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Bowling An 800 Series

Bowling an 800 series is just about the toughest thing to do in league or tournament play.

In order to record an 800 three-game series, you must average 267 or better. Bowling an 800 series takes three times as many frames of excellent performance compared to twelve frames in a 300 game.

A perfect game is a difficult feat because in addition to hitting the pocket twelve times in a game, you must carry each delivery. Getting an 800 series means that even if you survive the pressure of getting a 300 game, you still must average 250 or greater the other two games. Not an easy task!

We all know that hitting the pocket enough times to roll an 800 series is vital in accomplishing this feat. Hitting the pocket is not enough, however. We must carry the corner pins and not have open frames, if possible, to attain the 800 series score.

Pin carry is an art in and of itself. Many highly skilled bowlers capable of, or having had, an 800 series will attest to that. There are likely many occasions where just hitting the pocket every ball did not yield the game scores needed to roll an 800 series.

Selecting the right bowling ball with an appropriate amount of length and hook potential to match the given lane conditions is key to a high series score. Getting the right amount of angle of entry close to 6 degrees into the pocket is an important factor in getting a high level of pin carry.

Delivering your bowling ball onto the lane surface consistently and not changing ball speeds dramatically are two other factors you have to wrestle with to give yourself a chance at carrying the corner pins.

Bad racks of pins can cause leaving the corner pins more so than with fairly good pin placements on the pin deck. So some luck is certainly involved.

Then there is the fact that you may have to make angle adjustments to compensate for oil carry down and/or oil breakdown. You may have to change bowling balls during the three-game set to compensate for changing lane conditions.

You have to decide whether to change your hand action slightly to either increase ball skid length or to change your axis of rotation somewhat.

With so many variables affecting pin carry and hitting the pocket enough times to give you a fighting chance at rolling an 800 series, you almost have to have a lucky charm in your pocket as well.

After all these challenges, there is also the matter of dealing with peer pressure when rolling in your league or in a tournament where friends, players, and spectators are aware of your opportunity to roll 800 for the three-game stretch. If your teammates know that if you finish your third game strong you can get an 800 series, the drama builds and you feel the pressure accordingly.

No matter how many times you may have dealt with this level of pressure in the past, each time presents new stress challenges. You must handle the pressure or you may fail in your attempt due to making errant deliveries.


Every good player who thinks they deserve an 800 series score is mistaken. There are highly skilled and very experienced and talented players who have never rolled a sanctioned 800 series in competition. Do not take an 800 series for granted.

On today’s house conditions, use of a great deal of oil in the center portion of the lanes and far less oil toward the edges creates a condition where experienced and skilled players can line up and seldom miss the pocket. It is a proven statistic that the vast majority of players rolling an 800 series do so on this fairly easy house lane condition.

Regardless of how easy the lanes are, an 800 series is still difficult and is not a guaranteed accomplishment, even for very good players. In the final analysis, if you pay attention to the details when you are on the lanes, make one good shot at a time and block out distractions, you just might be the next player to record a sanctioned 800 series.

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