How Bowling is Scored

If you watch some ten pin action at Stars & Strikes you’ll get an idea of how simple the game is. Its scoring system is also simple so you won’t have any problems keeping track of your performance.

What are the Frames?

Every bowler plays 10 frames for each game. You can throw the ball up to two times per frame. However in the final frame, you are allowed a third throw if you can come up with a spare or strike.

To put it another way, scores are totaled by adding up the pins that are knocked over in every frame. The running total is your score. However your score is affected by the strikes and spares.

Scores and Strikes

Your score increases significantly when you hit a strike, but why isn’t the total immediately displayed? The reason is your score depends on how you’ll do in the next game.

After scoring a strike, your score in the next frame gets added onto your strike total. So if you got a strike in the last frame but only knocked down 8 pins in the next, your total is 18, i..e 10 + 8.

Scores and Spares

Spare is scored similar to a strike. However, it only adds the total that you got in the first roll in the next frame. So if you got a spare and in the succeeding frame bowled a 4 and 3, your score will be 14 as only the 4 is added to your 10.

Tips for Higher Scores

  • Use a ball that you are comfortable lifting and rolling. A bigger ball is not always the best. Lots of pros go for a 15 lb, but it is okay to settle for something lighter if that is what you prefer.
  • Play with the correct posture. Hook shots and straights require different approaches and must be done properly for best results.
  • Go for the pocket. It is the space between the first and third pins if you’re right handed and the first and second pins if you’re left handed. Go for the pocket if you want to get that strike.


Scoring in bowling is easy to calculate and that’s one of the reasons why the game is fun to play. Unlike other games you don’t have to do a lot of figuring just to know where you stand, allowing you to focus on your game.

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