A very important aspect of any sport is the score. But it's not just what the score is that matters, it's what the score means. Knowing the score at all times helps players and fans stay engaged in the action from the beginning to the end.

In bowling, we're unique from other sports in the way our scoring system works. Although technology has made it easy for casual bowlers to go have fun on the lanes without ever having to know how to keep score, they're doing themselves a disservice if they don't take the time to learn.

We'll get into the basics first, and then I want to talk about why it matters-even when there are automatic-scoring units doing the math-to know the score (and what the score can be or needs to be) at all times during competition.

Each frame gives you two shots to knock down 10 pins. If you're unable to get all 10 pins in two shots, it's an open frame. The score for that frame is the exact number of pins you knocked down in that frame.

A spare is when you need two shots to knock down all 10 pins. The value of that frame is 10 plus the value of your next shot. So, if you roll a spare in a frame and a 9-count on your next shot, the frame in which you spared is valued at 19 pins.

When you knock down all the pins in one shot, you've rolled a strike. The value of a strike is 10 pins plus your next two shots. Thus, the maximum value of a frame is 30, when you roll two more strikes after your first one.

It's extremely important to know how to keep score and to understand how it works, because when you know the score (and what it can be), you're better able to judge your current situation, whether you're competing against others or even just trying to beat your own high score.

While the technology and automatic-scoring systems are great, they're only going to show you what your score is-not what it could be. When you understand the score and know how strikes and spares add up, you can better judge your situation whether you're competing or practicing.

Speaking of practicing, make it a habit to practice keeping score. The more you look at scores and situations, the more intuitive it will become, and the more information you can have about your game (or your opponent's), the better your chances at capitalizing on your opportunities.

BowlTV The Coach - Stephen Padilla