Strike Like a Sport: 6 Tips on Bowling Etiquette

Bowling can be a fun way to spend leisure time with friends and family. While it can be a competitive game among professionals, it’s a reasonably easy game for almost anyone to pick up and enjoy casually.

However, while it’s fairly easy for almost anyone to start knocking down those pins, there are certain basic protocols that all players should follow to allow everyone to enjoy the game.

1. Use appropriate bowling shoes

Before you start playing, make sure to take off your street shoes and use the bowling shoes provided. On bowling alley surfaces, you’ll find yourself constantly slipping with regular shoes. The surfaces are designed that way to allow players to slide their feet easily as they execute their bowling forms.

2. Avoid bringing food near the lanes

Food leftovers and drink spillage that end up on the floor will ruin the feel of the surface. At the very least, it can adversely affect someone else’s game. Worse, it could cause people to slip and incur serious injury.

3. Respect the equipment

Be considerate of others’ property. This applies whether you’re in a public facility or in a private bowling alley in your home or elsewhere.

For instance, wait for the machine to finish setting up the bowling pins before making your shot. You could potentially damage the equipment if you hurl the ball too soon.

4. Give way to other bowlers

There are times when two people end up reaching the approach at the same time and struggle to decide who should make their shot first.

The general rule is that the first one on the approach gets to bowl first. If there’s a bit of contention on that, the bowler positioned on the right side should be the first one to take his or her shot.

5. Be mindful of your turn

It’s important for bowlers to be aware of the time they are spending on the lane. Don’t take too long to prepare while you’re in your lane for your turn.

Your turn isn’t the time to be chatting with your friends or companions while you’re about to make your shot. Other players may be waiting for you to finish the turn.

Bowling6. Avoid distracting other players

Regardless of the excitement or frustration you might be feeling, don’t start overreacting and making all sorts of gestures and noises. It can be tempting to jump into the foul lines and lanes of other players when you’re in this state. Be responsible and avoid this.

If you’re having a bad game, there are safer and less distracting ways to express what you’re feeling. If your game is on point, be humble and refrain from taunting others or other forms of disruption (e.g. rushing bowlers to make their shot).

Proper etiquette ensures everyone has a good time

You can find more tips on bowling etiquette in the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) website. USBC also provides helpful tutorials on how to improve your form and technique.

In the meantime, do your best to practice these basic protocols to help everyone enjoy the game of bowling.

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