Strike (bowling)

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A ten-pin bowling score sheet showing how a strike is scored

A strike is a term used in bowling to indicate that all of the pins have been knocked down with the first ball of a frame. On a bowling score sheet, a strike is symbolized by an X.[1]


When all ten pins are completely knocked down with the first ball (called a strike and typically rendered as an "X" on a score sheet), a player is awarded ten points, plus a bonus of whatever is scored with the next two balls. In this way, the points scored for the two balls after the strike are counted twice.

Frame 1, ball 1: 10 pins (strike)
Frame 2, ball 1: 3 pins
Frame 2, ball 2: 6 pins
The total score from these throws is:
  • Frame one: 10 + (3 + 6)= 19
  • Frame two: 3 + 6 = 9
TOTAL = 28

Strike scoring works similarly for five-pin bowling, except strikes are worth 15 points rather than 10 (as the pins are scored with the values of 2, 3, 5, 3, and 2).

Consecutive strikes[edit]

Two consecutive strikes are referred to as a "double" (or a "Barney Rubble" to rhyme) aka the "rhino". Three strikes bowled consecutively is known as a "turkey". Any longer string of strikes is referred to by a number affixed to the word "bagger," as in "four-bagger" for four consecutive strikes. ESPN commentator Rob Stone created the name "hambone" to describe four consecutive strikes.[2]

When a player is "on the strikes", a string is often referenced by affixing "in a row" to the number of strikes bowled consecutively. Six strikes in a row are sometimes referred to as a "six pack".[3] Six strikes and nine strikes in a row can also be referred to "wild turkeys" and "golden turkeys" respectively. Any string of strikes starting in the first frame or ending "off the sheet" (where all of a bowler's shots from a certain frame to the end of the game strike) are often referred to as the "front" or "back" strikes, respectively (e.g. the 'front nine' for strikes in frames 1-9, or the 'back six' for strikes in frames 7, 8, and 9 with a turkey in the tenth). Twelve strikes in a row is a perfect game; 36 consecutive strikes constitutes a 900 series.

A player who scores multiple strikes in succession would score like so:
Frame 1, ball 1: 10 pins (strike)
Frame 2, ball 1: 10 pins (strike)
Frame 3, ball 1: 4 pins
Frame 3, ball 2: 2 pins
The score from these throws is:
  • Frame one: 10 + (10 + 4)= 24
  • Frame two: 10 + (4 + 2) = 16
  • Frame three: 4 + 2 = 6
TOTAL = 46
The most points that can be scored in a single frame is 30 points (10 for the original strike, plus strikes in the two subsequent frames)which is a perfect game.
A player who bowls a strike in the tenth (final) frame is awarded two extra balls so as to allow the awarding of bonus points. If both these balls also result in ten pins knocked down each, a total of 30 points (10 + 10 + 10) is awarded for the frame. These bonus points do not count on their own, however. They only count as the bonus for the strike.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (2013). "How to Bowl a Strike". Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  2. ^ Jeff Goodger (2013). "Strings of Strikes". Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  3. ^ PBA (2012). "Professional Bowlers Association: Bowling Lingo". Professional Bowlers Association. Retrieved 2012-12-01.