Bowling for Beginners – Getting Started With Bowling

Introduction to Bowling

The origins of bowling can be traced back to 3200BC. In the modern era, bowling really picked up speed with technological advances not only with custom balls, but the bowling establishments were now using automatic pinsetters. Live bowling championships and competitions are now a main stream event.

Today approximately 100 million people enjoy bowling either casually or as a sport. Bowling alleys exist in all major cities and have modernized in the last couple decades.

Rules of Ten Pin Bowling

If you are a casual player the typical game is the ’10-pin’ standard version. This game consists of 10 frames. Within each frame, each player gets two consecutive attempts to knock down all ten pins. Once the first player’s turn is over, the other player takes his turn.

The game is either scored automatically by the bowling alley on an electronic display or the score can be kept manually. The player with the higher score at the end of the tenth frame is the winner.

When manually keeping score, if a player knocks down only six pins on his first attempt, then a number 6 will be entered in the appropriate box on the score sheet. Once the second attempt is complete, you then enter how many more pins if any were knocked down. This completes the score for the first player for that frame. If a spare is made then a / is recorded on the score sheet. A spare is worth ten points and is added to the points made on their next ball. This number is recorded in the box of the frame in which the spare was made.

If a player gets a strike, then a X is placed in the box. A strike is worth ten points. The subsequent two balls are then added to the ten points. This is also recorded in the box for the frame in which the strike is bowled.

Now for the tenth frame, if you bowl a strike, you get two additional balls. If you bowl a spare, you get one additional ball.


Approach – refers to both the area and physical movement in preparation of releasing the ball. How many steps are taken? Which foot do you step off with?

Arm-swing – is the movement of the ball at the very start of the approach right up until delivery. The swing will move backwards arcing up before swinging back down again just prior to release.

Ball Return – is the track and platform where the ball is brought forward and made available for play by the automated ball return system.

Delivery – involves the actual release or hook-release of the ball along with a smooth follow through.

Gutter – the dip which runs parallel to both sides of the lane leading to a drop off at the end of the lane.

Gutter Ball – a ball which ends up in either gutter, this ends the players attempt

Head Pin – this is the front or leading pin of the pin set.

Hook – when the ball is thrown with a rotation of the wrist and / or perhaps a snap to influence the balls rotation, speed and final destination. A hook is sometimes referred to as a curve. (See how to curve a bowling ball.)

Spare – knocking down all remaining pins on your second or clean up attempt

Strike – knocking down all 10 pins on the first bowl.

300 Game – a perfect game of 12 consecutive strikes

Ball Types

For the beginner or casual bowler, bowling alleys will usually have balls available for play. They will have most of the normal weights and offer varying finger hole displacements. The construction of these balls are usually all or mostly plastic and are not effective for employing the hook.

The more serious bowler will usually purchase one getting it custom made to the their specific finger hole placement, but also in regards to composition,weight and appearance. The higher quality balls contain a core which can be specifically designed to the owner’s specifications.

Bowling Tips for Beginners

Practice as often as you can. Work on the fundamentals at first.

Reportedly the most common mistake beginners make is that they visually focus on the pins instead of the arrows or dot lane guides.

Part of developing consistency should include regulating your breathing throughout the approach and delivery.

Do not tense up or muscle through the arm-swing. Remain relaxed and work on perfecting your technique.

Take your time in the beginning and don’t rush it. You will be a better bowler and enjoy yourself more once you are comfortable with your shoes, your ball, your approach, the delivery and follow through.

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