Bowling Rules! Some Reminders on How the Game Should Be Played

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 29th, 2010

Bowling is a fairly simple game, which may be the reason why so many like it; making it one of the most played recreational sports today. The rules surrounding the game are even simpler.

Here is a brief look into the rules of bowling as well as some etiquette points you should remember the next time you go to the lanes.


There is no real regulation apparel when bowling, except for the shoes. This is because the surface of the lane has to be protected for playing consistency. There are special shoes made for bowling and can be rented at the lanes or purchased at reputable sporting goods stores.

A regulation ball is no more than 27 inches in circumference and weighs between 10 and 16 pounds. Most balls have three finger holes for better grip, but it is not uncommon to see bowling balls that have just two holes.

A bowler will need to complete a series of 10 frames to complete a game or ?string?. The goal is to be able knock down the largest number of pins possible within a limited number of tries.

The perfect game is scored at 300 points, meaning that the bowler was able to accomplish 12 consecutive strikes in the game.

When making an approach, the bowler must not step over the foul line. The foul line is located 60 feet before the head pin. A foul occurs when a ball leaves the bowlers hand passing over the foul line while any body part of the bowler touches the alley, gutters, and division boards beyond the foul line. If a foul is called, the throw is counted against the bowler and any pins that fell with that foul throw will be re-spotted.

- Do not take too much time in your approach. Take a few moments to concentrate but do not take an unnecessarily long time to do so.

- Be ready to bowl when it is your turn to avoid lags in playing.

- Only one bowler can play at a time. The rule of thumb, should there be any contention, is to allow the bowler on the right to go ahead.

- When not in play, stay out of sight and/or seated behind the bowler currently playing. This is to avoid distractions. Heckling and/or making unnecessary sounds at any time during a play is prohibited as well.

You can now hit the lanes with more than just knowing how to knock pins down with a ball. You will develop a healthy dose of sportsmanship as well as patience and consideration for others - and that?s always a good thing!

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
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