Bowling 101

How does bowling work? What are the basic fundamentals of the game? Get ready to learn about Bowling 101. You don't need any prior knowledge to start learning.

Bowling is a sport in which an athlete stands at the end of a long strip called a lane and rolls a heavy bowling ball down that lane. At the end of the lane rests a set of pins. The goal of bowling is to knock as many of those pins over as possible.

The Basics

Bowling is played in places called bowling alleys; they often have many lanes and games happening at the same time. Players play a frame, each which consists of the player getting two tries at knocking the pins over in each frame.

Equipment and Gear

In bowling, a player does not need too much equipment to participate. Mainly a player needs just a bowling ball, bowling shoes, and pins. Players may also use gear such as gloves to protect their hands and give them a better grip. Players also often have bags to carry their balls around in, to protect them, and because they are so heavy. Bowling shoes are used in order not to slide around when playing, as players can easily slip when rolling the ball down the lane with force. Balls are used to send down the lane where they knock over the pins, which are used as such.

Penalties and Rules

There is not an abundance of rules in bowling, as it is a generally simple game. However, bowlers must follow common etiquette such as not bowling while someone else is bowling, bowling in one's lane, and wearing bowling shoes while playing. Bowlers must also not step over the line at the end of the lane, or else they are penalized. The player will not be scored for any pins they knockdown on this first instance and will get another chance. However, if this happens again, the player's frame is over.

Bowling Penalties

Bowling Positions

To position yourself correctly in bowling, you must first stand behind the line at the end of the line. Next, you must grab the ball with your thumb in the bottom hole and the two fingers of your choosing (based on comfort) in the holes above it on the ball. The bowler then must take a step forward while bringing the ball back behind them. The player then releases the ball, rolling it towards the pins and trying to knock them over. Some players do this with as much force as possible, while others focus more on accuracy. The player must stay behind the line at the end of the lane. When finishing, the bowler should have his bowling arm in the air, pointing towards the sky.

bowling positions

Important Bowling Concepts

Essential concepts in bowling include a frame, which is used to describe the two shots at the pins that each player gets. Also, the concepts of a split and a three-game average are essential to know as well. A split is when there are two pins left, and they are not close enough to each other to hit both. A three-game average is the average score of a player over his last three games. Thus he takes these scores and divides them by three. Here is a list of important concepts in bowling:  

  • Frame
  • Split
  • Foul
  • Three game average
  • Hook
  • Match Play
  • Nose Hit
  • Perfect Game
  • Par
  • Approach

Bowling 101 Terms

There are many important terms to know in bowling, here is a list of just a few important terms:

  • Strike
  • Spare
  • Frame
  • Gutter ball
  • Approach  
  • Anchor
  • Lane
  • Alley
  • Double
  • Foul
  • Kingpin
  • Rack
  • Turkey
  • Hambone
  • Return