I decided to put this together for the spectator of high school bowling teams in Louisiana. It will give you a summary of how the games are scored and what is meant by certain terms you might hear discussed while watching matches.

High school bowling is a scratch competition. Scratch bowling means that there are no handicaps. In traditional league bowling there is often a handicap added in to allow bowlers of varying skill levels to compete at a similar level. With a scratch competition the scores are simply what you see on the scoring machines. 

In a match there are six bowlers per team and a match takes place on four lanes. Six bowlers on each team are divided into two groups of three bowlers on a “low” lane and a “high” lane. There is a total of twelve bowlers competing on the four lanes. The layout between the lanes will look something like this.


The H stands for “Home”. H6 will be the highest average bowler on the home team and H1 will be the lowest average bowler on the home team. The V stands for “Visitor”. Typically you will bowl your best six bowlers. They must be in the lineup in average order from the lowest to the highest when determining head to head wins. Coaches have the option of making substitutions between the games but the relative order from low average to high average must be maintained.
At the end of each game head-to-head wins and losses are determined. There are a total of 6 points to be earned this way. There are 2 more points that are earned based on the game totals for all six bowlers on each team. This is called total pins. Therefore each game is worth a total of 8 points.

At the end of the match total pins for ALL games is used to earn another 3 points.

So lets summarize …

6 bowlers x 3 games = 18 points in head to head matches
2 points x 3 games = 6 points for single game total pins
3 points x 1 match = 3 points for overall total pins

18 + 6 + 3 = 27 points which can be earned by teams. Ties result in a split 0.5 to 0.5.

H = Home
V = Visitor
Bowlers 1-3 are on the “low” lane
Bowlers 4-6 are on the “high” lane.

High school bowling is spectator friendly especially with automatic scoring computers because you can always know what is going on. You can simply compare the ongoing scores to each other and know roughly where you stand throughout the game. The total pins are typically available on the lower right of normal computer scoring systems to give you an idea of whether you are on track to get the two points at the end of the game or not.

That is really all there is to it. Now you are an informed high school bowling spectator. Enjoy the games.