Whether you’re bowling with friends on a Friday night or are striving for perfection as a professional bowler, the pressure is always on to achieve the elusive 300 game.

Thousands of bowling balls roll down the lanes of a given bowling alley each day. Oftentimes, a perfect 300 score is nowhere to be found. Perfect games are hard work and take the best shots you’ve got, strung together to deliver the rarest feat in the spot.

So, what exactly is a 300 or perfect game? How do you make it happen? We’ve got all the answers for you to turn fun nights at the lanes into your brush with bowling history.

What Is A Perfect Game In Bowling?

The highest score possible in a game of bowling is 300. To complete a perfect game, a bowler must throw 12 strikes consecutively from the start to the finish of the game. A perfect game can occur during a league night, while open bowling with your family, or while playing in an amateur or professional bowling tournament. Hitting the vaunted 300 bowling score is as rare as it gets, but a little bit of bowling knowledge could go a long way towards getting you there.

8 Common Questions About Perfect Games At The Bowling Alley

Why does it take twelve strikes to roll a 300 game?

In a game of bowling, rolling a strike in frames one through nine ends the frame. In the tenth frame, you need three strikes to finish off the frame in a perfect fashion. Add the nine strikes in frames one through nine to the three necessary for perfection in the tenth, and you get twelve. It’s not a usual feat for a reason!

How common is a 300 in bowling?

For a normal adult bowler, the odds of bowling a perfect game in both leagues and open bowling is around 11,500-to-1. For kids, these odds only get longer depending on the number of games they’ve bowled. Professional bowlers are on a different plane of skill altogether, with the average record of pro including a perfect game every 460 games or so.

Who is the youngest bowler in history to throw a perfect game?

The youngest bowler to throw a sanctioned perfect game is Hannah Diem. Diem threw a perfect game at the age of 9 years, 6 months back in 2013.

What are the best lane conditions to roll a 300 game?

Most bowlers who’ve managed to throw a perfect game in open bowling or league bowling settings have thrown them with the help of a normal house shot. On a house shot pattern, most of the oil is concentrated in the middle of the lane with less and less going towards the gutters. This helps bowlers find a line to the pin pocket and continue to hit it.

Has anyone ever rolled three perfect games in a row?

Yes. According to the latest data provided by the United States Bowling Congress, 36 bowlers have bowled a total of 37 different sanctioned 900 series since 1997. It doesn’t even happen once a season in professional bowling and semi-professional bowling leagues. It’s the rarest of the rare when it comes to bowling perfection.

Has there ever been a 300 tie in bowling?

The first sanctioned 300 tie in Professional Bowling Association history occurred on July 7, 1981. Pete Weber and Tom Baker dueled to a 300 draw in the PBA’s 1981 Denver Open. Since then, 300 bowling game ties have happened irregularly throughout the years.

Is it possible to get a 299 in bowling?

Yes. To throw a 299 in a game of bowling, you have to start your game with eleven of a possible twelve consecutive strikes. On your twelfth and final throw, you need to follow up your eleven-bagger with a nine. That is the only way for a bowler to miss a perfect game by a single point.

Has a perfect game been thrown at my local alley?

It’s pretty likely, especially if your alley has played host to multiple league nights and/or amateur bowling tournaments. Ask your local bowling alley proprietor for information about 300 games thrown in their building. They’ll likely be elated to tell you a story or two.

Who threw the fastest perfect game in bowling history?

While the record is debated for its official nature, New York’s Ben Ketola was recorded on video throwing a perfect game in 87.9 seconds. To do so, he converted twelve consecutive strikes on twelve adjacent lanes.

With A Little Luck And These 5 Insider’s Tips, You Could Roll A 300 Game

1) Be mindful of your form and footwork when you bowl.

300 games are made and broken by your body positioning and footwork. If you deviate from your optimum shot setup at any point, you’ll exponentially decrease your chances of converting a strike. And as your stress level starts to rise later in a perfect game bid, such structural misfires will cause even more problems for you. Keep your form and step patterning at the front of your mind on each shot, from the first frame to the tenth.

2) Sign up for league play and learn from other bowlers like you.

Practice is the only way to achieve a perfect score in bowling. Take every opportunity you can to head to the lanes. If that means bowling with friends, family, and signing up for a league, feel free to do all of it if you have the time and funds. The more your bowl and the more you fine-tune your shot, the better chance you have at achieving bowling immortality.

3) Control your breathing and your shot in the tenth frame.

Free your mind and keep your head when the pressure mounts during your perfect bowling game bid. If you don’t, you might feel your breathing start to get shallow and your legs start to buckle when the chips are down. Consistency is key for all 300 games. Track your heartbeat and take your time. If you need it, grab a drink of water and refocus on your pocket entry angle. The more you stay within yourself and what you’ve been doing the first nine frames, the better chance you have at finishing off a perfect game.

4) Test yourself on multiple lanes with varying lane conditions.

While it’s easier to get higher scores on a fresh house oil pattern, optimum lane conditions aren’t always available. Test your mettle on depleted house shots or more complex lane oil patterns if you can. The more thinking you’re forced to do when bowling, the more prepared you’ll be to finish off a perfect game at the next possible opportunity.

5) A 300 game is an extremely difficult feat, so you’ll need some good luck.

Before you publish that magical Facebook post talking about your perfect game, you’re going to need lots of things to go your way. Stay hydrated. Have some fun. Read the lanes as best you can and adjust. Do everything in your power to bowl your best. From there, you’re going to need some pins to bounce your way to even sniff a 300 game. Work hard, play hard, and try your best. It’s all you can do.

Closing Thoughts

Throwing a perfect game is more than just a case of the right ball at the right time. Some bowlers don’t even flirt with perfection over decades playing the sport. You need a good form, steel nerves, and lots of luck to make a 300 game happen. Keep working, find your groove in the pin pocket, and challenge yourself to better and better scores. With time and some patience, you might be one of the few bowlers with a story worth telling to your kids and grandkids for generations to come.