Bowling game rules – how to bowl

By: Dennis B. B. Taylor


Did you know that the ancient Egyptians and Romans used to play a game where they threw stones at objects in the distance? This game eventually evolved into the bowling we know and love today. It’s a game that can be both fun and competitive.



When I step up to the bowling lane, what catches my eye are the pins standing tall and proud. They measure 15 inches in height and 4.75 inches in width at their widest point. I’m always amazed by the precision that goes into creating these pins, as they weigh between 3 lb 6 oz to 3 lb 10 oz.

Did you know that the pins are arranged in a specific pattern? They are organized into four rows, forming a triangle shape. And there’s approximately 12 inches (30 centimeters) of space between each pin. It’s quite impressive to see them all lined up, just waiting to be knocked down!


Now, let’s talk about the lane itself. It may seem like a simple stretch of wood, but it plays a vital role in the game. The lane is perfectly straight and flat, providing a smooth surface for the ball to roll on. To reduce friction, a thin layer of oil is applied to the lane, ensuring a balanced playing field.

Have you ever wondered how long the lane actually is? Well, it measures 60 feet from the foul line to the headpin. And it’s 42 inches wide, allowing plenty of space for the ball to find its target. Oh, and before we continue, did you know that there’s a special area where bowlers stand to deliver the ball? It’s called the lane approach, and it’s 15 feet long.

But that’s not all! To keep everything fair, there are some boundaries in place. Bowlers must be careful not to cross the horizontal foul line when throwing the ball. And there are seven arrow lines on the lane, acting as guides to help us aim and find the perfect angle for our shots.


Bowling game rules - how to bowl

When you play bowling, you take turns with the other players. First, you choose a ball and go to the lane. Then, you run to build up speed and approach the foul line. Finally, you aim and roll the ball to knock down the pins at the other end.

A game of bowling is made up of 10 frames. In each frame, you have 2 throws.

The goal of the game is to get the highest score by knocking down as many pins as you can. Your score for a frame is calculated by adding up the total number of pins you knock down, plus any bonus points you earn.


Scoring in bowling can be a little confusing, so let’s talk about how it works.



An open frame is when some bowling pins are still standing after two tries in a single frame. No bonus points are given in this case, and the points earned are based on the number of pins knocked down.

Let’s say I knock down 2 pins on my first try and then 4 more on my second try. In this frame, I would earn a total of 6 points.

Now, let’s talk about a spare. A spare is when all 10 pins are knocked down on the second try. It is usually shown on the board with a slash (/). When you get a spare, you earn 10 points, plus the number of pins you knock down in the next roll.

For example, in frame 1, I knock down 6 pins on the first try and then get a spare by knocking down all 4 remaining pins on the second try. In frame 2, I knock down 2 pins on the first try and 4 pins on the second try. The score for these frames would be calculated as follows:

– Frame 1: 6 + 4 + 2 (bonus) = 12

– Frame 2: 2 + 4 = 6

What happens when I strike in bowling?

When I strike in bowling, it means that I knock down all 10 pins with my first throw in a frame. This is a pretty exciting moment because it’s not easy to do! When I strike, I get 10 points plus bonus points that equal the number of pins I knock down in the next frame. It’s like I get double credit for the next frame. On the scoreboard, a strike is marked with an “X”.

Let’s imagine a game to understand it better:

Frame 1, ball 1: I knock down all 10 pins (X)

Frame 2, ball 1: I knock down 2 pins

Frame 2, ball 2: I knock down 4 pins

So, my score for these two frames would be:

Frame 1: 10 + (2 + 4) = 16

Frame 2: 2 + 4 = 6

What are the different terms for multiple strikes?

When you manage to get more than one strike in a row, there are special terms to describe them:

  • Double: Two strikes in a row
  • Turkey: Three strikes in a row
  • Four-Bagger: Four strikes in a row
  • Five-Bagger: When you score five strikes in a row
  • And so on

Even though there are only 10 pins, you can score up to 30 points in a single frame. This means that every strike after the second one is worth 30 points.


The tenth frame is unique in a bowling game. Unlike the other frames, you don’t receive any bonus points for spares or strikes. However, you do get an extra third shot. But here’s the catch: if you don’t score a spare or strike in the tenth frame, you don’t get an additional try.


Add up the scores from all 10 frames. The player with the highest score is the winner!

Hey there! I’m someone who loves writing and I get a real kick out of getting people excited about playing games and having a blast. For three whole years, I organized pub crawls where we played drinking games pretty much every single day. And guess what? I come from a big family that’s absolutely crazy about games, so you could say they’re practically in my DNA.

But that’s not all! I’m also a massive fan of traveling and music. In fact, I’ve even started my own personal blogs about travel and music, just because I can’t get enough of them!

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