If you're a new bowler, you may not have encountered any of these mechanical problems that can happen while you are bowling. If you've been bowling for awhile, then you have come across some of these that can be a real distraction. I feel they are worth mentioning so you will know how to deal with them for when and if they happen, they won't distract you and you can get back to focusing on your game.
1. Ball Getting Stuck in the Gutter (channel):
This usually doesn't happen during league time because people bowl somewhat decent and can throw the ball with enough force to make it go all the way down the lane and off the pin deck. But let's say you are bowling with your kids on a week end. Many young children just can't throw the ball very hard, and these lightweight balls don't end up going all the way down the lane and occasionally will get stuck in the channel. If it is close enough to the foul line, you can try to retrieve it yourself, but if you have to step onto the lane then, just go up to the front desk or buzz the intercom that contacts the person at the front desk, and ask them to have the mechanic help you. Just give them the lane number you are on and they should be able to help you within a few minutes. The oil is quite slippery on the lane and you could fall and possible get injured, so it's better to ask for help.
2. Pin Stuck in Gutter:
Some people just can't bowl when they see a pin in the channel because it can be a bit of a distraction. Again, go up to the front desk and give them the lane number you are on and they will have the guy remove it for you. If it's taking them too long to come over to your lane, then you or a team member can try to walk carefully on that area in between the lanes and try to get it yourself. Then you can just slide it all the way down the channel so the sweeper that clears the pins off the pin deck can get it out of the way. Or throw a ball in the gutter and let the ball take it all the way down the channel.
3. Ball Not Returning to the Rack:
Once in awhile a pin flys off the pin deck in such a way that it can get stuck in the area that the ball must pass through to be able to come back to the ball rack and blocks the ball from being able to return. If this happens, just inform the person at the desk. This has happened to me a few times over the years and to others. Sometimes your ball can get damaged from the machine, so when the ball comes back don't forget to check it over. If there are any chips that came out of the ball just let the proprietor know as soon as you can. Sometimes they will send you down to the pro shop and he can fill it in with some resin material and it should be fine.
4. Pins Falling Down from Pin Setter:
If this happens to you and it happened before you threw your first ball, just re-set the pins twice so it will be on the first ball when you go to bowl again. If it happened when you were going for your spare, then you will have to contact the front desk and let them know which pins were still standing so the mechanic can re-set those pins up for you. That's why it is important to know how the pins are numbered and if you didn't get a strike, know what spare is left up on the lane after you bowl. If the pins keep falling down, then the mechanic will have to fix the pin machine. Hopefully it will be a quick fix, but sometimes the bowling center may ask you to bowl on a different lane, or lanes if you are bowling in your league.
5. Pins are Not All Up There:
Get into the habit of making sure all TEN pins are up on the pin deck before bowling your first shot. If one pin is missing for example, it could interfere with you carrying the strike. If you throw your first ball and notice one or more pins is missing, it will be too late and you will have to accept what you get. You need to let a team member on yours and the opposing team know that a pin is missing before you bowl, and then just re-set the pins so you'll have a full rack.
6. Lane Break Down:
If the pins keep falling down, or the pinsetter isn't setting up all ten pins for a few frames, then you can request bowling on a different lane/s. This scenario does happen occasionally, even in the leagues. It can be extremely frustrating especially if you're on a roll and already have several strikes. When you must change lanes, they cannot set the score up from the other lanes you were on so you must start the game over again. They will give you practice time at least but the lanes may be totally different than the pair you were just bowling on. The thing is to NOT let it get you distracted! Just do your best to stay focused by keep your rhythm going, and making sure you are executing a good shot!
7. Slippery or Sticky Lane:
Sometimes you or a team mate may encounter something that makes you stick on the lane/s, or perhaps slide too much. The first thing to do is to check your shoes in case you stepped in some debris that carried onto the lane. You can go to the front desk and have the worker come over and wipe the approach area for you, especially if it's happening to several people. if it's something on your shoe, wipe it well with your towel and perhaps put a little "Easy Slide" onto the sliding shoe (check my blog post from 4/26/21 about the equipment you will need in bowling).
8. Sweep Accidentally Knocks Down Pins On Lane:
This is similar to #4 above. Make sure to familiarize yourself with how the pins are numbered on the lane so if it happens to you, you will be able to have the guys set up the correct pins that were up there. Again, use the intercom or go up to the front desk and give them the PIN numbers to set up and the lane number you are on. You can have a team member do this for you so you can immediately bowl as to not hold anyone up.
There may be a few others that you have encountered but I think I have covered most. Remember, most mechanical issues are usually a quick fix and just a temporary setback. Don't let it throw off your rhythm if you have to wait awhile for them to fix the lane. Just stay focused the best you can so you can keep bowling well. Don't let other people's complaining about it get to you!
Please review some of your notes you have been taking during your practice sessions and don't forget to do some of those bowling exercises I mentioned in my blog post from 5/17/21.
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Since it's summer and some of you take a break from regular ten pin bowling, join me back here next week when I shake things up a bit and introduce you to another type of bowling game you may want to try!
Good Luck and High Scoring
Hello!! My name is Joanie. Although I'm not a professional bowler, I have loved the sport for more than 45 years, averaged over 200 for several seasons, and learned quite a bit with research and experience.