What Is A Strike In Bowling?

Scoring in bowling can be somewhat confusing, as different outcomes result in a different number of points being awarded to the bowler. One of the most confusing aspects of bowling scoring is scoring a strike. Read on to learn more about what a strike is in bowling and how many points it is worth!

What is a Strike in Bowling?

A strike in bowling is when a player knocks down all of their pins on their first try. Strikes are important in the context of the game because they will score you the most possible points. Strikes are hard to come by in bowling because they require consistent technique. Thus, only the most experienced bowlers can consistently bowl strikes.

How to Bowl a Strike

There is a technique to bowling a strike. We will break down the process of bowling a strike step-by-step.

Step 1: Find a starting position - Line up your left foot in between dots on the ground. Do the opposite if you are left-handed.

Step 2: Find the target - Aim to throw the ball on the second arrow from the right. Throwing the ball to the right of the arrow will give more traction to the ball as it rolls down the lane.

Step 3: Watch where your shot lands - Take note of where the ball rolls and how the pins hit one another. This will help you adjust for your next shot.

Many techniques will have to adjust based on the conditions of the lanes that you are playing on.

Strike Scoring

When a player bowls a strike, they receive an “X” in the small square of their scorecard. The “X” represents 10 points, plus however many pins get knocked down on the two rolls after the strike. Therefore, if a player knocks down four pins on their next two rolls following a strike, their score for the original frame will be 18.

A Perfect Game

In order to get a perfect game in bowling, your final score would need to be 300: in other words, getting 12 strikes in a row. Getting a perfect score is much more common in competitive bowling than recreational bowling.

Nicknames for Strikes

There are many different and unique nicknames for getting consecutive strikes in bowling. Here’s a full list:

  • Two Consecutive Strikes: Double
  • Three Consecutive Strikes: Turkey or Triple
  • Four Consecutive Strikes: Hambone or Four-Bagger
  • Five Consecutive Strikes: Yahtzee or Five-Bagger
  • Six Consecutive Strikes: Six Pack or Six-Bagger
  • Seven Consecutive Strikes: Front Seven or Seven-Bagger
  • Eight Consecutive Strikes: Front Eight or Eight-Bagger
  • Nine Consecutive Strikes: Front Nine or Nine-Bagger
  • 10 Consecutive Strikes: Front Ten or Ten-Bagger
  • 11 Consecutive Strikes: Front Eleven or Eleven-Bagger
  • 12 Consecutive Strikes: 300 or Perfect Game

FAQ

How many points is a strike worth in bowling?

A strike is worth 10 points in bowling, plus the sum of the bowler’s next two rolls. For example, if a player rolls a 3 and a 4 following a strike, their total score for the original frame will be 17. This is because 10 points for the strike + 3 pins + 4 pins is equal to 17.

How hard is it to bowl a strike?

Strikes are difficult to perform in bowling, but with proper practice and precision, they are certainly manageable, even multiple times per game. The keys to rolling a strike are proper grip and rolling technique, proper aim, and adequate speed. Knowing how your bowling balls tend to curve, what the state of the lanes are, and how much force you’ll need to knock down all 10 pins are all additional skills that can make strikes more likely. At the end of the day, strikes are often based on luck, but proper use of all of these skills can help streamline the odds in your favor.  

How many perfect games of bowling have there been?

There is no real way to know how many perfect games of bowling have ever occurred, given that many are not recorded. However, one relevant statistic related to perfect games in bowling is that there have been 34 televised perfect games on the PBA Tour since bowling events were first televised. The first-ever televised 300 game was won by Jack Biondolillo at the Firestone Tournament of Champions on April 1, 1967. The most recent televised 300 game was Jason Belmonte’s performance at the PBA Tour Finals on June 5, 2022.