as ‘a perfect game’ – the lowest that you can score is 0, which is unofficially known having a horrible day at bowling. While most times whatever number of pins you knock down is counted, if you throw a strike (knocking all ten pins down on the first throw of the frame) you add 10, and the total value of the next two throws. If you throw a spare (knocking all ten pins down on the second throw of the frame), you add 10 plus the value of your next throw.

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While these basics might make sense to most people, some get confused once it gets time to add everything up together. Scoring bowling is easiest when you look at it at its most basic; you look at every frame individually and add them up. The sum of the 10 frames together is your score. Once you break it down to its most basic understanding it becomes much easier to recognize how to score bowling.

But what about your actual scorecard? Whether on the large overhead monitor or a small piece of paper in your hand, the scorecard has some interesting information on it. Have you ever wondered what the – or the X means? Well wonder no longer, because this is a brief summary of what you can encounter on your scorecard. After reading this you are going to understand exactly what those symbols mean.

X > congratulations, you managed to throw a strike!

/ > means you threw a spare, you are sure to get them all next time!

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--  > ouch! You failed to hit a single pin…surely you are going to do better on the next throw.

Circle around the number or an S > you threw a spare, these can be tricky!

F > Foul! Your body is not allowed to move beyond the foul line, no score for this throw.

Even with automated scoring in lanes being as prevalent as it is, it can never hurt to know a little bit more about the scoring system of the game you are actually enjoying. I hope that you are going to understand the score sheet a bit better next time and this quick article on how to score bowling actually is beneficial for you the next time you hit the lanes.


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