All about Ten Pin Bowling

Everything You Need To Know About 10 Pin Bowling

10 Pin Beginners Guide

10 pin bowling is one of those great pastimes that makes for a great party activity or simply a way to blow off a bit of steam with friends. Of course, it’s also a competitive sport. Therefore, it’s best to go into it knowing a bit about the game and how it works so that you can be sure to put up a good fight on the bowling lane.

Here’s a beginners’ guide to some of the most important things to know about 10 pin bowling.


There are several different terms that you will hear being thrown around when bowling. Knowing what these mean is sure to help you improve on your play. Here are some of the more important phrases to listen out for.

The house balls are balls that belong to the establishment in which you are bowling. There are a variety of house balls available in most bowling establishments to suit a wide range of patrons. However, as you play more often you may want to invest in a custom ball to suit your play style.

A frame is the name given to one turn at bowling. Typically, each frame consists of two throws with scores being combined at the end of the frame. However, if you happen to get a strike or a spare, these rules change slightly.

Fouling is when you accidentally step over the foul line when bowling. The foul line is a think black line at the front of the lane that marks where your run up should end and your throw should begin. Overstepping this line will result in the call of a foul.

The last piece of terminology to look out for is the gutter. When playing 10 pin bowling, you will see two dipped sections at either side of the lane. These are called the gutters, and should your ball fall into these as it rolls it will miss all pins and be referred to as a gutterball.


Each pin is worth one point, and you will get two throws per frame to knock down as many of these pins as possible. On the tenth and final frame of a game, this extends to three throws. The maximum score possible in a game of ten pin bowling is 300, which can only be achieved by rolling 12 strikes in a row. This is referred to as the perfect game.

A strike is when you manage to knock down all pins in a single strike. Getting as many of these as possible is the absolute best way to rack up the points and give you the best possible chance of winning. If you roll a strike, you get 10 points in addition to the scores of the next two balls thrown. Two strikes in a row is referred to as a double, while three in a row is referred to as a turkey.

A spare is not quite as good as a strike, but is still a great way to play a frame. Spares are when you knock down all ten pins in two consecutive balls. The spare counts as ten points, in addition to any points scored on the next throw.


One of the most important elements of making sure that you play to the best of your potential is proper ball selection. In most 10 pin bowling alleys, there are a variety of different finger hole sizes and weights available for you to choose from. These balls are typically made of hard plastic which is smooth enough to keep the ball rolling in a relatively straight line. The weight of the balls are referred to by numbers printed on them denoting their weight in pounds, while the size of the holes are referred to using letters from xs – xl denoting extra small to extra large with some variation found depending on where you bowl.

At the bowling alley, you will also receive a pair of special shoes called bowling shoes. These shoes are usually given to patrons to ensure that they don’t damage the sensitive floor of the lanes and so that they don’t slip over. Bowling shoes are found in a range of standard sizes to fit a range of patrons and can be traded in for your normal shoes at most 10 pin bowling establishments.

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