The Basic Rules of 10 Pin Bowling

The Basic Rules of 10 Pin Bowling


We’re not exactly sure where ten-pin bowling originated from, however in 1934, a British anthropologist discovered a collection of objects in an ancient Egyptian grave site that closely represented the game of bowling we know today. These objects could have dated back to 3,200 BC, making bowling one of the oldest sports of all time.


How to Bowl


Bowling professionally requires many years of experience, with the world’s best bowlers perfecting their technique down to a science. This is how bowling and golf share some similarities. The two sports may not be the most athletically entertaining, but they are technically extremely difficult.


In a tournament setting, a bowler can advance through the qualifying rounds and into the finals by winning their frames with the highest score. At the end of the day, bowling is a finesse sport with no single physical attribute that automatically transfers to success in the sport.


Rules of Bowling


  • Bowling is a free-for-all type sport, where bowlers battle through 10 frames in a single round, with the last round having up to three opportunities to pad your final score.
  • The average weight of a ball is about 16 pounds for professional bowlers.
  • A bowling lane is exactly 42 inches wide by 60 feet long from foul line to the center pin. There are 10 pins in play that are set up in a triangular fashion. The lane is waxed hardwood, which reduces the amount of friction between the ball and the lane.
  • Knocking down all the pins in a single throw is called a strike. This is the best possible outcome of a single frame. Strikes are scored as 10 (the number of pins knocked down) plus the result of the next two throws. For example, if I bowl a strike then the next frame I bowl a 5 and a 4, my score for the first frame would be 10 + 5 + 4 = 19.
  • Knocking down all the pins in two throws is called a spare. This is the next best possible outcome of a single frame. A spare is scored as 10 plus the result of only the next throw.
  • A foul, or no score, will be called if a bowler steps over the foul line marked at the beginning of the lane.
  • In the very rare event of a tie, one frame will be added on until a single bowler emerges as a winner. Frames will continue to be added, as there are no draws in bowling.


A perfect score in bowling is 300 and is achieved by bowling 12 straight strikes. While this used to be a rare feat in the early stages of the sport, bowling a 300 isn’t as much of a rare sight nowadays. With advancements in technology helping bowlers repeat their motions as fluid as possible, it’s common to see a 300 in a professional tournament.





Written by: Devin Pickell

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