How to Score Bowling Sheets

by Morgan O'Connor

In bowling, you roll a ball down a wood lane to knock down the pins at the end. After a few tries, the reality of the game becomes obvious. Getting the ball to go exactly where you want it to is trickier than it appears. For the beginning bowler, keeping track of the score can be nearly as hard as getting the ball to actually hit those pesky pins. Many bowling alleys provide electronic scoring. If you don't have that option, learn to use a score sheet instead.

Items you will need

  • Pencil
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Step 1

Observe the score sheet to become familiar with it. It should contain 11 relatively large rectangles. The first of these is for your name. The next nine rectangles each contain one smaller rectangle in the upper-right corner, while rectangle 10 contains three rectangles across the top.

Step 2

Bowl one ball. Count the pins it knocked down and write this number in the top-left corner of the second rectangle (the first one that does not contain your name). This number should be beside rather than inside the smaller box in this rectangle. The one exception to this rule: if you knock down all the pins -- called a strike -- draw an "X" in the smaller box. For example, if you hit six pins, write "6" in the upper-left corner of the second rectangle.

Step 3

Bowl another ball. Let's say this one knocks down three pins. Write "3" in the smaller box within the second rectangle. Add up the two numbers you wrote down for the total number of pins you hit this turn in the lower section of the second rectangle. In this example, you would write "9." If you managed to hit the remaining four pins, thereby taking out all the pins with your second ball (this is called a spare), make a "/" in the box in the upper-right corner of this rectangle. If you got either a strike or a spare, leave the main portion of the rectangle blank for now.

Step 4

Repeat this process for each person you are playing against. Everybody gets to bowl two balls or until they have knocked down all the pins, whichever comes first.

Step 5

Bowl another ball when it is your turn. If you do not get a strike, bowl another ball. Score the points for this turn the same way you did for the first turn, but in the third rectangle this time. For now, though, only fill out the blank space and the empty box at the top of this rectangle. For example, if you got a 6 and a 2 on this turn, write the 6 into the empty space and the 2 into the box. The only tricky part here has to do with strikes and spares. If you get a strike (that means you knocked down all the pins with your first ball), you add those 10 points -- one for each pin -- to any other points you get in your next two balls. If you get a strike, you add those ten points to any other points you get in your next ball. If you got a strike in your first turn, then bowled a 6 and a 2 in your second turn, you would have a total of 26 points: 10 from the strike itself, 8 from your second turn and 8 (6 plus 2) from your next two balls after the strike. If you bowled a spare in your first turn and the same second turn, you would have 24 points: 10 from the spare, 8 from your second turn and 6 from your next ball after the spare. In these cases, you would write the appropriate number for the strike or spare (18 and 16 for the examples above) in the main portion of the first rectangle.

Step 6

Add together your total points from the first frame (which is the first box after the one in which you wrote your name) and your current, second turn. In the example, this should be 17 -- 9 from your first turn and 8 from your second turn.

Step 7

Continue taking turns and scoring the game until you reach the frame 10 (which is the rectangle 11 when you count the one in which you wrote your name). This frame has three boxes across the top. These are there in case you get a strike or a spare on your 10th turn. If you do, you get a third ball and will need the third box to mark down that score.

About the Author

Morgan O'Connor has been writing professionally since 2005. Her experience includes articles on various aspects of the health-insurance industry for health-care newsletters distributed to hospitals as well as articles on both international and domestic travel.

Photo Credits

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