Persons of every age and level of skill can enjoy bowling. Even persons with physical disabilities
can bowl by using various kinds of adaptors made specifically for them. Bowling is truly a
democratic sport—one thatalmost everyone can learn to play and enjoy. It’s a good way to
socialize, exercise and compete all at the same time!
HISTORY OF THE GAME
The history of bowling can be traced back at least seven thousand years. The ancient Egyptians
enjoyed a version of the game, as indicated by bowling balls and pins found buried in an Egyptian
child’s grave. By the 1840s, bowling had become popular in America. The first indoor bowling
lanes were built in New York. Abraham Lincoln was among the many famous Americans who
enjoyed bowling. The American Bowling Conference (ABC) was foundedfor men in 1895. A
women’s organization, the WIBA, was founded in 1916. The two organizations now work together
to develop and enforce the rules of the game. The combined membership of the ABC and WIBC
was approximately ten million people in 1992. That’s almost 4% of the entire population of America,
and it doesn’t even count all those everyday bowlers who don’t belong to a conference, but who
bowl occasionally just for the fun of it.
HOW BOWLING IS DONE
THE BOWLING ALLEY
Bowling is done in a bowling “alley,” or “lane,” as it is sometimes called, which is 62 feet 10
inches long and about 41 inches wide. The area where the bowler stands is called the “approach
area,” and is 15 feet in length. The foul line separates the approach area from the alley.
Nine-inch-wide gutters run along both sides of the alley. At the other end of the alley, ten
bowling pins stand, arranged in a triangular formation as shown on the right. The object is
to knock down as many pins as you can each time you send the ball down the alley. The more
often you knock all of them down each time you bowl, the higher your score will be. Each pin
that is knocked down counts as one point. Each game is divided into ten “frames,” during which
each player has a chance to knock down the pins. If you knock down all the pins during each
frame, you will score 30 points per frame and 300 points for the game. For a novice bowler, a
score or 120 or so is considered good. A score between 160 and 180 is good for a regular bowler,
while professionals average more than 200 points in a single game. In each frame, the bowler gets
two chances unless the first try is a strike (knocking all the pins down at one time). The scores are
all marked on a score sheet using symbols as follows:
X This stands for a strike, which means that all the pins have been knocked down in one turn.
/ This stands for a spare, which means that all pins have been knocked down in two turns. A
bowler is awarded 10 points plus a bonus of he score on the next roll. If a spare is made on the
final frame, one extra roll is permitted.
O The zero is used to show a split ball, which occurs when the headpin is down and the
remaining pins have another pin down immediately ahead of or between them. Remember that
a split leaves pins that are not close together standing and it is therefore harder to knock them
down in one try.
F This mark means a foul, which happens when a player goes beyond the foul line. A hand or
arm, however, may extend over the foul line with no penalty. When a foul occurs, no score is
recorded for that shot.
BASIC BOWLING MOVES
The bowling pins may be approached in many different ways, but the most basic is called the
“four-step delivery.” Here is a summary of each step:
STEP ONE: If the bowler is right-handed, he or she should make the following seven movements:
1. Bend forward
2. Move the right foot forward about 12 inches.
3. Hold the ball forward and to the right.
4. Allow the left hand to leave the ball.
5. Keep the right wrist firm.
6. Keep shoulders parallel to the target.
7. Focus the eyes on the target.
STEP TWO: This step focuses on the left foot and right arm. Keep the right arm as close as
possible to the body as the ball is swung backwards.
STEP THREE: The ball now reaches the peak of the backswing (about shoulder height). Keep
the movements smooth and deliberate and don’t rush.
STEP FOUR: This step involves twelve movements:
1. Push forward off the right foot.
2. Slide on the front of the left foot.
3. Bend the left knee.
4. Bend at the waist and lean forward.
5. Let the ball swing forward under its own momentum.
6. Keep the right wrist and arm straight.
7. Keep the thumb positioned at “11 o’clock” (“1 o’clock” for left-handed persons).
8. The left knee continues to bend as the left foot slides to a stop.
9. The slide is completed a few inches from the foul line.
10. The left foot is pointed straight ahead.
11. The ball is released across the foul line.
12. The left arm and right foot extend for balance.
When the ball is released, the thumb comes out first, followed by the other fingers. At this point,
the arm is in a forward position and should continue to rise up to shoulder level. Some bowling
instructors don’t emphasize the follow-through, claiming instead that it occurs naturally if the ball
is thrown correctly. Other instructors feel that follow-through is an important if neglected part
of bowling. Try both to see which one works better for you.
FOUR BASIC SHOTS
The four basic shots indicate the way in which the ball rolls down the alley. These four shots
The straight shot is exactly what its name implies except that it is rolled down the alley slightly off
center in order to hit the first pin at an advantageous angle.
The hook shot consistently beats other shots in producing strikes. The hook, if thrown properly,
will start a chain reaction among the pins. The hooking motion of the ball’s trajectory results from
the way in which the middle and ring fingers are released as the ball is thrown onto the alley.
The curve ball is difficult to control. It is actually an exaggerated version of the hook shot, but
because of the side path, there is more room for error in this shot.The backup shot is seldom used.
It works from left to right, the exact opposite of the other three shots. Most professional players
advise against using this type of shot.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING
The two essential pieces of equipment needed in bowling are a bowling ball and a pair of bowling
shoes. Clothing can be any comfortable, loose-fitting sportswear that allows room for free movement.
Weight, span and pitch must all be considered in selecting a bowling ball. “Span” is the distance
between the thumb hole and the finger holes. “Pitch” is the angle at which the finger holes are
drilled. With regards to weight, the rule of thumb is to select the heaviest ball that can be handled
with ease. Choosing a ball that is too heavy and becoming fatigued from using it defeats the purpose
of the game. A good pro shop can help a beginning bowler decide where holes should be drilled in the
ball to insure a comfortable fit. The choice of bowling shoes depends upon which hand the bowler
uses to roll the ball. For example, if the bowler is right-handed, the left shoe needs to allow
sliding while the right shoe provides the necessary traction. The opposite is true for left-handed
BOWLING NOTES AND NEWS
Bowling is one of the most popular pastimes in North America. Friends, families and other
ordinary folks meet at local lanes to bowl a few frames. Kids and grownups alike enjoy the game.
Because recreational bowling doesn’t require long hours of conditioning for strength or endurance,
everybody gets a chance to bowl, both young and old. On the competitive circuit, it’s a different
story. Concentration, practice, and the development of natural skills all go into making a
championship bowler. While everybody knows somebody who bowls, few people know the
champions. Bowling has its own professional circuit, just like other sports. The 2000 PBA
(Professional Bowling Association) Major tournaments with their winners were as follows:
New Orleans Casino Open Ryan Shafer
PBA Chattanooga Open Parker Bohn III
Empire State Open Pete Weber
PBA National Chapionship Norm Duke
Brunswick Player’s Champ. Dennis Horan Jr.
PBA Columbia 300 Open Danny Wiseman
Lone Star Open Steve Hoskins
Clay Duke, of Baker, LA., became the first bowler to roll a 300 game in 2000. The 23
year-old right hander, who was competing in only his third American Bowling Congress
(ABC) championship, threw strikes on his last 12 balls. Less than 24 hours later, Duke’s
feat was matched by Brian Saucet of San Marcos, CA. He accomplished the perfect
game in his first singles match.
Parker Bohn III reached a milestone in his career by capturing the 2001 American Bowling
Congress Masters recently at the National Bowling Stadium. Bohn, of Jackson, New
Jersey, faced long-time rival and friend Jason Couch, of Clermont, Florida, in the title
matdch, 248-237, to win his 27th Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) title and his
WHAT TO DO
The following questions will help you to have a greater appreciation and understanding
of bowling. Write your answers in the spaces below the questions. If there is not enough
room, write on the backs of these sheets. Be neat, spell correctly, and write in complete
1. What types of physical benefits can be obtained from bowling?
2. What basic equipment is needed for bowling?
3. What factors are important in selecting a bowling ball?
4. Describe the stages in a four-step delivery.5. What is meant by “follow-through” in bowling?
6. What are the four basic shots in bowling?
7. What is a split ball?
8. What constitutes a foul in bowling?
9. How many times does each player get to bowl in a typical game?
10. How many frames are there per game? How many possible points can a bowler
make? What would be a good score for a beginning bowler?
Short Answer Questions:
1. Where bowling is done
2. Angle which finger holes are drilled
3. Games are made of ten of these
4. The term used to describe knocking down all the pins in two turns
5. Distance on the ball between the thumb and finger holes
6. They come out last when the ball is released
7. When the ball rolls off of the alley it ends up here
8. What comes out first when the ball is released
9. This foot slides for right-handed bowlers
10. Number of pins in bowling
11. One of the types of shots in bowling
12. When a player goes over the line on the floor while bowling
13. How heavy a bowling ball is can be referred to as its _______
14. Points for knocking down all pins in one frame
15. This bowling shot does not curve
16. Area where bowler stands
17. The term used for knocking down all the pins in one turn
18. The number of basic shots in bowling
19. This term is used to describe the situation when the head pin is down and other pins are still up
20. One does this to the bowling ball to knock down the pins