🥇 How to Keep Score in Bowling: The Proper Way [2020]

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In the early days, manual scoring was done to record scores in a bowling ball game. But as time progressed many leagues started using digital scoring to reduce hardships and chances of errors.

Scorecard Frames

It’s the scorecard frame with 10 frames in it whether it’s digital or manual. There are three possibilities in each frame. Open frame, Spare, and Strike.

  • If you fail to hit down all the pins on your first attempt it is called an Open Frame.
  • Spare means you have taken two chances to knock all the 10 pins, and
  • Strike means you have successfully knocked down all the pins on your first attempt.  

Some of the Commonly Used Bowling Ball Symbols

Before understanding how to score in a bowling ball game you have to know about some commonly used symbols in bowling ball games.

  • ‘X’ denotes a strike, which means you dislodged or knocked down all the ten pins on your first try.
  • ‘/’ denotes spare which means you have dislodged any remaining pins after the first shot.
  • ‘F’ denotes foul, which means your foot crossed the boundary line. You score zero on any foul shot despite knocking down all the ten pins.
  • ‘S’ denotes a split, it signifies a large gap between two pins making it difficult to hit and ping down the remaining pins.

What are the Steps to Keep Score in Bowling?

 

The first step of the bowling ball game comprises ten frames with a minimum score of zero and a maximum of 300. You will get two chances to hit ten pins in each frame. This is the basic scoring pattern in a bowling ball game. To do the scoring in a game you need to follow a specified method.


Understanding Scorecard Frames

Make a clear picture of the bowling scorecard and understand the scorecard rule of recording your scores.

  • Each scorecard is provided with a column to write the player’s name. To the right of the names, there are ten frames to record the player’s scoring points.
  • Use the scorecard frame that best suits the turn you are taking.
    • The row above the scorecard frame is a number. These numbers start from left to right representing frame numbers 1 to 10. Match the frame of each player with their corresponding turn. For example, use the first scorecard frame on your first turn, and for your sixth turn use the sixth scorecard frame, and likewise.
  • Mark the score on the upper left box.
    • Each player gets two chances to bowl in each turn except for the 10th frame. However, if the player knocks down all the ten pins in the first roll itself, they do not get the second roll.
    • Each player gets a chance to throw the ball maximum of 21 times per game.
  • The marking of an individual score of each roll is necessary. In the top left box of each frame, you have to enter the number of pins knocked down by you.
    • For example, if you hit 4 pins on your first roll, mark the number “4” on the top left box. 
  • The top right box in each frame is meant for the second roll’s score. When you turn out for your second throw, record the score of your second roll only. Do not enter the total score.
    • For example, if you knock 3 pins on your second roll and 2 pins on your second try your scoreboard will be marked only by the number “3” and not the total score “5”.
  • Indicate ‘X’ in a small box on the top right side to denote strike in your scoreboard.
    • If your scorecard is marked by the symbol ‘X’ means you hit all the ten pins on your first roll. The small box on the top right side is normally reserved for the score of your second roll turn except for the strike. 
  • Spare is represented by a slash(/) on the small box of the top right corner.
    • A slash on your scorecard frame denotes that you failed to hit all the pins on your first roll but you did it in your second roll. Keep a record of how many pins you knocked down in your first try in the upper center box.
      For example, if you hit 7 pins on your first roll and 3 pins on your second roll then note only 7 in the upper center box and slash in the upper right small box.
  • Denote your foul by indicating with ‘F’ on your scorecard frame.
    • If you cross the foul line on your first roll, mark ‘F’ in the upper center frame. And if you make the foul on your second roll mark ‘F’ in the small box on the upper right side of the frame. 
  • Denote dash ‘-’ if you fail to knock down any pin.
    • If you fail to knock down any pin then denote it by a dash ‘-’. For example, if your ball misses the pins, or goes in the gutter on your first roll then your scorecard will be marked by the symbol dash ‘-’ in the upper center frame. For the second roll mark ‘-’ in the small box on the upper right side of the frame.

Calculate your score between your turn

  • Add the score of your two rolls of a turn. If you had already scored 20 and the number at the top of the scorecard is 2 and 3, you have to calculate it as 5 (2+3). Then add this number to your current score and your total score will be 25.  Write this number at the bottom of the respective frame.                    
  • To calculate the score of a spare, add 10 to the number of pins knocked down on the next roll.
    • In a bowling ball game, a spare is calculated when you hit the remaining pin on the second roll of your turn. For example, if you hit 3 pins in the first roll and the remaining 7 pins in the second roll, it is calculated under spare. A spare can be between 10 to 20 depending on your second roll.
      For example, if you knock down 6 pins on the first roll of the next turn, your spare score will be (10+6) i.e. 16.
  • Scoring of the strike is done by adding 10 to the total of the next turn.
    • If you hit down all the pins on your first turn the value of strike may range from 10 to 30.
      For example, if you strike in the first roll of the first turn and score 2 and 3 in the second turn. Your score after the first frame will be (10+2+3) i.e. 15 and the score after frame 2 will be (15+5) i.e. 20.
    • If you miss all the pins in the first roll and successfully knock down all the pins in the second roll, it’s marked as a spare and not as a strike.                
  • In the tenth frame, there are three boxes. if you roll a spare or strike in this frame, use only the box in the top right corner. The third box in the tenth turn will help you to decide the value of spare or strike in the tenth turn.
  • The winner is determined by comparing the final score. Whichever player scores high win the game.

Final Words

Though with the advent of the digital scoreboard, manual scoring has become almost redundant yet there are some tournaments where manual scoring is still used. Therefore, knowing how to score will be helpful for you to track your correct score at any given point in time.

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