If you’re one of many bowlers on the never-ending quest for a higher bowling score (and overall bowling average), the allure of the perfect game is undeniable. In a traditional single game of bowling, 12 strikes in a row net you the highest score possible — the gorgeous, round number of 300.

How is a perfect game in bowling scored?

The first nine frames of traditional bowling frames are one-shot deals during a perfect game. A bowling frame ends with one strike in the first frame, one in the second frame, all the way through the ninth. In the tenth frame, the pressure notches up. This is where perfect bowling games tend to live and die.

During the tenth frame of a perfect game, your local bowling alley will be quiet enough to hear a pin drop. And for a player to finish off the deal with their trusty bowling ball, they’ll need some deep breaths and three more strikes to finish the deal.

Whether you’re bowling strikes at your company bowling party or trying to attain the highest possible score on league night, the wonderful thing about bowling is that a perfect game is always only one game away. It’s a rare feat, yes. But, it’s something that can be accomplished with a little bit of luck and a whole lot of effort and refinement.

What do a nine-year-old, a former NCAA bowling champ, and league bowlers all around the world have in common?

They’ve all bowled perfect games! If you feel like perfect scores are just for the professionals, think again. The youngest player on record for throwing a perfect bowling game is Hannah Diem — a nine-year-old girl who proved that a heavier ball and bigger muscles aren’t necessary to court perfection.

Former NCAA bowling champion John Hinkle Jr. has put together a few perfect games during his amateur run. And plenty of PBA Tour legends and champions have turned practice into perfect games and three-game set masterpieces.

How rare is a 300 game in bowling?

In the last ten years, the perfect series has become more commonplace. It doesn’t happen every week, mind you. Only twelve complete perfect series have been recorded in the past decade or so. Most bowlers won’t throw a perfect game during their life, let alone achieve absolute three-game set infamy. Bowling pins are fickle friends. When you bowl, you need plenty of things to break your way to get a high score. Balls need to hit the lane just right. You need to bowl with the correct form and keep that form throughout play.

Scoring a 200 is hard enough during your family bowling night. Rolling a 300 is that much harder.

However, it’s not impossible to create some perfect game magic of your own. Whether you live in a suburban home in Farmington Hills, an apartment somewhere in Western Illinois, or a flat in the middle of New York City, you could be the next bowler to throw a perfect game.

But, how?

8 tips for throwing the perfect game of your dreams

From the first nine frames when the points add up to hitting your stride in the final, deciding frame, here are some insider’s bowling tips for you to put into practice on your road to an elusive perfect game.

1) A heavier ball isn’t always the best ball.

You don’t have to throw a boulder to get the pin crashes you’re looking for. Rolling a strike is more about an efficient and well-oiled shot technique. Some bowlers throw softly, refining their footwork and hooks to hammer the pins perfectly more often than not. There are also hard throwers who get big scores through brute force. Don’t force yourself to be in the latter category if finesse is more your thing. Find the balance (and the equipment) that helps you embrace your version of perfection on the lanes.

2) You’ll knock more pins down with a proper approach (and posture.)

When you play a game of bowling, think of your entire body like it’s just one big extension of your arm. Your bowling score is often directly correlated with the little things about your body positioning. You’re going to be weaker to and through the pins with a slumping posture, poor footwork, or a throwing motion that’s hampered by a lack of equilibrium. A higher bowling score can be achieved by being more disciplined (and in turn, loose) at the bowling alley.

3) Have some fun with your hook shot.

It’s not like you can’t bowl strike after strike with a straight shot. If you’ve got good pocket awareness, you surely can make pins quiver without a hook. However, it pays to develop and practice a strong hook shot. Hook shots help you string strikes in a row by opening up angles and increasing your pocket power. Bowling champions throw hooks. You should too.

4) Take the baseball approach and analyze your failures. There will be a lot of them.

The best batters in the game of baseball fail six times out of ten. The best pitchers get roughed up every fifth day and come back better. If you’re trying to put together a perfect game, don’t expect to be perfect. The top bowlers in the world are grounded right smack dab in the middle of the moment. If they make a mistake, they find it and use it as a teaching moment. They also try to laugh it off and refocus on the lane and the pins. Do that and it’ll be easier to find your perfect game stroke.

5) Talk to other bowlers on Facebook, message boards, and other forms of social media.

Your bowling ball isn’t your only friend. Find or create a network of other bowling aficionados and just talk with them. What’s working for you? What kind of bad luck are they having during their league nights? Have any of them bowled a perfect game before? The more perspective you attain and the more you bowl with a sense of community, the better chance you have of pulling off the rare feat of bowling perfection.

6) The bowler who bowls more is the one who usually gets on a roll.

The phrase “practice makes perfect” is a cliche for a reason. It’s simply true, especially in the pursuit of a perfect bowling game. Champions aren’t born overnight at the bowling alley. You have to bowl hundreds of games before you start getting the hang of things, and thousands of games before you reach the next level as a bowler. Find a group of friends that likes to bowl and make it a regular thing. Get to the lanes and put the effort in. A perfect game could be somewhere around the corner!

7) Aim your shots for the pocket and find your groove.

For right-handed bowlers, the sweet spot for throwing strikes is the gap between the 1 and the 3-pin to the right of the head. For lefties, it’s the 1-2 pocket to the left of the head. How you get to this pocket is entirely up to you. You could try to throw it straight, or throw a sharp hook that hammers it from the side. Or, you can refine your shot and do it your way. Just remember — the pocket is where perfect games are decided nearly 100% of the time.

8) A calm person is often a better bowler.

Breathe. Take in the scenery. Enjoy an adult beverage or a hot dog if either is your kind of deal. Bowling should be fun, first and foremost. If you’re not bowling on the PBA Tour level or some equivalent of such, embrace the game for its potential to bring you joy. You can be strong in form and easy on yourself at the same time. It’s the easiest way to up your scores and chase down that perfect game wherever and whenever it may lie.