Bowling Basics

Bowling Basics

Bowling is a simple and fun sport that can be played as a competition between individuals or teams, and, like any sport, it has its own unique set of rules and scoring format. Read on to learn more about the basics of how to play and score in bowling!

What Are the Basics of Bowling?

The sport of bowling can be played competitively or recreationally, and it requires a special set of equipment, including a bowling lane, bowling balls, and bowling pins. The main objective of the sport is for a bowler to knock down the pins at the end of the lane using a bowling ball.

How to Play

Though bowling may seem relatively simple, there are still some important things to know about that sport that may not immediately be obvious to the viewer or beginner. Here are some of the most important things to know about bowling:

  • Each bowler gets to bowl ten frames, which include two rolls within each frame. If you bowl a strike on the first roll, you do not get a second roll.
  • Each bowling lane has gutters on either side, so if your ball goes too far to the right or left, it will go in the gutters and not hit any pins.
  • Players earn a strike when they knock over all ten pins in the first throw of a frame. A spare is when they finish knocking them all down on the second throw.

How to Score

Bowlers earn a point for every pin they knock down. If they knock down all ten pins in a single frame, they earn extra points. Here are the rules for scoring in bowling:

  • A strike is scored with an ‘X’ symbol, and a spare is scored with a ‘/’ symbol.
  • The score you get in a frame is based on the number of pins you knock down.
  • If you bowl a strike, you will be awarded ten points for that frame, plus the points from your next two rolls. So, if you bowl a strike and then a 2 and a 6, your scoring will look like this: 10 + (2+6) +2 +6 = 26 for those two frames.

Basic Rules

Just like any other sport, bowling has rules and regulations that must be followed by participants. Since bowling is typically an individual sport, penalties committed by one bowler can have a serious impact on whether or not they win their match.

You must bowl in bowling shoes, not regular shoes. Typical shoes can mess up the oil patterns in the lane and distort its entire function. A bowler cannot step over the red foul line at the end of the bowling lane while bowling, or they will be awarded zero pins for that roll. A bowling lane should be 60 feet long from the foul line to the pin at the head of the pin formation.

Bowling Basics Summary

Bowling is about rolling a specialized ball down a lane to knock down as many pins as possible within ten frames of play. Bowling lanes have special oil patterns that cause the ball to move in a specific way. Players cannot cross the foul line when bowling, or they score a zero for that roll.

If a bowler knocks down all ten pins in the first roll of each frame, they have bowled a strike. If they knock down all ten pins within two rolls of a frame, they have bowled a spare. Each game consists of ten frames, and the maximum number of points a bowler can earn is 300, which is considered a perfect game.


How do you play bowling?

You play bowling by throwing the ball down the lane towards the set of bowling pins. It takes a proper stance and approach that requires practice, but a good bowling throw will hit the pins with enough power and at the right angle to knock a lot of them over. The more pins that are knocked over each round, the higher a bowler’s score will be.

What are some bowling tips for beginners?

The most important bowling tips for beginners are to select the correct ball, stay behind the foul line, keep their arms loose, and focus on a proper release. Finding a ball that is light enough to throw comfortably and maintaining a relaxed stance will allow beginners to dial in their form. Other important things for beginners to remember are to find the right starting position and to use the arrows on the lane to aim the ball at their target pin.