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9 Pin No Tap Bowling: The Exciting Bowling Variation for Higher Scores

  • Reading time:9 mins read

In the world of bowling, there’s a unique and exciting variation that has gained immense popularity among recreational players and enthusiasts alike – 9 pin no tap bowling.

This alternative format offers a fresh twist on the traditional game, promising faster-paced action and higher scoring opportunities. Whether you’re a seasoned bowler looking to spice things up or a newcomer eager to experience the thrill of knocking down pins with ease, 9 pin no tap bowling is a captivating option that deserves your attention.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of this variation, exploring its rules, strategies, and numerous benefits, ensuring you have a deep understanding of what makes it such an engaging and enjoyable experience.

What is 9 Pin No Tap Bowling?

At its core, 9 pin no tap bowling follows the same fundamental principles as traditional bowling, but with one key difference – knocking down 9 pins on your first roll is counted as a strike.

This seemingly small tweak opens up a world of possibilities, transforming the game into a high-scoring affair where strikes become more frequent and the overall pace quickens.

The origins of 9 pin no tap bowling can be traced back to the early 20th century when bowling alleys sought ways to make the sport more accessible and enjoyable for recreational players.

By allowing 9 pins to count as a strike, the game became more forgiving, boosting confidence and fostering a sense of accomplishment among bowlers of all skill levels.

Over time, this variation gained traction, and today, it has become a staple at many bowling alleys across the country, offering players a refreshing alternative to the traditional format.

Rules of 9 Pin No Tap Bowling:

While the core concept of 9 pin no tap bowling is straightforward, it’s essential to understand the specific rules that govern this variation. Here’s a breakdown of the key guidelines:

  1. Knocking down 9 pins on the first roll counts as a strike: This is the defining rule that sets 9 pin no tap bowling apart. If you manage to knock down 9 pins on your first roll, it’s scored as a strike, regardless of whether the remaining pin is left standing or not.
  2. All other standard bowling rules apply: Apart from the 9 pin strike rule, the rest of the game follows the traditional bowling guidelines. This includes the scoring for spares, open frames, and the overall game format (10 frames per game).
  3. Scoring examples: To illustrate how scoring works in 9 pin no tap bowling, consider these examples:
    • If you knock down 9 pins on your first roll and the remaining pin on your second roll, it’s scored as a strike.
    • If you knock down 8 pins on your first roll and the remaining 2 pins on your second roll, it’s scored as a spare.
    • If you knock down fewer than 9 pins on both rolls, it’s scored as an open frame, just like in traditional bowling.

Strategies for 9 Pin No Tap Bowling:

While the simplified strike rule in 9 pin no tap bowling may seem like a straightforward path to higher scores, successful bowlers still need to employ strategic thinking and sound technique. Here are some key strategies to consider:

  1. Hitting the “pocket”: Just like in traditional bowling, the goal is to hit the “pocket” – the optimal spot on the lane where the ball can create the ideal pin deflection pattern for a strike. By consistently hitting the pocket, you increase your chances of knocking down 9 or more pins on the first roll.
  2. Adjusting speed and ball rotation: Depending on the lane conditions and your personal bowling style, you may need to adjust your ball speed and the amount of rotation you impart on the ball. Experimenting with different combinations can help you find the sweet spot for maximizing strike potential.
  3. When to play aggressively or conservatively: In 9 pin no tap bowling, there are times when an aggressive approach, focusing solely on strikes, may be the best strategy. However, there are also situations where playing more conservatively, aiming for spares, can be advantageous. Recognizing these moments and adapting your strategy accordingly is crucial.
  4. Converting spares efficiently: While strikes are easier to achieve in 9 pin no tap bowling, spare conversions are still essential for maintaining a high score. Developing a consistent spare shooting technique and practicing regularly can significantly boost your overall performance.

Benefits of 9 Pin No Tap Bowling:

Beyond the obvious appeal of higher scores and a faster-paced game, 9 pin no tap bowling offers a range of benefits that have contributed to its growing popularity. Here are some key advantages:

  1. Faster-paced and more exciting game flow: With more frequent strikes and higher scores, the game maintains a lively and engaging pace. This can be particularly appealing for recreational bowlers seeking a more dynamic and thrilling experience.
  2. Higher scoring games boost confidence and enjoyment: Scoring higher than usual can be a significant confidence booster, especially for beginners or those who have struggled with the traditional format. The elevated scores in 9 pin no tap bowling foster a sense of accomplishment and make the game more enjoyable overall.
  3. Great for beginners and recreational players: The forgiving nature of counting 9 pins as a strike makes 9 pin no tap bowling an excellent option for those new to the sport or those who bowl primarily for leisure. It provides a more accessible entry point while still allowing for skill development and improvement.
  4. Can help develop better technique and consistency: While the 9 pin strike rule may seem like a shortcut to higher scores, bowlers still need to focus on proper technique and consistency to maximize their performance. In this way, 9 pin no tap bowling can serve as a stepping stone for improving overall bowling skills.

Where to Play 9 Pin No Tap:

As the popularity of 9 pin no tap bowling continues to grow, more and more bowling alleys are offering opportunities to experience this exciting variation. Here are some tips for finding the right 9 pin no tap opportunities in your area:

  1. Check with your local bowling alley: Many bowling centers now offer 9 pin no tap leagues, tournaments, or designated times when this format is available. Simply inquire with the staff or check their website for upcoming events or schedules.
  2. Search online for nearby events: Various bowling organizations and enthusiast groups often maintain online directories or calendars listing 9 pin no tap tournaments, leagues, and other events in your region. Utilize search engines or social media to discover these opportunities.
  3. Join online communities and forums: Connecting with other 9 pin no tap bowling enthusiasts through online communities and forums can provide valuable insights into upcoming events, as well as tips and strategies from experienced players.
  4. Consider hosting your own event: If you can’t find suitable 9 pin no tap opportunities in your area, consider organizing your own event or league. Reach out to your local bowling alley and gauge interest among friends, family, and fellow bowling enthusiasts.


In the ever-evolving world of bowling, 9 pin no tap bowling has emerged as a refreshing and thrilling variation that caters to both seasoned players and newcomers alike.

With its simplified strike rule and potential for higher scores, this format has captivated recreational bowlers seeking a more exciting and confidence-boosting experience.

By understanding the intricacies of 9 pin no tap bowling, from its rules and scoring nuances to the strategies for maximizing your performance, you can unlock a new level of enjoyment and skill development.

Whether you’re seeking a faster-paced game flow, a confidence boost through elevated scores, or an opportunity to improve your overall bowling technique, this variation offers a unique and rewarding experience.

So, why not step out of your comfort zone and embrace the challenge of 9 pin no tap bowling? Explore the opportunities in your area, gather your friends and family, and prepare to witness the exhilaration of knocking down pins with newfound ease.

With its growing popularity and potential to attract a new generation of bowling enthusiasts, 9 pin no tap bowling is poised to leave an indelible mark on the sport, offering a fresh and exciting alternative for players of all levels.