The Basics of Duckpins

Bowling Balls

Weight – Max. 3 lbs. 12 oz. 
Diameter – Min. 4¾ in. / Max. 5 in. 

Lanes

Approach – Minimum of 15 feet 
Lane Bed – 60 feet from foul line to head pin; a lane bed is not less than 41” wide. 

Pins

Height –  9 ½ in.
Diameter at base –  1 3/8 in.
Diameter at belly –  4 1/8 in.
Weight –  1 ½ lbs.

The pins are set in a 3-foot equilateral triangle, measuring from center of pin to center of pin, namely, 1-7, 7-10, 1-10 triangle.  The closest any two pins are to each other is 12 inches center to center.  The distance from the 1 to the 5 pin is 20 ¾ inches.

Definitions

Average - A bowling average is determined by dividing the bowler's total pinfall in a league by the number of games bowled in that league, dropping all fractions. 


Foul - A foul is committed when any part of the bowler's person or clothing touches the foul line or touches any point past the foul line, during or after release of the ball, this shall be considered a foul.  If any object falls from the bowler's person and breaks the light beam during or after release of the ball, this shall be considered a foul.  If the light beam is not broken, no foul shall be called.  Upon notification to a member of the opposing team, a player may cross over the foul line to remove any obstructions.  If, for whatever reason, a bowler goes over the line or touches any point beyond the line but does not release the ball, no foul shall be called.


Highest Average - The highest average attained in any one of several NDYA-sanctioned leagues in which the bowler competes.The following NDYA rules apply to all NDYA-sponsored leagues, tournaments, and events.  Please refer to the National Duckpin Bowling Congress for actual game rules.


Handicap - Method of equalizing competition.  Based on 80% of the difference between bowler's average and 160.  For example, 160 minus bowler's average of 65 = 95 x 80% = 76.


Loft - Any ball delivered in anger that, while in the air, passes the furthest ducktail, dot, arrow, or 15 ft.   

How to Score Duckpins

Scoring is simple if you know these fundamental rules:

1. A game consists of 10 frames.  Each box on the score sheet represents one frame.

2. Maximum number of balls rolled in each frame is three.

3. Add each frame’s score to the previous one so that the game score progressively increases.

4. If a strike is rolled – all 10 pins knocked down by the first ball, the bowler is through for that frame. A strike is designated by coloring the entire upper right corner in (see game 1, frame 2 below) or by placing an (X) in the upper right corner of the frame (see game 2, frame 4). A score of 10 is earned, plus the number of pins knocked down on the first two balls of the next frame.  The score for the strike frame is not entered until the first two balls of the next frame have been rolled. The maximum possible score for a frame is 30 – representing three strikes in a row (see game 2, frames 4-6).  When this occurs, repeat the scoring process for a strike in the second frame and that for a spare in the third frame. In game 2 below, the bowler rolled 6 pins down on the first ball, 1 on the second, and 2 on the third.

5. In the tenth frame, if a bowler gets a strike on the first ball, he resets and immediately rolls two additional balls.  He receives a score of 10 plus the number of pins knocked down with the additional two balls. In game 1 below, the bowler made a spare on. 

6. If a spare is rolled – all 10 pins knocked down by the first and second balls – the bowler is through for that frame. A spare is designated by coloring half of the upper right corner (see game 1, frame 3) or by placing a (/) in the upper right corner (see game 2, frame 8). A score of 10 is earned, plus the number of pins knocked down on the first ball of the next frame.  The score for the spare frame is not entered until the first ball of the next frame has been rolled.  The maximum possible score is 20 – a spare followed by a strike.

7. In the tenth frame, if a bowler gets a spare on the second ball, he resets and immediately rolls one additional ball.  He receives a score of 10 plus the number of pins knocked down with the additional ball.