Proper bowling etiquette is important for many reasons. First off, it helps make the game a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved, whether you are just having fun with friends or on a league. Second, it helps keep everyone and everything safe. Read this article if you’d like to know how you can have proper bowling etiquette next time you go out bowling.
EditGeneral Etiquette Tips
- Wear bowling shoes at all times while in the bowler’s area. If you wear street shoes, you risk ruining the approaches and/or the equipment.
- When you are putting your bowling shoes on, be sure that you move them as far away from walkways as possible, to avoid anyone tripping on them.
- If your street shoes are wet or dirty, be sure that you take them off as far away from the lanes as possible. If you track water, mud, or anything else onto the lanes, then you run the risk of you or someone else falling flat on their face.
- Avoid eating or drinking while on the bowler’s area. Something as simple as a drop of water could easily create a big hazard. Eat or drink either at a seating area that is usually located behind the general bowling area, or simply just away from all of the lanes.
- Avoid swearing or shouting. Even if you were really upset about a missed strike, remember that especially if you are at an open bowling session, and there are families with children there, they can likely hear you and it may cause them to be uncomfortable.
- Stay off of the approach unless it is your turn. If it is not your turn, either go to the seating area behind you or step out of any bowlers’ ways. This can be an annoyance, especially if they were in the middle of throwing their ball and you walked in front of them.
- Make sure that you have permission to use another person’s ball. If for whatever reason you need to use it, ask them politely, and make sure that you have a good reason. If they end up saying no, respect that and move on.
- If you need to use another person’s ball because your ball is stuck, then simply let the next bowler on your lane know. Their ball may hit it, or theirs may become stuck too. If their ball becomes stuck too, go up to a worker and tell them that you have a couple of bowling balls that are stuck. It may take awhile to get them back, but it may also avoid someone from becoming upset that their ball was used.
EditWhen You Are Bowling
- Be ready to take your turn immediately. Most likely, there are other bowlers on your lane who would like to bowl too. Therefore, when it is your turn, be sure you are walking up to the area immediately to avoid keeping everyone waiting.
- If you need to use the bathroom, try and time it out so you have a minute before your turn, and go as quick as possible. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can also designate someone to bowl for you if you do not come back in time so that no one is kept waiting.
- Wait until the pin setting machine has finished its entire cycle and the sweep bar is lifted completely before you bowl. While you should be ready to bowl immediately when it is your turn, wait until that short process is complete, because failing to do so could result in you damaging equipment or your ball, and it may also result in your ball getting stuck. 
- Avoid stepping over the foul line. It is dangerous to do so, because it can result in you getting oil on the approach, which can be dangerous for anyone who is walking on it. 
- Avoid throwing your ball down the wrong lane. Although you will likely be told if you are about to throw your ball down the wrong lane, you may not be. Therefore, it is important that you pay attention to which lane you are on at all times, because if you throw your ball down the wrong lane, the game will likely be delayed because the score will have to be changed.
- Step away from the approach immediately when your turn is finished. This will immediately open up the approach so that someone else can bowl right away, and it won’t unnecessarily delay the game.
- Recognize that the bowler on the right is given priority. If it is your turn, and you as well as the person to the right of you are ready to bowl at the same time, let them go first. Step off of the approach and wait patiently for them to finish.
- If you notice that it is someone’s turn, and they aren’t paying attention, tap them on the shoulder, and say “_______ (name of person), it’s your turn.” They shouldn’t get mad, and if they didn’t realize, they may even be happy that you told them.
- If you happen to notice that someone is about to bowl on the wrong lane, be kind and let them know. As stated above, mistakes happen, and you’ll likely save a few minutes of time, because that’s a score that will not need to be changed.
- Be a good sport. During the game, congratulate someone if they got a strike or spare, and after the game, congratulate someone if they got a good score. If someone is doing bad, and they seem discouraged about it, let them know that it’s okay, and everyone bowls bad games in bowling once in awhile.
- Help tidy up the area after you’re finished. Bring back any bowling balls that you may have borrowed from the alley, as well as your shoes. You can also offer to bring up bowling balls or other things for anyone else you may have bowled with.
- Accidents do happen. Therefore, if your ball gets stuck, or if any incidents happen, be sure that you tell a worker. They will likely be happy you told them, and they’ll either clean something up or give you paper towels if necessary, or do whatever is necessary if you have a problem on the lanes.
- If you have young children with you, make sure they exercise common courtesy. They may not fully understand that the bowler to their right must go first, but at least try to keep them from being overly rowdy and distracting the other people at the bowling alley.
- Giving tips to other bowlers you are with is fine, but avoid being overbearing. Being overbearing may cause them to get annoyed, and it may actually distract them when they are throwing their ball down the lane.
- Clean up any garbage at the end. Whether it be a cup, a bunch of napkins or even uneaten food, throw it away. This will prevent the workers at the lane from having to clean up a mess someone else made. If you don’t know where any trash cans are, politely ask a worker, and they will usually tell you.
- Whether you are going to have someone bowl for you or not, be sure to alert a member of your group if you are using the restroom. It saves time because they won’t wonder where you are. If you don’t want someone to bowl for you, be sure to mention that too.
EditSources and Citations