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!
Are you just a beginner in the sport of bowling and want to start out with the help from someone who is an expert? Would you like to change your bowling style? Would you like to get your game up to the next level? Do you want to improve on a specific aspect of your game, such as technique, form, your approach? Perhaps you have a big tournament coming up and want some advice or mental tips? If the answer is Yes to any of these questions, then it may be time for you to get a bowling Coach! A coach will watch you bowl, make lots of positive suggestions so your game can improve more quickly, and getting one makes it easier to help you figure things out.
If you are a beginner, you'll have more help learning the basics before you can develop any bad habits. If you're an experienced bowler, it's a good idea to have something specific in mind that you want to learn from a coach, like how to get more strikes, how to improve on converting spares and splits, improving your timing on the approach, or just improving more on getting a higher average.
Keep in mind that you will have to make a weekly commitment and be flexible since some of these bowling coaches have other jobs and may only be able to meet you different days during the week.
There are a few different ways of finding a good and certified coach. if you're in a league, you can ask some of the other bowlers or you can go to the pro shop at your bowling center. Lots of the pros in there do give lessons or will know of coaches that can help you out. It will most likely for you to try and get lessons at the center where you already bowl so they can help you out with the type of oil patterns they use there.
With technology being what it is, you can also go online and just type in "certified bowling coaches" in the city and state that your reside. The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) has a special rating system for Certified Coaches. Level One-Bronze, level two-Silver, and level three-Gold, Gold being the most experienced and also the most expensive. There is also another good website, bowl.com which can also help you locate a good coach.
When you find one, it's a good idea to do a little background checking to make sure he/she is all he/she says he/she is! Talking on the phone, emailing, or meeting he/she in person before any lessons, will help you decide if this coach will be a good fit for you. You want someone that has a good attitude and personality, and will be someone you will enjoy taking lessons with. Also ask about the coach using any training aids like diagrams, or videos. Lastly, know what the cost will be to you each week and how long the lessons will be. Most lessons can range from $35+ an hour depending on where you reside and the level of the coach, as previously mentioned. Some may require you to take more than one or two lessons.
If you feel private one-on-one lessons don't quite fit into your budget, you can ask a friend you bowl with to come with you so you can split the cost. Bowling Clinics exist for help in improving, you just need to go online and do a little research. I have taken a few lessons over the years to help me get over issues I may have been having at the time that I couldn't figure out for myself.
I feel coaches are very beneficial because they can analyze all aspects of your physical and mental game, and can help you improve more quickly so you can get the most out of your practice sessions.
If you are an experienced bowler and would like to become a Certified Coach, you can go online and do some research about the specifics. They have classes you can attend or 3-5 hour courses with a test at the end for each level and the cost and times of classes will be online as well.
Remember to set realistic goals for yourself when working with a coach or just improving by yourself. Be patient and in your spare time, make sure you can get to the lanes to practice what you are being taught by the coach or by my articles and tips.
Good luck and high scoring!
Join me next week when I'll be discussing "Wrist Positions". See you then!
What exactly is a "slump" in bowling? Well, it's what happens to all of us at some point or another during our bowling years and it's not fun at all! If you're not bowling up to par for several weeks and can't figure out what you're doing wrong, don't PANIC!! When you panic and start worrying about your average going down, or that your team is losing games because of you, it will get worse.
The key is to stay calm and realize that you're NOT alone. When I was a beginner, I always tried to figure out what I was doing wrong which was very difficult. I decided to just focus on the things I needed to do in order to execute a good shot. Here are some check points I've listed below. Make sure you focus on doing these things correctly.
1. Walking slow and straight
2. Having the trailing foot more in back of you rather than out to the side.
3. Checking your hand position for the 10:00 or 11:00 release.
4. Getting out one the correct target.
5. Being square to the target.
6. Making sure you are not dropping the bowling arm shoulder.
7. Having a nice smooth pendulum swing, no jerky movements.
8. Attacking the pins with confidence so your speed will be good, and consistent. If you're getting disgusted with your
performance, it could affect your speed and if you are going too slow, the ball will hook too much.
9. Check the bowling ball finger grips for being too loose or too snug. If you have gained or lost weight, you need to check those, otherwise your release may not not be good.
10. Check thumb hole for being too lose or too tight.
11. Check if the ball is skidding rather than rolling into the pocket.
If you focus on the check points, the problem will correct itself. You can also have a friend come along with you during your practice sessions and film you. Then you can examine yourself from the back so you may be able to see any issues.
If you prefer, if have some friends from the league that bowl better than you, you can ask one of them to come down and watch you for a few frames. They may be able to spot the issue right away so you can back to getting those high score again. If you are still bowling under average after several weeks of practicing these check points, it may be time to talk to the pro in the pro shop for a lesson or two. Tell the pro the issue you are having and they will get you back on track!
Join me next week when I'll be discussing Bowling Coaches.
Good luck and high scoring!
If you are interested in joining a Bowling League, pretty much all you need to do is call or go to the bowling center near where you live and ask about the different leagues they have. You need to decide which evening and time works best for you, so you can do your best to be there every week. Most leagues meet once a week and if you'd like to bring a friend along you can join together. There are usually 3-5 members on a team so if you have 3 or 4 friends, you can all be on the same team. The Winter Leagues usually start in September and range from 26-36 weeks long, and the Summer Leagues are 11-12 weeks long. I had moved in the middle of a season and was able to join a league by getting the phone number of the person in charge of the league I wanted to join. Some teams were not yet full and needed someone. Most leagues bowl approximately 3 games per week and can take 2-3 hours depending on how many people are on a team.
League prices vary depending on what area you live in. I lived in New York and in Colorado, and the leagues in Colorado were less per week than those in New York for example. Some may be $16+ per week and the Senior Leagues are usually less per week, since many Seniors are retired and living on a fixed income.
Rules can vary from league to league so it's important that you attend any meetings they may have, especially on the first night the league begins. League positions for president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary are usually voted on during that first meeting. To be eligible for prizes concerning 300 games one may bowl during the year, you must join a "Sanctioned League" which follows all the ABC Rules (American Bowling Congress). These sanction dues must be paid within the first few weeks after the league begins and the cost is approximately $20+.
You can get a hand book of rules from your league secretary. Some may include facts concerning questions like:
* If a bowler arrives late, can they bowl now or not until the next game begins?
* How many games does the league bowl per week?
* How many weeks will the season last?
* If I'm absent, can I have a substitute bowler take my place?
* Are substitute bowlers allowed to bowl on position rounds? ( Position nights are when 1st place bowls the 2nd place team, 3rd place bowls the 4th place team, etc).
There are all kinds of Leagues you can be a team member on:
1. Handicap Leagues:
In this type of league, each person receives extra pins per game depending on their average. Some leagues work on an 80% or 90% handicap using 200 as a base or 230 as a base. For example, if your league uses a 200 base and your average is 150, the you subtract 150 from 200 which is 50. If your league uses an 80% handicap, 80% of 50 is 40 so your handicap will be 40 pins per game. Prize money at the end of the season is given out to each team, the most for first place and down to last, and trophies are reserved for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams.
2. Scratch Leagues:
Scratch leagues do NOT give out a handicap. They usually cost more money and since is more prize money is involved, there is more pressure to bowl your average or better each week. This type of league is for those who average at least 180+, so if you want to socialize more, then this would not be the league for you.
3. Senior Leagues:
These Leagues are reserved for those 50 years or older. Usually prizes consist of cash only and they are mostly for socializing.
4. Junior Leagues:
These are reserved for children ages 6-16. They are mostly on week ends, but some meet after school. Teams vary from 2-3 players and the cost is approximately $9 per week. There is no prize money involved , since they are under the age of 18, but trophies, or gift cards to various establishments may be given out at the end of the season.
There are also many other Leagues available such as Vacation Leagues-where the team that finishes in first place at the end wins a vacation, Mens Leagues-for men only, Women leagues-for women only, and Disability Leagues-for the handicapped, where they have special ramps for the ball to slide down that can be moved left or right on the approach.
Please join a league if you are not already on one. There are very low to very high averaged bowlers on leagues so by being there each week, you will make friends and only improve. Before joining up, please read my blog post on "Etiquette" posted on May 24, 2021 so you will be ready!
Join me next week when I'll be discussing about what happens to everyone in bowling, "Slumps".
Good Luck and High scoring!
If you are not working at the present time, I recommend going practicing during the daytime hours when kids are in school. It's not as crowded in the bowling centers as it is on the week ends, and getting lane or two will be easier. Kids get excited and don't wait for you even if you are already set up on the lane.They also gather around each other and don't sit down which are huge distractions. If you can only get there on the week ends, then practice stepping back even if you are already set up on the lane. It takes practice to discipline yourself to do this, but you'll bowl better if you do.
When you go to the lanes for practice, I recommend having something specific in mind. Don't just toss the ball out there. There are several things you can work on, nd you should practice each for a game or two. Here is a reminder list:
1. Walking up straight- Check where you starting point is and after you release the ball, look down at your feet to make
sure you are close to that same spot on the lane at the foul ine.
2. Getting the ball out over the intended target-You can put a piece of blue painters tape on the board or arrow you want
to use (check with the front desk if they will allow that first).
3. Get a good lift on the ball, keeping the fingers slightly bent-You can also touch your shoulder each time after the ball is
released and the follow through with your ar, This will insure a good lift.
4. Getting your Timing in sync with the footwork and ball release-Count your steps and feeling a good "".
5. Getting a good LOFT on the ball and trying to hit the same spot on the lane each time.You can put a towel out a few
feet from the foul Lin and see if you can land the ball on it each time.
6. Keeping your shoulders SQUARE to your target.
7. Practicing hitting any pins you may be having trouble with in the league.
8. Keeping your knees FLEXED (slightly bent) at the stance and throughout the walking and release.
These eight things are the real basics, and if you get these down the rest will come easier. Most of all, have fun and be patient with yourself. You want to be a good bowler, but it takes time and several hours of practice. Join me back here next week when I'll be discussing "Bowling Teams". See you then. Good Luck and high scoring!
15. DON’T BREAK THE WRIST. Keep the wrist even with your arm, not in a bent down position unless you are going for a 10 pin. Many bowlers use a wrist support that helps keep their wrist straight since the ball is a bit heavy. I use one because I have a 16 pound ball. If you feel you can’t hold your wrist straight, then invest in a wrist support. They are available at the pro shop as well as online where there are several to choose from.
16. KEEP ARM OUT SLIGHTLY TO THE SIDE which will allow for body clearance when your arm comes down with the bowling ball to go into the pendulum swing, otherwise you have to force your arm out to the side, and it could go out a little farther one time but not the same the next time. Once again, you need to be consistent.
17. FINISH IN AN UPRIGHT POSITION with a good knee bend if you are able, rather than bending from the waist which puts more stress on the back.
18. Remember my 5 “F’S”- FACE the ins squarely, FOCUS on all of these basics, don’t go too FAST, keep the trailing FOOT more in back of you rather than out excessively to the side, and have FUN!!!
19. Think on your FOREARM going up towards the ceiling and touch your back lightly, so you know you are getting a good LIFT on the ball after the release.
I certainly hope that your game has been improving. We have gone over many things since the beginning of my Blog. Remember to keep practicing and incorporating these basics every few games. There’s a lot to remember to be patient with yourself.
Join me here next week to find out more about "Practice makes Perfect"!
Good Luck and High scoring!!
There are basically four types of BALL TRACKS. Before you start your next practice game, wipe your ball off really well with your towel and then bowl your first shot. When the ball returns, pick it up and observe the “Oil Track” on the ball to determine what kind you have.
2. FULL ROLLER- The oil track on this ball runs around the center of the ball and falls between the thumb and finger holes. The bowler with this track gets a lot of mix on the pins, the hook isn’t as large as the person with the semi roller, and there isn’t much wrist turn when the ball is released.
3. SPINNER- You’ll notice the track of the oil here is way down on the ball and only covers a small portion of the balls’ circumference. A bowler with this track doesn’t have as much pin mix or power as the previous two tracks, but is rolled with a lot of wrist turn when the ball is released. There isn’t much hook and the ball deflects more when it hits the pins. Instead of the fingers normally finishing on the right side of the ball (left side for the left handed bowlers), they finish more at the top of the ball.
4. FLARE- This type of ball track is newer since the more modern balls have been made. The ball moves off it’s initial track and ends up making a new track with each rotation of the ball as it travels down the lane. This means more of the cleaner surface of the ball is touching the lane which will equal a larger hook. (As you recall, oil cuts down on the hook).
Checking your ball track will be able to tell you how consistent you have been in releasing the ball to make sure the oil ring is basically in the same area. If it’s off more than an inch, or so then you’ll need to work on keeping it consistent. After all, that’s the name of the Game!!
As I previously mentioned, I will be away for the month of July 2021, so please keep practicing the things we discussed and make sure you have been able to get all the necessary equipment. Having your own “stuff” will also keep you more consistent.
Good Luck and High Scoring!! Join me here next week when I'll be discussing more important things to do in bowling part 3.
A “Washout” is a spare leave with a space in between the pins, but the Headpin is still there (1 pin). It’s basically a split with the 1 pin present. They don’t consider it a split because theoretically you shouldn’t miss hitting the headpin.
Washouts, like splits, can still be difficult to convert. The first one we will discuss is the 1-3-7, or 1-3-6-7. You need to hit the 1 pin on the right side in hopes that it will slide over into the 7 pin. Try moving about ½ board or 1 full board to the left of where you normally stand for your strike shot. Use this as a starting point and adjust a little at a time until you can convert it.
Another washout you may encounter is the opposite, the 1-2-10, or 1-2-4-10. This time you will need to move slightly right of where you stand for the strike shot, so the 1 or 2 pin can slide over into the 10 pin. Remember, bowling is a game of angles and pins hitting into other pins for results!
There are several other “washouts” you may come across that I haven’t mentioned here, but you get the idea. It’s just a split with the headpin still remaining.
Another way I see bowlers going for some of these washouts, is to stand to the left at the stance to change the angle. Try converting these and take notes on how you made them so you can refer to them on league nights if you need to. The object is to get high scores, have fun, and help your team win the games!! There is so much satisfaction in bowling really well. I promise you will get there, just be patient with yourself because it takes time!
Next week I’ll be discussing “Ball Tracks”.
Good Luck and High Scoring!!
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.