Sport Rulebook

Bowling Terminology 101: A Guide for Kids and Beginners

Bowling Terms for Kids

Bowling is a fun and exciting game that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. For kids, it’s a great way to develop their hand-eye coordination and balance.

Before your kids hit the lanes, make sure they understand the basic bowling terms.


The bowling ball is the most essential item in the game. It comes in different weights and designs.

The weight is crucial because it affects how easily the ball can be thrown down the lane. For kids, the best ball to use is one that is lightweight and easy to grip.

The design may appeal to their personal preferences, although they should choose a ball that is comfortable to use.


The gutters are the grooves on both sides of the lane. The ball can fall into them if it’s thrown too far to one side.

Kids should aim to keep the ball in the middle of the lane to avoid this from happening.

Perfect Game

A perfect game means that a bowler has knocked down all ten pins in each of the ten frames, resulting in a score of 300. It’s a rare feat that requires concentration, skill, and a bit of luck.

Encourage your kids to aim for a perfect game but remind them that it’s not easy to accomplish.


The pins are the big white objects that are arranged in a triangle shape at the end of the lane. They serve as the target for the ball to knock over.

There are ten pins in total, with each representing a specific score.


A spare happens when a bowler knocks down all ten pins after the second attempt, which is the next throw after failing to knock down all the pins in the first throw. It’s a good way to recover from a less successful first throw, as it earns the bowler an extra score.


A strike happens when all ten pins are knocked down during the first attempt. It’s the most desired outcome in the game because it earns the bowler a significant point for the score.

Striking also generates excitement among both the player and the audience.


Lane Terms

Bowling lanes consist of various parts that combine to create the playing surface. Understanding the different terminologies involved can help individuals develop their skills in the game.

Here are some essential bowling lane terms.


The approach is the area behind the foul line. This is where players step and deliver the ball.

The approach should have a smooth surface to ensure that kids can step securely and confidently when delivering their throw.


Arrows are fixed in the lane indicating spots, usually two, that bowlers aim for when delivering their throws. They are essential for the delivery of the ball since they provide a reference point for the bowler.

Back End

The back end is the far portion of the lane. It’s where the ball should hook to knock down the pins successfully.

The back end usually has the most hook, which makes it a crucial factor in the game, especially for more advanced players.

Ball Rack

The ball rack is the area where balls are kept before and after rolling. When a game starts, the balls are placed on the rack until it’s the player’s turn to use them.

Once the player is finished, the ball is returned to the rack until it’s next needed.

Ball Return

The ball return is the part under and between the lane that brings balls back to the player. After the player has bowled their ball, the ball return transports the ball back to the player.

A well-functioning ball return is essential to avoid delays and disruptions during the game.

Ball Track

The ball track is the area of the lane where the ball is thrown. The ball should roll on this section in a straight path to knock down the pins effectively.

The ball track is where the lane oil, known as conditioner, is applied to ensure that the ball can roll smoothly.


The lane oil is referred to as conditioner. It is applied to the ball track to maintain the lane’s condition, which affects the ball’s movement and speed.

Maintaining the correct amount of conditioner on the lane is crucial for the players to have consistent results in their throws.


Dots are the marks between the foul line and the arrows. The dots are used as reference points for bowlers as they aim their throw.

Some bowlers use the dots as a guide to where they should be standing to keep the ball on the ball track.

Foul Line

The foul line is the line that separates the approach from the beginning of the lane. When the bowler is delivering their ball, they need to stay behind the foul line to avoid committing a foul.

Foul balls do not count towards the score and may cost the player their turn.


Kickbacks refer to the side boards surrounding the pins. The pins rebound off these kickbacks, which can send them flying into the gutter.

Understanding how the kickbacks function can help players to determine how to hit their targets while avoiding the gutters.


The lane is the playing surface, where bowlers deliver their throws. The lane is typically made from a series of hardwood boards that are sanded to create a smooth surface.

Maintaining the lane’s quality is crucial for the players to achieve consistent results. Mid


The mid lane is the middle third of the lane.

It’s where the ball should roll to knock down the pins most effectively. Understanding how to position themselves for the mid lane can help players improve their accuracy in knocking down pins.

Pin Deck

The pin deck is the area at the end of the lane where the pins are located. It’s where the pins are set up to form the triangle shape.

The pin deck should be level and free from debris to ensure that the pins react appropriately when hit.


The pit is the area beneath the pin deck where the pins fall after being knocked down. It’s designed to cushion the impact, thereby protecting the pins from damage.


Bowling is a game that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Understanding the terminologies used in the game is the first step towards becoming a better player.

Whether you’re a seasoned player or new to the game, knowing these terms can help you develop your skills and enhance your experience on the lanes. So, next time you’re bowling, impress your friends by showing off your newfound knowledge of bowling terms.

3) Bowling Scoring Lingo

Bowling scoring lingo can be confusing for beginners, but understanding these terms will help improve your scoring and strategy. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most commonly used scoring lingo in bowling.


A bagger occurs when a bowler gets consecutive strikes for at least three times. If a bowler gets four consecutive strikes, it’s known as a four-bagger, and five consecutive strikes is a five-bagger.


Chop is when a bowler goes for a spare but ends up knocking down only one pin while leaving the one next to or behind it up. This can be frustrating for the bowler because they were hoping to get a spare.


Count is the number of pins knocked down in the following frame. For example, if you knocked down six pins in the first frame, the count for the second frame would be the number of pins knocked down in that frame plus six.


A foul is when the bowler touches or crosses the foul line. If the bowler fouls, the score for that throw doesn’t count, and the ball is returned to the bowler.


A frame is a turn that each bowler has. There are ten frames in each game of bowling.


Handicap is a change made to scores to even the competition. This is done by adding a certain number of pins to a lower-scoring player’s score to create a fair match.


Minus is the number of pins scored below a 200 average. For example, if your average score is 180, a minus score would be fewer than 180 total pins for a game.



An open frame is a frame with neither a spare nor a strike. This means that the bowler wasn’t able to knock down all ten pins in their turn.

Open Bowling

Open bowling means playing for fun instead of in a competitive league or tournament.


Over refers to the number of pins scored over a 200 score. If your score is 220, this means you scored 20 pins over a 200 score.


Par refers to a 200 score. This score is neither below nor above the average score.


Plus is the number of pins scored over a score of 200. If your score is 220, this means you scored 20 pins over a 200 score.

Punch Out

Punching out is finishing the game with consecutive strikes. This is an exciting way to finish a game of bowling and can be a thrilling accomplishment for bowlers.


Sandbagging is purposely keeping the score low to gain a larger handicap. This isn’t allowed in organized bowling leagues and tournaments as it is seen as poor sportsmanship.


Scratch refers to the actual score received with no handicap added.



Six-Pack is getting six consecutive strikes. It is a popular term among bowlers and can mean a lot at times.


Tap occurs when a strike appears to be perfect, but one pin is left standing. It’s a frustrating occurrence for bowlers who thought they had a perfect throw.


A turkey is when a bowler gets three strikes in a row. This can be an exciting streak for a bowler and can help elevate their score.

Three Hundred (300) Game

A 300 game refers to a perfect game in bowling, meaning the bowler knocked down all ten pins in each of the ten frames, for a score of 300.


Vacancy is a fake score applied when a team is short-handed. This means that the team doesn’t have someone to fill their position, so they are given an average score for their missing player.

4) Bowling Strategy Terms

In bowling, having good strategy is key to performing well. Understanding the terminology used in bowling strategy can help you improve your game.


Action refers to pins flying and jumbling together. When a bowler throws their ball with enough power, it can create a chain reaction where pins crash into each other, which can help knock down more pins.


The beak is the center part of the headpin. This area is challenging to hit, but if struck correctly, it can lead to more strikes.


The bucket is a diamond-shaped group of pins consisting of four pins. The bucket is challenging to hit but should be targeted with the correct strategy to avoid leaving any pins.

Double Wood

Double wood refers to two pins with one behind the other. This situation requires a specific strategy to hit both pins, usually by hitting one head-on and deflecting the ball towards the other pin.

Fast Eight

A fast eight is a turn that results in only eight pins being knocked down. This can be frustrating for a bowler as it can lead to an open frame and a lower score.

Greek Church


Greek Church is a split resulting in three pins on one side and two on the other. It’s called a

Greek Church because the configuration of the pins resembles the shape of a church.

Head Pin

The head pin is the 1 pin, and it’s the most important pin to hit. Hitting the headpin helps create a chain reaction that can knock down other pins.

High Hit

A high hit happens when the ball hits the 1 pin too much, usually resulting in a split. It’s essential to hit the head pin in the right spot for it to be effective in creating a chain reaction.


The kingpin is the 5 pin, centered in the middle of the pins. Hitting the kingpin correctly can help knock down other pins around it.


Leave refers to pins left standing after the first attempt. This can create a challenge for bowlers on their next turn as they try to hit the remaining pins.

Light Hit

A light hit occurs when the ball hits the side of a pin. This can result in fewer pins being knocked down, making it harder to achieve a strike or spare.


A messenger is when a pin comes across the lane and knocks down other pins. This can be an exciting occurrence for bowlers as it means they have a better chance of hitting all the pins.

Understanding the terminology used in bowling strategy can help you become more knowledgeable in the game and help you succeed on the lanes. Bowling is a fun game loved by people of all ages.

Understanding the basic bowling terms, scoring lingo, and strategy used in the game can significantly improve your chances of success. From pins and balls to different terminologies for scoring and strategy, this article has covered everything you need to know to become a more knowledgeable and successful bowler.

Remember to practice, stay open to learning, and most importantly, have fun on the lanes. FAQs:

Q: What is the highest score in bowling?

A: The highest score in bowling is 300, a perfect game. Q: What is a spare in bowling?

A: A spare is when all ten pins are knocked down after the second attempt. Q: What is a strike in bowling?

A: A strike is when all ten pins are knocked down during the first attempt. Q: What is sandbagging in bowling?


Sandbagging is when a bowler keeps their score low to gain a larger handicap. Q: What is an open frame in bowling?

A: An open frame is a frame in bowling where neither a spare nor a strike was achieved. Q:

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