In my opinion, this is a very important part of bowling. Lots of people who have bowled for years do NOT know about this subject. For all bowlers, please be courteous of other bowlers whether practicing on your own, or in a bowling league. Bowling etiquette is important because it makes the game much more enjoyable for all the players if they follow all the rules.
I do think it’s up to the team captains to let his team mates know about:
1. Being ready to bowl when it’s your turn so you don’t hold anyone up. If you need to use the rest room, get a snack, or bring a money envelope over to the league treasurer for examples, please let a team member know so if you're not back to your set of lanes when it's your turn to bowl, your team will have the option to skip your turn and keep the rhythm going (and then you can just take your turn when you have returned), or they can just wait for you to get back.
2. Staying on your own approach and lane and don’t wander off your bowling area onto someone else’s lane. I have seen this happen. Some bowlers back up to watch their shot and almost run into someone trying to bowl on the lane next to them, how rude! It's best to wait at the foul line until your shot is completely finished, then turn around and walk back to the ball return.
3. When having several balls in your bag, please do NOT keep them all on the rack at the same time. Please keep them down below the rack or in your bag until you need one of them, and then switch. Some people get upset if there are too many balls up on the rack because when the balls come back after a shot, they can come up the ball return very quickly and knock one of the balls off and could hit someone’s foot if someone is standing close to the ball return!
4. The bowler to the RIGHT always has the right of way because sometimes bowlers get up onto the approach at the same time. Over the years, sometimes when I was already set up to bowl, another bowler stepped up onto the approach, and totally threw me off. I wasn’t expecting it and I felt rushed and ended up with a lousy shot. If this happens to you, let them go and just step back. Then set yourself up again so you will have a great shot. It took practice, but I have disciplined myself to do this. After you finish bowling that frame, you can politely go over to the person and explain the bowling etiquette or tell the team captain to do so.
5. NOT yelling or talking loudly if a bowler is set up to bowl. It’s extremely distracting!!
6. NOT eating or drinking when in the sitting area or near the lane. Eat at the tables provided in the back part of the lanes.(It’s also good practice that if you bowl with your right hand, practice eating with your left hand and visa versa). You might not be able to hold onto the ball after eating some greasy French fries!
7. Leaving wet boots and shoes out of the bowling area!! Stepping in any moisture can make bowling shoes stick on the lane and if you step in any wetness with your sliding shoe, there's a good chance that you might go over the foul line or fall onto the lane.
8. NOT using someone else’s equipment without asking them first.
9. NOT putting your hand down in the ball return if a ball is stuck. Contact the front desk area who always has a mechanic on hand that will do the job.
10. When someone on the opposing team gets a strike or makes a difficult shot, give them a high five and don’t “Boo” them even though you want your team to win the game. Always show good sportsmanship. People don’t like a sore loser.
11. Lastly, NEVER ask a bowler if they have ever bowled a “300” game if they are getting a string of strikes (which is 12 consecutive strikes and the highest score one can achieve in the game of bowling). It’s considered a “Jinx” and they will most likely miss the next strike. They will also blame you, and rightly so. Bowling a 300 is not an easy thing to do and I would love to see anyone do it, even if my team has to lose the game! The first time I saw a live 300 game bowled was in a tournament I went to in Mexico City. It was so exciting!!
There is one other thing I think is worth mentioning. Always do your best and be honest about your game. There are people some refer to as "Sandbaggers". This means that they are decent bowlers but don't always do their best. They only bowl their best when a game calls for it. They keep their average low on purpose to get a large handicap and when a game is close, then they bowl well so they can win the game. We all want to win games, but please do NOT be a Sandbagger. You are not really being fair to yourself because you will never know what your real average would be by resorting to this unfair tactic.
In general, always do your best and be a good sport. Be courteous to other bowlers in your practice sessions and in your league!
Join me next week when I will be discussing my “What Do I need to Know About Bowling”-Part 1
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.