Introduction to Tenpin Bowling

Tenpin bowling is an indoor sport played all around the world on a professional, amateur and social basis. It is a sport that is very simple to learn, but difficult to master.

Players propel or roll a ball by hand down a wooden lane in an attempt to knock down a target - 10 pins arranged in a triangular pattern. The game is divided into 10 rounds called frames. Players score points according to the number of pins they knock down.

Tenpin bowling requires a high level of hand-eye co-ordination and skill that is comparable to other technical sports, such as golf or snooker.

Bowling is a popular participation sport, with recreational bowling alleys commonly found in cities or towns worldwide. Even amateur bowlers have felt the thrill of scoring a "strike" - knocking all 10 pins down with one ball. At the top level, however, competitors aim to achieve this time and time again.



The earliest record of any type of bowling game dates from around 3,000BC in ancient Egypt, while Polynesians have enjoyed their version of the sport for several centuries.

In Europe, bowling originally developed in Germany. The Dutch then developed the game and, by 1650, the sport encompassed nine pins set in a diamond pattern toward the end of a 18.28m lane (track).

Tenpin bowling, which features a 60ft lane and pins set in a triangle pattern, is believed to have derived from the Dutch version.

Scoring for strikes and spares came about during the mid-century when heavier bottle-shaped pins replaced the earlier tall and slender version.

European colonists took the game to the US, where it became hugely popular. When ninepin bowling was specifically banned in 1841 following problems with gambling, people got around this by simply adding an extra pin, and tenpin bowling was born.

The American Bowling Congress was formed in New York City in 1895 and published the first set of rules; the Women's International Bowling Congress followed 22 years later.

The world governing body for both tenpin and ninepin, the Federation International de Quilleurs (FIQ), was formed the same year.

Today, the sport is played in more than 90 countries worldwide and the FIQ continues to lobby strongly for it to feature in the Olympics.

Bowling was introduced into the 8th Asian Games in 1978 in Bangkok, Thailand.



A game of tenpin bowling consists of 10 frames, in which each bowler is given two chances to knock down the pins. If the bowler scores a "strike" by knocking them all down on the first ball, the frame is over.

If one or more are left standing, then the player has a second ball to try to knock the rest down before moving onto the next frame. If the the player knocks the remaining pins down with the second ball, this is called a "spare".

To score the game, one point is awarded for every pin knocked down, with a bonus system for strikes and spares. For a strike, the player scores double on his next two balls. For a spare, the player scores double on his next ball only.

These bonuses are added to the score for the initial frame. For example, the most that can be scored for a single frame is 30 (10 for the initial strike and 10 bonus points each for the next two successive strikes.)

Successive combinations of strikes and spares can make scoring complicated, so most alleys have a computerised scoring system.

If a player achieves a strike in the 10th frame, he is awarded two extra balls to earn his bonus point, while a 10th frame spare earns a single extra ball.

Twelve successive strikes score a maximum of 300; this does occur at the game's highest levels