Tenpin Bowling

WTGF Sports

General Sport Description

Tenpin bowling, which is commonly referred to as “bowling,” is a sport in which a player rolls a heavy bowling ball down a long and narrow wooden or syntenic lane towards 10 pins placed at the end of the lane. The 10 pins are positioned evenly in four rows in an equilateral triangle at the far end of the lane. The lane is around 105 centimetres wide and 18 meters long.


The object of the game is for players to score points by knocking down as many pins as possible using the bowling ball. The players need to hold the ball using the three finger drills on the ball. Based on the number of pins knocked out, the player gets points. At the end of ten rounds, the player who scores maximum points becomes the winner.


On each side of the bowling lane sits a gutter, a dipped trench that is usually made out of rubber or plastic. When a bowling ball goes off the lane it falls into the gutter and is considered a miss for that throw, resulting in no points added to the current score.

There is a foul line near the bowler, which is located where the approach area stops and the lane begins if the bowler crosses the line, it is considered a foul.


In the modern game, players roll two balls each frame (or round) to knock down the 10 pins.  There are ten frames (rounds) in a game.  Players receive the number of pins knocked down, with multipliers if they are able to knock down all ten pins with one or two balls.  The last (tenth) frame allows a third ball, if all of the pins are knocked down with the first or the first two balls.  Knocking down all ten pines with the first ball is called a strike; knocking all ten down with two balls in a frame is called a spare. The strike bonus is 10 plus the next two balls rolled and a spare is 10 plus the next ball rolled.  The maximum possible score is 300 which is known as a perfect game.


Bowling is one of the oldest pastimes in the world, although no one really knows exactly how it got started. British Anthropologists have discovered bowling balls in Egyptian graves dating around 3200 BC. Some historians also claim that it originated in Germany in around 300 A.D. The first written reference of the game signals to 1366. King Edward III of England banned this game so that the troops concentrate more on archery practice.


In all its many forms, one feature that has remained consistent is over time: you have a round object, and you roll it along the ground to knock down another object. When you succeed in knocking down the object, you score. It is as simple as that. Over the thousands of years, the game of ten pin bowling has evolved to what we have now—a game that consists of a modern bowling ball, bowling lane and 10 bowling pins and a game that consists of ten frames.

History in World Transplant Games

Tenpin bowling was added to the World Transplant Games in 2009 in the Gold Coast, Australia.  Approximately 150 bowlers competed at the 2009 event.  Since then, the sport has grown tremendously, with a doubles event added. At the last World Transplant Games in Newcastle in 2019, a team event was added, with teams from over 10 countries.  Tenpin bowling is one of the largest sports of the summer World Transplant Games.

Why participate in this sport

Tenpin Bowling is a skills based sport that promotes has many physical and mental health benefits. This low impact sport improves general fitness and movement whilst developing motor skills such as coordination and balance. It can be played by anyone of any age, from individuals through to small and large groups.


“One of my rehabilitation sports returning back to health after my transplant in January 2015 was Tenpin Bowling, because it was safe, easy to learn and great fun, that I could enjoy with my family. The local Bowling Centre Manager was extremely supportive, helping me to understand the basics.  I was hooked and loved it every time I went to play, on my own or with others. Six months after my transplant, I competed in my first British Transplant Games in Newcastle. This was an incredible experience and I even got a Bronze for my efforts. The following month I went to Argentina for the World Games and was blown away by the amount of people taking part in this sport, happy to share their experience and help newbies like me. I was very overwhelmed and even won a Gold medal which just made me so emotional, thinking of what my Donor Family had given me from the decision they made.”  

Simon Elmore – Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Participating At A World Transplant Games


The following events take place at a Summer Games:

  • Men’s and women’s singles
  • Men’s and women’s pairs
  • Mixed pairs (no age groups)
  • Boys’ and girls’ singles
  • Baker team (5 person teams, no gender or age group)

For a full overview of the Format and Sports Rules for competing at a World Transplant Games – click here

How to get started

Bowling is a simple game to learn and play. To get started, search online to find a local bowling alley in your area that suits your needs. Try find a place that offers bowling lessons or has beginner bowling leagues.


Bowling is fun for the entire family, so you can easily practice with others to learn techniques and improve your game.


At its essence, all you must do is roll your ball and knock down the 10 pins in as few shots as possible.


As with everything, practice makes perfect! The more you practice, you will be able to develop a more consistent stroke, greatly improve your scores and also appreciate the nuances of the sport.

Take a look at our Tenpin Bowling Basics for Beginners

Follow our Beginner Bowling video from Simon Elmore – An enthusiastic Transplant Athlete from Great Britain:


Help us to make a difference #PoweredbytheGiftofLife