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Bowling Formats (Page 3 of 5)

1- History & Object
2- The Essentials (Scoring, Etc.)
3- Formats (Open, League, Etc.)
4- Alley diagram
5- Glossary of Bowling Terms


Bowling formats

Open bowling: Recreational bowling performed by millions of people every year.

Leagues: A common league format is to create teams of four bowlers that face different teams in the league each week. Each team typically bowls three games and the team with the highest combine score of all four members wins the game. One league point is given for each game won. Some leagues award a 4th point for the most overall points for all three games. League points accumulate throughout the season to determine league standings. Recreational leagues often use handicaps to even out the teams.

Amateur: High school and college formats vary at each competition. Many competitions feature the Baker System, where a team of 5 players rotate turns and each bowler scores 2 frames of a game for the team. Some competitions are similar to league bowling and have each bowler bowl a full game and use the combined team score to determine the winner of each game. Other competitions feature individual bowlers in match play, a head to head competitions where the bowler with the higher score advances to the next round.

Professional: Professional tournaments usually feature several days of qualifying games where as many as 5-9 games are bowled a day and the top overall scoring players advance (usually 24 or 32 bowlers). The remaining bowlers then switch to match play and the winner advances to the next round, while the loser is eliminated.

The only equipment that a bowler needs is a bowling ball and bowling shoes. Bowling balls typically weigh 15 pounds and have three holes—two finger holes and a thumb hole. Youth balls can be as light as 6 pounds. Bowling shoes have a smooth surface on the soul of the toe that allows a bowler to slide as he bowls the ball. While most lanes provide balls and rental shoes, serious bowlers opt to wear their own bowling shoes, and often have several balls.

Recreational vs. advanced bowling:
Advanced bowlers average over 200 points and rarely leave an open frame. These players bowl with a spin that sends the ball in a hooking pattern down the lane. From this angle, the ball has the potential to hit more pins. Advanced bowlers have balls that are custom fit to their hands so that their fingertips barely insert into the ball. The balls are also counterbalanced and have a reactive surface to create a larger break. Bowlers often carry several balls for different circumstances, such as to pick up spares or for different lane conditions. Unlike in recreational bowling, in professional and college tournaments, the lanes often have different oil patterns that increase the difficulty of the game.

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