The highest score possible in ten-pin bowling is 300—that’s why it is referred to as the perfect game in bowling lingo. This feat only happens if a bowler bowls 12 consecutive strikes in a single game.
However, how is this possible when there are only 10 frames in a single bowling game? How do you get to 300 then?
First, you should understand that a strike counts as ten points plus the total of the next two shots. In layman’s terms, you can score 30 points in a frame.
Unlike the other frames, the 10th frame will require you to bowl two or three shots depending on your throws. Throw a spare and you get one more shot to knock down the spare; land a strike and you will have to get two more strikes in the next couple of shots to get to 300.
If the extra shots weren’t allowed in the 10th frame, you’d only have 10 strikes in a game and your total would amount to 270. You’d score 30 points in eight frames, 20 points in the ninth frame, and 10 in the 10th frame, bringing your total to 270.
The extra shots, also known as fill balls, allow you to reach 300 on the scorecard.
What are the Chances of a Perfect Game?
The odds of you scoring 300 points in a perfect game of bowling rest entirely on your shoulders and skill level.
Renowned mathematicians, using the laws of probability, have come up with a clinical estimate of how long it would take an average adult bowler and a professional to score the perfect game. Reports indicate that an average adult bowler has odds of 11,500:1 while a professional has 460:1.
Therefore, an average adult bowler can expect 1 perfect game every 11,500 games while a professional can get a perfect score every 460 games.
Of course, this estimate is just a ballpark figure and it would be remiss of me to dismiss a professional’s chance of scoring 300 every other game. After all, when you see them on the screen, it appears that they’ll land a strike every time, doesn’t it?
The probability, however, does bring to light how rare/difficult of a feat a perfect game is.
Being completely honest, there isn’t a blueprint to scoring 300 points. You either possess the skills to do so or you don’t.
I can’t definitively tell you how to score a 300 as it is above my paygrade, but I can give you bowling tips to help improve your chances.
3 Tried-and-Tested Tips to Bowl a Perfect Game
1. Maintain your composure
Without a doubt, a strong mental fortitude is paramount to helping you score 300. Take deep breaths between your shots to settle your nerves and relax your muscles. Focus on executing your uniform pre-shot routine perfectly.
Think of getting to 300 similar to how you would prepare yourself to climb a mountain.
You won’t get anywhere looking at the peak of the mountain. That would only remind you of the monumental task ahead and it would discourage you.
Instead, you should keep your head down and simply focus on taking one step at a time.
Mentally approach the perfect game the same way. Don’t worry about landing 12 strikes and getting to 300; focus on one shot at a time.
2. Aim for the pocket over and over again
To increase your chances of landing a strike, aim for the pocket over and over again. Shots that drive through the pocket (1, 3 pocket for righties; 1, 2 pocket for lefties) have much higher chances of knocking down all the pins on the deck.
Bowlers usually spin the ball and rely on a hook shot for a better angle to the pocket. Additionally, a hook shot has plenty of power behind it as well, resulting in greater pin carry action and giving bowlers favorable odds of landing a strike.
Aim to bowl hook shots to the pocket consistently without decreasing the power and speed of the ball.
3. Understanding the changing lane conditions
The lanes can transition mid-game; when that happens, you will need to make adjustments to your deliveries to hit the pocket and continue your strike spree. Knowing what to adjust is crucial at this point.
For instance, to counteract carry-down or oil breakdown in the lanes, you might need to recalibrate your alignment. You can also choose to add/lower revolutions on the ball or add/lower skid length as per the requirement of the lane conditions.
Other adjustments may include increasing or decreasing ball speed and spin and even changing the bowling ball for an alternative skid, hook, and roll pattern.
To make correct choices in your adjustments, you need to have a detailed understanding of numerous bowling elements such as alignment, lift control, and changes in delivery style. You should also be able to manipulate ball speed and movement and identify changing lane conditions.
With so many variables that come into play during a bowling game, it would be too much of an understatement to say that rolling a perfect game is easy.
However, owing to scientific advancements made to bowling balls and the widespread use of oil on lanes, it has never been easier than it is now to bowl a 300.
Don’t believe me? Well, how do you explain Hannah Diem’s record then?
Back in 2013, she became the youngest bowler to bowl a perfect game. Hannah was only 9-years old when she achieved that remarkable feat.
If a 9-year old can do it, surely it is only a matter of time before you do it as well. So, keep at it and don’t give up!