7 Bowling Terms for Beginners, Bros & Dates

bowling terms for beginners

In most situations, it is NOT ideal to know too many bowling terms. Unless your a semi-pro putting yourself through college one bowling tournament at a time, you really shouldn’t complain to your buddies about the inconsistent oil pattern on the lane, or how you never seem to split the bedposts.  Sure if you enjoy the game you will need to learn some basic bowling terms, and there is a lot of weird stuff going on to be sure, but some of these terms are both bro appropriate and date appropriate, while some are not. We’re here to make sure you know the difference.

First off, if on a date, you will have to resist your urge to be an overly competitive a-hole. This will be harder for some of us than for others. If with friends, the opposite strategy is recommended. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, let’s start with the basics:

1) Frame: These are like innings for bowling. There are 10 frames in each game, and you get two throws per frame – unless you get a strike on your first throw. This bowling term is much more appropriate for use with your buddies. Don’t correct a girl to call them frames because she probably doesn’t care and you’ll out yourself as a douche.

2) Open Frame: If you fail to knock down all 10 bowling pins after your 2 throws per frame, you’ve got an open frame. These really kill your score, and should invoke a look of solid disappointment. Don’t be afraid to comment on the lane – maybe the wax pattern is a little inconsistent. Maybe your release was a little early. Use some terms you learn here today to make it sound like you know what you’re talking about, even though deep down you’re just happy you didn’t gutter both throws. In fact, if you’re on a date, don’t acknowledge open frames. Pretend like you don’t even know what these are.

3) Spare: If you knock down less than 10 pins with your first throw, but knock down all the remaining pins with your 2nd throw, you get a spare. The pins from your next throw will be added to this frames score. This should invoke a solid fist pump celebration in most cases, but not overconfident because outwardly you are expecting a strike with every throw.

4) Strike: This is when you knock down all 10 pins with your first throw. The pins from your next two throws will now be added onto your score for this frame. This is represented with an X, and is means for your best celebratory dance.  Don’t overdo it though, because we both know you suck at dancing, and you may accidentally get another strike. Also, if you didn’t already know what a “Strike” was then why are you even bowling?

5) Turkey: Three strikes in a row. You’re pretty much a badass when this happens. If your with your buddies, this is a good time for a degrading pelvic thrust, and maybe a comment about someones mother. With a date, this is a good chance to fake like you’re humble. Play it cool. But make sure and celebrate later when you’re alone, maybe doing that top celebratory dance we told you not to do last paragraph, because in all likelyhood you’ll never Turkey again.

6) Tenth Frame: The tenth and final frame of the game has a different set of rules. Instead of the usual frame where you get at most 2 throws, you can earn three throws in the tenth frame – if you start the tenth frame with a strike. You can potentially even get three straight strikes in the tenth frame. This is basically your last chance to “come from behind” and beat your buddies or date, and as humiliating as it might be to lose to your date, atleast you can play the “I let you win” card subtly to boost her self esteem and increase the likelyhood of future rendezvous.

7) Kegler: This is apparently the German word for bowler. This is a great term, but definitely not recommended to call a girl on a date, atleast not a first date.

With these 7 essential bowling terms for beginners, bros and dates, you should have your bases covered the next time you venture into a local 10 pin hotspot.

Written by
Former athlete, family man, self-proclaimed blogger, award winning event owner, and champion of all things sports.

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