Ten-Pin Bowling – Rules


When a player crosses the foul line and touches the lane during the bowling, a foul is awarded to the player. In case of a foul, even if some pins are knocked down, those are not counted. A foul will be counted as a ball with zero score. If the player knocks down all pins in the second chance after the foul, it will be considered as a spare.

If less than 10 pins are knocked down in the second chance after a foul, it will be considered as an error. In case of a player scoring a foul in the second chance of a frame, only the score that has been scored in the first chance will be considered as the total score for that specific frame.

If a player scores a foul in the first chance of the 10th frame and then knocks down all 10 pins in the second chance, it will be considered as a spare and he/she will be given a third chance to play. The spare will be calculated from the last two balls. In case of a foul in the third ball of the 10th frame, only the scores of the first two balls of the 10th frame will be considered while totalling the score.

Based on the game rules, no appeal is allowed once the automatic machine signals for a foul or the judge declares a foul. If the automatic machine stops working, a human judge will be appointed by the officials to check the fouls. In league games, opponent captains can act as a judge or can appoint anyone else to check the fouls.


Dead Ball

In case of a dead ball, the chance is not counted and the player is given another chance to bowl. Cases where a ball is considered dead are −

  • While delivering the ball, if the player notices that some of the pins are missing from the set-up.

  • If a human pin setter interferes and removes any of the pins before player has rolled the ball or before the ball reaches the pins.

  • If a player bowls on the wrong lane out of turn.

  • If a player gets interfered with any pinsetter, moving objects or by any spectator before the rolling or during the delivery, he can ask for a re-spot of the pins.

  • When the ball comes in contact with any foreign obstacle.

Dead Ball

While playing, a player has to follow some basic bowling etiquettes like stop lofting excessively on the lane and refraining from using abusive languages or obscene gestures during the game. Wet shoes are not allowed as it damages the playing area. Players should be ready before their approach and shouldn’t delay the game while getting the set-up.