Bowling is an incredibly popular activity: it’s enjoyed all around the world by more than 100 million people and can range from a competitive sport to a leisurely night out among family or friends. If you’re planning to hit the local bowling center for an evening of strikes, spares, and maybe a few gutterballs, there are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind.
1. Brush up on Bowling Etiquette
Bowling doesn’t have a huge list of complicated rules that you need to memorize, but there are a few important points of etiquette that you’ll need to know in order to make everyone’s bowling experience go smoothly. First, be mindful of other bowlers on the lanes directly next to you. If one of them is standing on the approach waiting to bowl, do not go up yourself until they are done. When it is your turn, be ready so that you don’t keep everyone else waiting. If you need to use the restroom or buy another drink, wait until just after your turn so you have time to get back. Also, be sure you don’t walk over the foul line during your shot and avoid throwing before the pinsetter has come down to clear away and reset pins, as your ball could damage it. Beyond that try to generally be a good sport and refrain from yelling in either joy or frustration or doing anything else that might disrupt other bowlers.
2. Learn About the Alley
It’s also a good idea to spend a little time researching the alley you’ll be visiting, especially if you’re in charge of organizing the outing. Most bowling alleys offer specials on different days of the week, so take a look to see if you can find a good deal at the right time. Increasingly, bowling centers have more than just bowling, so see if your party will be interested in any of the other activities offered either before or after your games. If you haven’t limited yourself to a particular alley yet, compare a few different ones in your area to see what will give you the most bang for your buck.
3. Know Your Equipment
One thing that makes bowling a great sport is that it doesn’t require a lot of specialized gear to get started. There are, however, a couple of essential pieces of equipment: bowling shoes and a bowling ball. You can’t wear your street shoes on the bowling lanes because they can damage them, so you need special shoes that are designed for the task. And as for the ball, you of course need something to throw at the pins! Fortunately, you can borrow both of these so you don’t need to get your own. Bowling shoes will cost you a few dollars to rent, while the alley will provide many different balls you can use free of charge. If you plan to go bowling more than once, it might actually be more cost-effective to get your own pair of bowling shoes, as they are relatively cheap and renting a pair can cost you up to $4 or so, so they’ll pay for themselves after just a few sessions. Plus, then you won’t have to wear a pair of shoes that have been worn by many other people! If you decide you want to get serious about bowling, then you can also get a ball of your own, but you won’t need to do this if you’re just going to go every once in a while for recreation with friends.
4. Have Fun!
Like most games, bowling is more fun when you’re doing well, but remember that things won’t go perfectly, especially if you haven’t bowled a whole lot before. Use it as a learning experience and stay positive no matter what your final score is. Be sure to take some time to take a deep breath and enjoy your experience and those people with whom you are sharing it.