Bowling Etiquette and Manners

Bowling Etiquette
You should know proper bowling etiquette when you bowl.

When you bowl, it is very important to understand the manners and etiquette of bowling at the lanes. These are the unwritten bowling rules to live by while in a bowling alley. These tips to be courteous and proper ways to bowl apply to the casual bowler and competitive bowlers alike. It is important to know why these unwritten rules are relevant. This list of do’s and don’ts are very important to the serious bowler and they can become quite annoyed if not obeyed. These are tips for bowling etiquette that even the casual bowler should know.

This first one is especially important. Always give the bowler on other lanes who are ready to bowl the right of way. If a bowler on one of the lanes around you have already gotten to the approach let them follow through before you attempt to bowl. This tip of bowling etiquette is very infuriating to experienced bowlers if not obeyed and this is the most important unwritten rule of bowling etiquette you need to follow. If you and a bowler on an adjacent lane reach the approach and are ready to bowl at the same time, always let the bowler on the right bowl first. Again, do not bowl until the bowler to the right’s follow through is complete.

It is also very important to wear bowling shoes when bowling. By not wearing bowling shoes, you can leave marks on the approach. You will also be more susceptible to falling down, which will distract others. Also, non-bowling shoes can squeak, further causing distractions. Please remember to always wear bowling shoes when you are bowling. Either bring your own or the alley will always have shoes available for rent.

After your frame is complete, do not just stand up there. It is someone else’s turn to bowl. Also, after bowling, limit the amount of body motions used to show you had a good or bad shot. Standing at the approach and falling over after a bad shot is not funny.

Whatever you do, do not talk to people while they are taking their shot or attempt to have conversation between ball 1 and 2 of a frame. Concentration is the key to bowling well. Once again, the serious bowler will be very upset if you distract them. Once the bowler has finished the frame you may resume conversation.

Behave yourself and do not try to tease or provoke the bowlers on the lanes around you. If you want to let the person bowling know that they have done well and you noticed give them a “high five”. The “high five” is somewhat customary and is not frowned upon like yelling or a “woo hoo”. If someone does not bowl well or misses, you may give the person a “forearm five” where you bump forearms in the shape of a “x” as a “good try”. Try not to become intoxicated and annoying to the other bowlers, if you feel buzzed go sit at the bar area.

Also, do not take practice swings when in the concourse area. Not only is this distracting to those bowling, you can hurt someone. Do not bring food or drink onto the approach. You could spill something and someone could slip and hurt themselves.

It is also good etiquette to be ready when its your turn. Nothing takes away from the fun of bowling when it’s someone’s turn and they are not to be found. Pay attention, and when your turn is up, be ready to bowl.

Bowling Manners

Do not use other bowler’s ball or equipment, even if it is house equipment. That person has borrowed or rented this particular equipment for an allotted time and has every right to it. Another very important thing is do not touch anything at all that is not yours. Bowling balls and other custom items are very expensive and require care to maintain. If you don’t want to buy someone new items, hands off!

Do not keep your hands anywhere near the ball return and stay back from the foul line as much as possible. There is oil on the lane just past the foul line and if you go past it may become dangerous for you and the other players if tracked back to the foul line area.

Do not take anything from the alley that is not yours. The alley is an establishment for you to have fun, the fun can be damaged if you steal, vandalize or scar the area or equipment. Prices can increase from this type of behavior and can really put a damper on everybody’s fun in the long run.

When you are finished bowling, be sure to return any borrowed items, such as shoes and bowling balls. You would not like it if you showed up at an alley and balls and shoes were not readily available because someone forgot to return them.

Bowling Courtesy
Knowing bowling manners can help make the experience more enjoyable to others.

These rules are unspoken but speak loud on their own. Everyone needs to follow these manners for bowling etiquette so everyone can have a good time. If you pay attention stay in your areas and have fun, that is what bowling is really about. The most important part of bowling is to improve your game and enjoy yourself.

If you are looking to become a better bowler, we highly recommend checking out The Ultimate Bowling Guide. We have used this guide and it has completely changed our game for the better. We are bowling more consistent strikes and raised our averages!

Thank you for paying attention and caring enough to obey the rules of bowling for every bowler’s sake. Good luck on your game and enjoy the lanes!

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Bowling Trivia:

A "turkey" in bowling is when you bowl three strikes in a row.