Years ago when you went to the lanes to bowl, practice, or be in a league, they just gave you a paper with lines and a pencil to keep score. Now they have computers that do it for you automatically. All you need to do is type in your name and once you start bowling, the computer will keep track of the score. I am sure by now, you have a basic understanding of how the scoring is done. If you don't, it's still important to learn how to score to be able to spot check and make sure the computer score is correct. Sometimes pins may fall from the machine and you will have to know how to make that correction in the computer.
There are TEN FRAMES to each game. When you knock all ten pins down on the first ball that counts as a “STRIKE” and is marked by the letter X. Two strikes in a row is called a “DOUBLE”. Three strikes in a row is called a “TURKEY” or “TRIPLE”. The name is believed to have come from years ago when someone got 3 strikes in a row in a tournament ,they gave out turkeys as prizes. Four strikes in a row is called a four timer or four bagger, Five strikes in a row is called a five bagger, six in a row a six bagger, etc.
The most strikes you can get in a single game is 12 which is a PERFECT GAME with a score of “300”. It is also sometimes referred to as a “Dinosaur” or “Dirty Dozen”. The person on record for the most 300 games bowled is “Ferro Williams” having bowled 135 of them!! The person who holds the record for getting the most strikes in a row is Tommy Gollick with 47! If you get a strike on the incorrect side (1-2 for Righty’s or 1-3 pocket for Lefty’s), it’s called a BROOKLYN STRIKE. If you throw what looked like a perfect strike but left a 7 or 10 pin, then you were “ROBBED”!
When you get a strike, you add those 10 pins to whatever you get down on the next TWO balls. Use the scoring sample below to follow how to score. In your first frame you get a strike and then you get another strike in the second frame. Then in your third frame you get 8 pins down. You would add the ten for the first strike, ten for the second strike, and the eight and you’d have a score of 28 in the first frame. Now you get eight pins down and you picked up those last two remaining pins on the second shot. That would be considered a “SPARE” which is designated by a slash /. On a spare you add the ten pins you got down with whatever you get down on the NEXT ball. Then you get 9 pins down on the next ball after your spare, so you would add the 28 from the first box with the ten you got for the spare and then 9 more to that for the spare. That would give you 47 in the second frame. The “F” in the 5th frame indicates a FOUL and means you stepped over the foul line. If you knock down any pins, they will NOT be counted. If you were to “Strike Out” means you got 3 strikes in the last Frame.
Always try to get a good first ball, so you’ll have only one or two pins to knock down (or pick up as we say in the bowling jargon) and you’ll always get a good pin count for that double or spare. If you get less than 5 pins on a spare, you’ll leave yourself a more difficult spare to pick up, and you could possibly chop or miss it completely. Before I got much better at bowling, I got a lot of 6’s and 7’s on my spares. If I had gotten 8’s or 9’s instead, my score would have been much higher and we might have won more games that were very close.
If you don’t get all ten pins down after two tries, it’s considered a miss and is marked by a dash - and you will have an OPEN FRAME. If at any time you should throw the ball in the channel, it’s considered a GUTTERBALL. If the ball goes into the gutter first but pops out and hits any pins, they will not be counted in the score.
If after you throw your first ball and you’re left with a spare that has a space between the pins and the head pin (1 pin) is NOT there, it is called a“SPLIT” and is marked the number of pins you got with a circle around it.
When you get to the tenth frame of the game (last frame), if you should get a strike, you get to throw two extra shots as a BONUS. If you get a spare in the tenth frame, you get to throw one extra bonus shot. When bowling first started, you were allowed three tries to knock down all ten pins, but many people were able to do this very easily, so to make it more
challenging, they shortened it to only two tries.
In league play, always try your best to get the most pin count on your spares. Let’s say for example that your team and the opposing team are tied up in the tenth frame. The anchor man (the team member who goes last) gets a split with 3 remaining pins, but tries to make the split for a sure win but only gets one of them instead of trying to get the two easier ones, and the guy on the other team also gets a split in the tenth frame but picks up his two pins. Your team will lose that game by one pin, so it’s always best to try and get the most pin count if the game is close, rather than trying to show off and end up losing a game by a pin or two!
A “DUTCH 200” GAME is when you get a strike, then a spare, then a strike, spare, etc. alternating through the entire game. Or you could start with a spare, then get a strike and alternate that way. If you get all spares and 6’s on the spares, that will equal a game of 160. If you get all spares and 7’s, that equals a 170 game, all spares and 8’s a 180, and all spares and 9’s will be a score of 190.
If you miss a spare and have an open frame, then you must throw a Double (two strikes in a row) to make up for that open frame.
To bowl a 200 game, you need to get all your marks plus a double, and to get a 210 you need all your MARKS (strikes and spares) plus a triple (three strikes in a row). If you can’t get a triple but you get two doubles in your game, that will be equal to a triple. To get a score of 220 you need to get all your marks plus a four bagger (four strikes in a row), and so on.
If you get all your marks and have no open frames, it is considered a “CLEAN” GAME.
At the end of a league bowling session, each game will count for 1 or 2 points depending on what your league votes on. The team that knocks down the most pins for the three games, will get an extra POINT or two for TAKING WOOD.
The score that is the most rare to get in bowling is a 292. It’s not likely that you would only get 2 pins after throwing the first eleven strikes in a row.
Here a scoring sample, see if you can follow it from the above instructions.
Join me here next week when I’ll be discussing " What is Lift and Turn"?
Good Luck and high scoring!!
Continued from August 30,2021 post:
19. After releasing the ball, try to think of your forearm going up towards the ceiling to help you get a good lift on the ball.
20. As you lift up your arm after the ball release, try to FEEL the elbow through the line of your target.
21. Don't try to flick the ball on the release, just feel a nice SMOOTH PENDULUM SWING bringing your arm up with
a good FOLLOW THROUGH.
22. Keep your head STILL and FRONTWARDS, not sideways, and KEEP your EYES FIXED on the TARGET for a few
seconds.It's the same way in golf. People tend to look at the fairway right after they swing at the ball. But you need to keep your head down and eyes fixed on the desired target. Otherwise how will you know if you really hit the correct target, if you look at the pins immediately after the release?
23. Most bowlers hold the ball out directly in front of them and then have to push it out slightly to the side to allow for body clearance so they don't hit the body on the downswing. Sometimes the bowler may go out more to the side than other times and we want to be as CONSISTENT as possible. The best way to avoid being inconsistent is at the stance. After you are set up on the approach, swing the hand holding the ball slightly out to the side to allow for body clearance, and keep the ELBOW somewhat CLOSE to the BODY. Then you will always put the ball out to the same amount by doing this before you begin the walk on the approach.
I know there has been a lot of information here in parts 1-4 on the important things to remember, but you can review them the day before or the day of your league so you can refresh your memory about these important BASICS. The more you remember, the more you can incorporate into your game, and the better your bowling will be.
Most of all, don't forget to have FUN! Sometimes there are so many things to think about at once, it becomes difficult. If this happens to you, then only work on one or two new things in your practice sessions at a time. As you become better at these, they will become what's referred to as "MUSCLE MEMORY" and then you'll only have to concentrate on more on the TARGET and the ADJUSTMENT you need to make as the lanes change.
Good Luck and high scoring!
Join me next week when I'll be showing you how to keep score in bowling.
When a Bowler holds the ball at the stance, there are basically three wrist positions he can choose and hold throughout the pendulum swing:
1. Using the Broken Wrist Position:
* Will put less SKID and more ROLL on the ball.
* Will transfer more of the balls weight to the fingers letting the bowler apply necessary LIFT and getting action at the
* You need to stay focused to be consistent and break the wrist the same way each time. You can break the wrist
slightly more when dealing with tight (oily) lanes, but if the break is too extreme, then the ball will not be in the
correct position at the end of the swing. It will place your fingers too much at the top of the ball, instead of
underneath, and you won't be able to lift with the fingers properly. The balls' weight will also be shifted on the thumb
causing the ball release to be too early or too late.
2. Using the Straight Wrist Position:
* Is the most popular wrist position bowlers use.
* Will keep the proper position of the ball throughout the swing.
* The easiest of the wrist positions to maintain and execute.
* Keeps the fingers under the ball to be able to execute proper lift.
3. Using the Cupped Wrist Position:
* Allows the hand to move more strongly under the ball, which produces more Skid Force. Skid Force allows the ball
to travel a bit further down the lane before it starts to break (hook). This wrist position helps you to score higher on
dry lane conditions (when there isn't much oil).
* Produces a low effective roll that will help with pin carry.
* Requires a powerful forearm and wrist, or the strain of holding the ball in this position may cause your hand to turn
slightly to the left (for right handed bowlers), or to the right (for left handed bowlers. It can also cause you to move
your elbow and arm away from the hip too much (to allow for the proper body clearance) which would restrict a
good pendulum swing.
* Restrict the use of a wrist supporter, depending on which type you like to use.
Which wrist position do you use? If you haven't tried all three, go practicing and give the others a try and see how they can affect your ball's reaction on the lane. Take notes on what you discover and practice them often so you can use them at any time during your league play when lanes are changing and nothing else is working.
Good Luck and High Scoring!
Join me here next week when I'll be discussing more on basics and important things for you to remember. See you then, and have a great week!
Hello!! I'm not a professional bowler, but I have loved the sport for more than 45 years, averaged over 200 for several seasons, and learned quite a bit with research and experience.