Bowling Rules for Beginners

Are you new to bowling and don’t know its rules? You’re probably not the first or the last, so there’s nothing better than knowing the rules of this fun and dynamic game played all over the world.

How to bowl: basic bowling rules and regulations

According to the International Bowling Federation (IBF), the 10 pin bowling rules in an approved bowling alley are as follows:


  • The pins are placed in the shape of an equilateral triangle in a 1-2-3-4 arrangement, leaving twelve inches (30 cm) between the centre of a pin and the centre of each of the nearest pins.


  • The balls have a maximum weight of 16 pounds (7.26 kg), and the player can choose the most appropriate one.


  • The bowling lanes are 1.05 m wide and 18.29 m long from the throwing line to the centre of the first pin.


  • A game of bowling consists of ten turns per player.
  • Each player shall throw two balls in each of the first turns, unless he or she scores a strike.
  • Each turn is to be completed by each player following a regular order.


  • One point is scored for each pin knocked down.
  • The number of pins knocked down in the first throw is marked in the top left-hand box of each square of the scoreboard, and the number of pins knocked down in the second throw is marked in the top right-hand box.
  • If none of the pins left standing after the first throw are knocked down in the second throw, a  is marked on the scoreboard.
  • A strike occurs if all the pins are knocked down. An X is marked in the top left-hand square of the scoreboard. The score for a strike is 10 plus the number of pins knocked down in the next two throws.
  • A spare occurs if all the pins that were still standing after the first throw are knocked down. It is marked with / in the top right-hand box of the scoreboard. The score for a spare is 10 plus the number of pins knocked down on the next throw.
  • If the player steps on or crosses the foul line, 0 is marked on the scoreboard.

How to improve your bowling skills

In addition to knowing the rules of bowling, you should know that bowling requires patience and practice. However, if you learn the following steps and put in the time, you will be able to bowl like a pro.

For instance, many people don’t know exactly what the dots and arrows on the lane are for, but they are extremely useful for giving the ball the desired spin and getting strikes and spares.

1. Stretch your body

Before starting the game, it is a good idea to stretch your body, especially your arms. It is important to run a little while moving the ball with your arm to avoid stiffness after a long game of bowling.

2. Maximum concentration

To throw accurately you have to concentrate only on throwing and knocking down the pins. Forget everything else, look at the pins and throw with all your strength. If you are not feeling well, avoid bowling because you will find it hard to concentrate and you will miss your target.

3. Run

Sprint across the alley and take a short run before throwing the ball. This will give you enough power to be more accurate.

4. Throw

In order to achieve a strike it is essential to take into account the weight of the ball. Don’t forget to check that your fingers are well positioned in its holes.

5. Precision

To throw like a pro, the arm must move with the ball as if it were a pendulum. The throw must be fluid from the start, nothing forced.

6. Footwear

Always wear bowling shoes, the soles of which are designed not to slip on the lane. Never use any other type of footwear.

By following these simple tips you will be able to make good throws that will help you get the most points to beat your rivals.

Bowling tips for beginners

Apart from the tenpin bowling rules and scoring regulations, it is essential to follow a number of tips to enhance the bowling experience:

  • It is compulsory to wear special footwear specifically designed for bowling. For hygiene reasons, the use of socks is also mandatory.
  • Out of courtesy, you must wait for the player in the lane on the right to finish throwing.
  • Do not eat or drink in the bowling area.
  • It is advisable to remain seated while another player starts his play.
  • It is dangerous to go over the foul line, as the lane is oiled in the first ⅔ of the lane and the player could slip.
  • The ball must slide at ground level, never throw it high or with excessive force.
  • Wait for the sweeper to remove the fallen pins after a throw and for the machine to plant the remaining pins before playing the next throw.
  • The ideal average ball weight for an adult male is 14 pounds (6.4 kg), with 13 pounds (5.9 kg) being the recommended weight for an adult female and 12 pounds (5.4 kg) for a child.
  • It is advisable to order shoes a half or full size larger than your usual size to ensure that you are more comfortable when playing and that they do not hurt.

Where to bowl in Gran Canaria

Swing Bowling, located at Holidayworld Maspalomas, is the largest (and only professional) bowling alley on the island. Here you can practice the rules of traditional bowling while enjoying the best food and drink and having fun and laughter with your friends and family.


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