Additional Math Pages & Resources

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Math Secrets in Sports: Bowling

Hello again. This week in the Excel Math Blog we reveal the shocking inside mathematical secrets of sports!

Today we investigate 10-pin Bowling (because 100 million people around the world participate). Bowling, like the other spots we're discussing, will force you to learn new math or relearn the old math you learned in elementary school (or you could rely on the bowling computer).

In Bowling you count up pins you knock down, you carry-over certain scores, you adjust your actions based on the if you get 2 strikes you throw again rules, and so on. If you bowl in a league you will soon get a handicap (not a disability, but an adjustment to your score).

I'll just give a brief overview of the math and terms used in Bowling:

BOWLING
LEAGUE - a competition over a period of months where teams of bowlers compete
TOURNAMENT - a short-term competition with many bowlers or teams competing to win
   SERIES - a team must win 2 out of 3 games to win a series (usually the team members' scores are added to get a team score)
      GAME - a player needs the highest score to win a game. The most you can score is 300
         FRAME - players don't win individual frames; the best score on 10 frames wins a game
            POINTS - the various combinations are decided by how many pins are knocked down, and when they fell:
  • strike (10 pins with 1 ball)
  • spare (10 pins with 2 balls
  • open (less than 10 pins with 2 balls)
To learn more, click here.  To view a Bowling Score App for your iPhone, click here. This is what a typical scoring screen on the App looks like:


Bowling is usually done with groups of people so it's more fun if you have two lanes rather than one. A single bowling lane is shown below (not to scale):


If you ever dreamed of having your own bowling alley at home, you will need about $100,000 or so. Lanes are made of wood or synthetic materials. The rules declare:
  • Each lane is 62 feet 10 and 3/16ths inches from foul line to the pit where the pins fall
  • It's 60 feet from the foul line to the center of the No. 1 pin spot (plus or minus 1/2 inch)
  • It's 2 feet 10 and 3/16ths inches from the center of the No. 1 pin spot to the pit
  • Each lane must be between 41 and 42 inches wide
  • The total width of a lane with gutters must be between 60 inches and 60 and 1/4 inches wide
  • The lane must be free of grooves, with no more than 40/1000th inch variation in level and/or dents (smoothness)
  • You need a room 90-100 feet in length, 15 feet in width and 12 feet in height to have a pair of bowling lanes
  • Lanes sit about 16 inches above your foundation because the balls come back under the lanes
  • The pins are 15 inches tall and 4.7 inches wide; weigh between 3 pounds 6 ounces and 3 pounds 10 ounces
  • The ball must be less than 27 inches in circumference, cannot weigh more than 16 pounds and can contain no metal whatsoever (if you need one, go here, they have 1800+ different bowling balls to choose from!)