Just how difficult is it to break 200 in 10-pin bowling?
I go bowling at least once a week here in Da Nang, Vietnam. It is the first time I have lived somewhere in Asia that had a bowling alley in the local community. In fact, there are 3 bowling alleys here and they seem to be reasonably popular. Once a week we basically lock down the entire lanes for our group of flunkies that we lovingly named DUMBO. None of us are particularly good, but we do have our moments. The top 5 people in the league probably have averages below 150 per game and I am probably a bit below that.
I am extremely inconsistent in my game and that is why I fail to have an average above 150. I might bowl near 170 one week and then the next, although not making any changes to my game, will barely break 100. I don't know why this is, it just is that way. Not many other people in our league manage to be so inconsistent as I am.
I am however, part of an elite group in DUMBO called the "200 club." These are the people that have managed to bowl a score over 200 in a single game. In the 3 years or so that DUMBO has been going on there are only 3 people that are in the 200 club out of perhaps 50 or 60 members that we have had over the years. This is because it is extremely difficult to get to 200 points. I have managed to do it 4 times in the past 3 years and I am proud of that and at the moment I have the highest score of anyone in the league for 2023 since I bowled a 200 last Thursday.
I BARELY made it to 200 and it was a tough journey that was filled a lot with luck since one of the strikes that I got was actually a mis-hit and I did not deserve all 10 pins. That's just the way it works sometimes though. Trust me when I say that there have been PLENTY of times where I have hit the pins right smack in the sweet spot and not gotten a strike... so it works both ways.
I am aware of the fact that this is a terrible image but we only had video since all the times in the past where I have taken a break to photo my score, I have ended up jinxing my streak.
If you look closely though you can see that in frame number 1, 5, and 6 I didn't get a strike or a spare. This is normally because since I bowl with a right-to-left curve, if I have any pins leftover on the right side of the lane it is very likely that I am not going to be able to hit them since I have to come dangerously close to going in the gutter to even have a chance at it.
There are 10 frames in a game of 10-pin bowling and in 6 of those frames I got a strike. Thankfully, and this is the reason why my score skyrocketed, these strikes were all back-to-back and 3 of them were in a row. What this meant was that in several frames, I got more than 20 points. In one of them (the leading frame on the 3 strikes in a row one) I got 30 points. In the 10th frame, which is the only frame that you can have up to 3 rolls, I got a strike on 2 of the 3. This was a seriously awesome finish, and not something that I can normally pull off. On most days, I am fortunate to get a few strikes in both games we play combined, let alone 7 strikes in one game.
I don't mean to over-analyze myself but I only managed a single spare in the entire game despite not having any splits at all. When you bowl with a right to left curve, splits are a lot less likely to happen because: physics. I simply failed to pick up single or 2 pin spare attempts. Had i managed to get one or even two of those converted, my score would have been above 230, which has never been done in the history of DUMBO and is something I have only managed to do ONCE in my entire life.
Keep this in mind: If you got 9 pins on your first ball and then picked up the other pin on your second ball in every single frame (which is really difficult to do) your maximum score is 190.
You cannot possibly break 200 without getting multiple strikes in a row and then also playing rather well in the other frames as well. In fact, getting strikes really aren't better than getting spares unless you get another strike afterwards. A strike followed by 9 pins total on both balls, is going to get you the same 19 point that you would get if you spared, then rolled a 9 on the next ball. Strikes just give you a bit of breathing room because it counts as 10 points plus your next 2 balls whereas a spare is 10 points plus your next 1 ball.
So while I am extremely happy that I bowled a 200, had it not been for the stellar play in the 10th frame where I bowled 2 of 3 balls for a strike, I wouldn't have gotten 200. I have no illusion that I am going to do this well next week either.
In fact, the last person before me to join the 200 club failed to break 100 points the very next week that he went bowling. He was so demoralized by this that he bitched out and has never been back to DUMBO ever since. You can rest assured that I am not going to do this.
Have never hit 200 in my life 🙄 I don't know what feeling is that. I simply didn't play enough to develop the skill to strike 🤣
There's one time I was so frustrated, purposely roll the ball to the side, it hit the gutter, bounces off and jump into the other gutter 🤣 never will I believe even gutter ball need skill.
a double gutter is pretty impressive. I didn't even know what was possible.
I had always felt kind of bad about not consistently getting over 200 when I was on a league. Now that I have seen your explanation, I realize just how difficult it is. Great job on hitting over 200. That really was an amazing game. We just had one of our HS bowlers throw a 300 game the other day. Crazy stuff!
getting close to 300 must be really stressful. When I was much younger I once got 6 strikes in a row starting with frame 1 and every time I went back up there I still didn't have confidence that I wasn't going to completely botch my release. I did end up getting the highest score of my life at 235 that day though.
Yeah, I can only imagine!
For so many months and years following DUMBO and your many victories, you must be getting good at bowling! You can see how your incredible skill would frustrate competitive people! ;)
I still remember my bowling adventure in Japan. A handful of shrooms and shopping bag full of beer made for a spectacle of 2 fat white guys having too much fun!
Japan has the largest bowling alley in the world I recently discovered. I hear they really love the game over there.
Well considering I’ve never done it before, I’d say it’s pretty freaking difficult. I think closest I’ve come is 180s.
we rarely see scores even that high when we go. Yesterday during our event we had only 3 people break 150. Thankfully, I was one of them.
That makes me feel a lot better about my skills level 😆
breaking 150 involves getting multiple strikes and spares in one game. It's halfway to a perfect game!
A lot of our potential participants are afraid to come with us because they think we are all going to be really good but they couldn't be more wrong about that. On any given Thursday at least half of the people fail to break 100. Even though I am in the top 5 players in our league even I have days where I don't get past that point. It happens!
Consistency along with regular practicing and you will find you will achieve this frequently. The once a week is holding you back from doing way better.
well the place I am contemplating to next doesn't even have a bowling alley so the glory days will be over then!