Ten-pin bowling

From Academic Kids

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Bowling ball and two pins

Ten-Pin Bowling is a game with a simple aim—knock down as many targets as possible by rolling a ball down a wooden pathway. The game is made more difficult by gutters which run along either side of this pathway (called the "lane"). If a ball falls into this gutter, no targets will be hit, and therefore no score will be acquired.



A game of Ten-Pin Bowling is divided into ten rounds (called "frames"). In a frame, each player is given two opportunities to knock down the skittle targets (called "pins", arranged in a Tetraktys). He or she rolls the first ball at the pins. Whatever pins are knocked down are counted and scored. Then the player rolls a second ball at any remaining targets. In the event that all ten pins were razed with the first ball (a "strike"), the player receives points and a bonus, and play passes to the next competitor. A player has no more than two balls to play in each frame (one exception applies, see below), so even if he or she fails to knock over any pins, after having taken two shots, play passes to the next competitor.

The ten pins are usually automatically set by machine into a triangle with four pins in the back row, then three, then two, and finally one in the front at the centre of the lane. Obviously, due to the spacing of the pins, it is impossible for the ball to strike every one, therefore a tactical shot is required, which would result in a chain reaction of pin hitting pin. In order to count, the pin must be knocked over entirely; in unlucky circumstances, a pin may wobble furiously, yet come to rest upright, thus not being scored.

There are generally two primary styles of rolling the ball down the lane. Most newer players play by throwing the ball straight, hopefully into the 1-3 pocket for right-handed bowlers or the 1-2 pocket for left-handed bowlers. More experienced bowlers usually develop a hook, in which their ball heads straight down the edge of the lane near the gutter for some distance with some spin which makes its path curve into the pocket. Some extremely young or amateur players who have difficulty connecting with the pins otherwise employ a granny-style technique, using both hands and swinging the ball forward from in between their legs. This kind of style has the bowler start right up against the foul line, where more conventional styles either use a four or five step approach.


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A typical bowling alley

In general, one point is scored for each pin that is knocked over. So if a player bowls over three pins with the first shot, then six with the second, the player would receive a total of nine points for that frame. If a player knocks down 9 pins with the first shot, but misses with the second, the player would also score nine.

In the event that all ten pins are knocked over by any one player in a single frame, bonuses are awarded.

  • Strike: When all ten pins are knocked down with the first ball (called a strike), a player is awarded ten points, plus a bonus of whatever is scored with the next two balls. In this way, the points scored for the two balls after the strike are scored twice.
Frame 1, ball 1: 10 pins (strike)
Frame 2, ball 1: 3 pins
Frame 2, ball 2: 6 pins
The total score from these throws is: 10 + (3+6) + 3 + 6 = 28
A player who scores multiple strikes in succession would score like so:
Frame 1, ball 1: 10 pins (strike)
Frame 2, ball 1: 10 pins (strike)
Frame 3, ball 1: 4 pins
Frame 3, ball 2: 2 pins
The score from these throws is:
  • Frame one... 10 + (10 + 4) = 24
  • Frame two... 10 + (4 + 2) = 16
  • Frame three... 4 + 2 = 6
TOTAL = 46
US Air Force Chief James A. Martin bowling
The most points that can be scored in a single frame is 30 points (10 for the original strike, plus strikes in the two subsequent frames).
A player who bowls a strike in the tenth (final) frame is awarded two extra balls so as to allow the awarding of bonus points. If both these balls also result in strikes, a total of 30 points (10 + 10 + 10) is awarded for the frame.
  • Spare: A "spare" is awarded when no pins are left standing after the second ball of a frame. I.e., a player uses both balls of a frame to clear all ten pins. A player achieving a spare is awarded ten points, plus a bonus of whatever is scored with the next ball (only the first ball is counted).
Frame 1, ball 1: 7 pins
Frame 1, ball 2: 3 pins (spare)
Frame 2, ball 1: 4 pins
Frame 2, ball 2: 2 pins
The total score from these throws is: 7 + 3 + 4(bonus) + 4 + 2 = 20

A player who bowls a spare in the tenth (final) frame, is awarded one extra ball so as to allow for the bonus points.

Correctly calculating bonus points can be difficult, especially when combinations of strikes and spares come in successive frames. In modern times, however, this has been overcome with automated scoring systems, linked to the machines that set and clear the pins between frames. A computer automatically counts pins that remain standing, and fills in a virtual score sheet (usually displayed on monitors above each lane).

The maximum score in a game of ten-pin is 300. The maximum 3 game series score is 900, which has only been achieved a handful of times in bowling history. The odds of bowling a perfect game and/or series depend on the condition of the lanes and the skill of the bowler. It is not something that is easily accomplished. This is scored by bowling twelve strikes: one for each frame and one for each of the two bonus balls in the tenth frame. In this way, each frame will score thirty points. (see above—Scoring: Strike).


Lanes in a bowling alley
Lanes in a bowling alley

The regulations listed here are generally based around regulations set by the United States Bowling Congress (formed by the merger of the American Bowling Congress and the Women's International Bowling Congress). They may not apply in all locales.

Lane Dimensions

The bowling lane is 60 feet (18.28 metres) from the foul line to the head pin (1-pin); of that distance, there are 15 feet (4.57 metres) from the foul line to the guide arrows. The lane is 42 inches (106.7 cm) wide and normally consists of 39 wooden boards or a synthetic material. The bowling lane has two sets of approach dots; from the foul line back to the first set of approach dots is 12 feet (3.65 metres) and to the second set of approach dots is 15 feet (4.57 metres) (an additional 3 feet/91 cm).

Ball Regulations

For competition bowling, a ball must be made of a completely solid material and its weight must be distributed evenly. The circumference of the ball must not be more than 27 inches (68.6 cm), and the ball cannot weigh more than 16 pounds (7.26 kg). The ball must have a smooth surface over its entire circumference except for holes or indentations used for gripping the ball, identification letters and numbers, and general wear from normal use.

External links

fr:Bowling it:Bowling


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