Scotch Doubles In Bowling: Explained And Expert Tips

Are you a beginner in the world of bowling looking to expand your knowledge about the various bowling formats and strategies? This article will tell you about one of the most popular team bowling formats among beginners — the scotch doubles.

As you can guess from the name, ‘doubles’ refers to a team of two. It is a game where two teammates play under the same scorecard, taking alternate shots. To put it in another way, each member will take a shot alternately until at the bowling alley. They knock all the pins in a particular frame.

So, as you can probably deduce, scotch doubles are rapid, tight, and adrenaline-filled games! You will mostly find the play of scotch doubles tournaments at local bowling clubs. It is a format for novice players to upskill their bowling game. 

Let us walk you through a detailed guide covering everything you need to know about scotch doubles in bowling. You will find, in this article, the basics of this team bowling format. We will also equip you with expert tips and tricks that are sure to come in handy at your next game. 

The Rules of Scotch Doubles: How to Play 

The rules for scotch doubles are reasonably simple and easy to grasp. However, since most bowling formats require shots by team members at alternate frames, scotch doubles might seem a bit confusing to beginners. Let us understand in detail how the game works.  

Let’s say you and your friend have joined a scotch doubles tournament. You get the first chance to throw a shot. If you can strike (clear all the pins), then one frame is completed, and your friend shoots at the next frame. 

But if you can’t strike, then your friend will need to shoot at the spare pins. This extra shooting continues until they clear all the pins, and only then is your team allowed to move on to the next frame. So, you can understand why scotch doubles are also known as games of ‘alternate shots.’ 

It is the fundamental rule of scotch doubles. Score calculation in a scotch doubles match is no different from a regular ten-pin bowling format. Strikes will fetch you ten solid points plus bonus points for the number of pins you hit in successive two attempts. Spare shots earn a bonus score of the number of pins you shoot in the next one-shot. The tenth frame does not fetch any bonus points for strikes or spares but allows additional shots. 

So now that you are acquainted with the basic format of a scotch doubles bowling game, it might seem pretty straightforward. However, some tips and strategies will take your bowling game to the next level. In the next section of this article, you will find expert guidance to ensure a smooth scotch doubles match. 

Proven Scotch Doubles Strategies and Tips

Strategizing is the ultimate key to win any bowling game. Scotch doubles are no exception. However, success depends on your teammate’s performance and sportsmanship as much as yours for this particular format. Bowling experts opine that choosing a teammate, you can communicate with freely is the best strategy for a scotch doubles match.  

How to Choose Your Teammate?

Check the Handicap Score of Your Teammate

A handicap in bowling is some extra points awarded to a player with a low average scoring record. Not all matches allow handicap scoring. However, if your local scotch doubles match allows it, it is worth checking out the handicap score of your teammate. Having a teammate with a high handicap score has its pros and cons.  

Generally, players with low playing skills have high handicap scores. So, if your teammate’s score is high, it might mean that you’re stuck shooting at spares throughout the game.  That can be a frustrating experience. On the other hand, your team can fetch bonus points due to a high handicap score.

Choosing Which Player Will Open the Game

A prominent strategy in bowling games is choosing which player will have the first and final frames. The first frame sets the tone for the entire game. A strike in the final frame gives you chances to score additional points. 

However, you cannot know beforehand who will get the final frame for a scotch doubles match. So, the best strategy for you here will be to start the game with the best player. An opening strike will cheer up the team, and you can hope that the second player follows the first’s lead. 

Know the Bowling Center and the Oil Pattern Well

If you are a beginner, you might not know that the coat of the bowling lane is a layer of oil. It is the reason why the balls slide down the line before rolling. It is essential to have a grip on this oil slide if you want to score a strike. 

Using the oil patterns in a bowling lane to your advantage also depends on the way of the lane itself. So, it is perhaps wise to collaborate with a teammate who knows the bowling lanes well for scotch doubles matches. So preferably, choose a center where at least one of you has played before. It will guarantee some sure shots, even if one of you lacks high bowling skills. 

A Teammate with Opposite Dominant Hands Is a Good Choice

Bowling strategies are sometimes very different for right-handed and left-handed bowlers. While choosing a corner pin shot, most bowlers tend to aim at the corner opposite their dominant hand. So, while selecting a partner for a scotch doubles game, finding someone with the opposite dominant hand is wise. It would ensure that each of you gets a chance to shoot at your preferable pins. 

Look for a Teammate with a Strong Sportsmanship Spirit

A scotch doubles match can often turn into a high-pressure game with stakes running high. You may find yourself in a situation where none of you are scoring strikes. Aiming at the other’s spares is bound to get exhausting and annoying after a time. 

It is crucial to partner with a person who is understanding and has a high sportsmanship spirit. It is also advisable that you play with someone at your skill level. That way, any skill-shaming, which is often a problem in scotch doubles matches, can be prevented. Have high hopes for a game, but never forget to keep a space in your mind for mishaps.

Additional Bowling Tips

So far, we have discussed a few strategies explicitly related to scotch doubles matches. However, the only thing different about this bowling game is the format. Hence, let us discuss some essential bowling tips that will help you score strikes in all forms, including scotch doubles.

Aim for the ‘Pocket’

If you are stepping into the world of bowling, you might not know that there is one sure shot way to get a strike. In bowling terminology, it is ‘shoot at the pocket.’ A pocket is a spot between two pins hitting which generally earns you a full strike. 

For right-handed bowlers, it is between the 1st and the 3rd pin. If you are left-handed, your pocket will be between the 1st and the 2nd pin.  

Choose Your Ball Wisely

Choosing the correct ball can have a significant impact on your strike rates. It is essential to select a ball that you are comfortable using. Please don’t go for a heavy or massive ball, thinking it will quickly knock the pins off the frame! 

Experts recommend choosing a lighter ball. Heavier balls may make pins fly up in the air, but that does not necessarily give you strikes. Lightweight balls allow the pins to hit each other when thrown strategically. It has a domino effect and is more likely to result in strikes.

Curving Your Throw

To perfectly hit the pocket, your ball’s traction must have the perfect curve to it. It is one of the most critical techniques of bowling. It takes some time to master, but once you do, you will be unstoppable. 

Suppose you have a dominant right hand. Practice by rotating your thumb to a ten o’clock position at the moment of release. For left-handed people, you should turn your thumb at a two o’clock position. It allows your ball to spin while tumbling towards the pins. With regular practice, you will get the hang of controlling the speed and the spin, giving you a perfect curve.  

Wrap Up

Bowling can be a fun, stress-busting experience with friends, or it could turn out to be a competitive tournament. Whatever be the case for you, it is helpful to keep a few tips and tricks up your alley. 

Whether you are a novice or an expert, we hope that this article has provided you with some insights into the game! Follow our strategies to emerge victorious at your next local scotch doubles tournament or any bowling game in general!