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Bowler  What They Do

Just the Facts


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dotThe bowler's target is a set of 10 pins set in a triangular fashion, with the lead pin out front as the "head pin." The object of the game is to roll the ball and knock down all 10 pins. The pins are situated at the end of a 60-foot wooden lane. How oily or dry a lane is can make a difference in how your ball reacts.

Knocking down all 10 pins at once is known as a "strike." Knocking down all 10 pins in two rolls of the ball is known as a "spare."

Each pin knocked down counts as one point, except for a strike, which counts as 10 points PLUS the total of the next two bowling frames on the score sheet. A spare counts for 10 points PLUS the total pins of the next bowling frame on the score sheet.

Bowling is scored by "frames." A game has 10 frames, or series of chances to bowl for a score. Bowling two strikes in a row is called a "double," while bowling three strikes in a row is called a "turkey."

The highest score available is 300 -- this is a perfect score, meaning you have bowled strikes in all 10 frames of the bowling score sheet.

dotIn the U.S., professional bowlers may join the PBA -- Professional Bowlers Association. Bowlers do not have to be American in order to join the PBA. Most PBA members live in the U.S., but they also have bowlers who come from as far away as Korea.

According to Diana Teeters, a former professional bowler from Louisiana, to succeed in this career you must not only be a well-trained athlete, you also must count yourself as an experienced traveler and have a strong mind. Teeters maintains that you also must remain ready to learn and hone your craft, while remembering that there is an element of entertainment involved, as well.

dotThe life of a touring professional bowler can be rigorous, both mentally and physically. Teeters notes that she has bowled as much as 42 games in three days, not taking into account all the practice shots required.

Physically, a professional bowler needs to maintain a regular exercise program, placing particular emphasis on the lower body. Mentally, bowlers must be able to handle the stress of competition and consistently having to perform at their best level.

Travel is also a large part of the professional bowler's life. According to Dave Schroeder of the PBA, weekly travel expenses can range from $750 to $1,000.

At a Glance

Play for profit

  • Bowlers make a living from the prize money won
  • You need good coordination and a love of traveling
  • Practice is more important than formal training