Although most modern bowling alleys have scoring computers, it's important to know how to score bowling so you can understand the game better--and in case the computer makes a mistake. A bowling score sheet might feel overwhelming at first, but with a little practice you'll learn that it's easy to score bowling.
- Read over the bowling score sheet. The first column has the names of all the bowlers on a team. The next ten columns are numbered and represent the ten frames in a bowling game. Each frame has two throws. The last column is for each bowler's total score.
- Understand special symbols. An X represents a strike, or knocking down all ten pins on the first throw. A slash (/) represents a spare, or knocking down all ten pins in one frame. A dash (-) represents hitting zero pins. An F represents a foul, or stepping on the foul line while bowling. You must know these symbols to be able to score bowling.
- Mark the pins knocked down. In the upper left corner of each frame, mark the number of pins knocked down on the first throw of the frame. If the bowler got a strike, mark an X. In the box in the upper right hand corner, mark the pins knocked down in the second throw. Mark a slash for a spare.
- Calculate the score. If the bowler did not get a strike or spare, add the two throws together to get the score for the frame. Mark this bowling score in the main area of the frame. If the bowler got a strike, add these ten points together with the next two throws to calculate the score for the frame. For a spare, add the ten points together with the next one throw.
- Continue the process for each frame. If the bowler gets a spare or strike in the tenth frame, he will bowl another one throw (for a spare) or two throws (for a strike). Add these to the bowling score for the tenth frame as if they were a new frame.
- Add the score together. To score bowling for a single game, add the ten frames together for each bowler and mark the score in the final, total column. If you're bowling with teams, add the scores of each team member together to find the team score.