Proper Bowling Etiquette

Every competitive sport in the history of humankind, including bowling, has proposed a set of rules and regulations to be played fairly. But some specific rules and regulations are not mandatory, yet they make the experience of the game incredibly respectful and wholesome – these rules fall under game etiquette.

You might be wondering, what is Proper Bowling Etiquette, and how do I follow it? Well, that is precisely what I am here to tell you.

In this article, I will talk about proper bowling etiquette, dos and don’ts of bowling, as well as a few tips on how you can make your overall bowling etiquette better. So, make sure you read this article till the very end so you can play the game properly and respectfully.

Proper Bowling Etiquette

What is Proper Bowling Etiquette?

Proper bowling etiquettes are the manners and doings you adopt while playing bowling to respect your opponents and team players.

Like every other game, there are ways you can make the game of ten-pin bowling incredibly respectful and gentlemanly for your opposition in a way that they would respect and admire.

Bowling etiquette is something that is expected from professional players. However, just knowing how to score points and knock all the pins is not all pros need to know.

If you know how to get strikes and spares, but you are unsure when to yield, when to take a shot, not to run in a bowling alley, shout at another player, and many other things, you will not be considered a good bowler.

But one thing to know is that if you are a beginner and have recently started bowling, you do not need to be too worried about etiquette as no one would expect you to know everything right away.

You can take your time and slowly learn about all the essential dos and don’ts of the proper bowling etiquette so you can become a proper professional bowler.

Bowling Etiquettes: Do’s and Don’ts

Bowling Etiquette provides you a list of some of the major positives and negatives in terms of actions when you are bowling with someone. Let us take about some of the Dos and Don’ts of Bowling Etiquette to understand bowling culture and how to respect our opponents while playing with them.

Do: Return Equipment to Right Place

Whenever you are going bowling with your friends and family or in a tournament, you need to make sure the following; Once you have used the equipment like bowling gloves, shoes, and house ball, that you return all these things and others to the alley management and storage counter instead of leaving them on the alley floor.

Don’t: Use Someone Else’s Equipment without asking

This is one of the most crucial things you need to consider. Do not use someone’s equipment, bowling ball, or anything without first asking them. You need to ask their permission, and if they allow you to use it, you can use it. However, it would help if you tried to have spare equipment for your games.

Do: Be Polite to Bowlers

Bowling is a game of happiness and warmth. If you are not always happy and smiling, the game can feel tame and rude. So, make sure you are always polite to other bowlers because that will be extremely necessary if you want to have a good time.

Don’t: Talk Smack to Opponents

Having a little friendly banter is fun and exciting. However, if the banter exceeds being fun to aggravated, make sure you do not talk too much smack to your opponents and heat things. Bowling alleys and bowlers do not like this and try to keep their banters up to throwing bowling balls and scoring points.

Do: Have fun in the name of competition

If you are passionate about bowling, you are going to have an incredible time playing it. So try to make sure that you’re enjoying the game of bowling when you’re involved in it. Be competitive but at the same time, try to enjoy every moment of the game.

Don’t: Lose Your Cool

One thing that you need to avoid when you are bowling with friends and family is raging. Sometimes you might not be in your element and perform well. Please do not lose your cool, and do not shout at your fellow bowlers as it is never suggested, and it seems ungentlemanly.

Do: Wear Socks

As a bowler, you need to make sure that you are utilizing all the equipment you need. That includes bowling socks. If you wear bowling shoes without socks, you might end up getting blisters or smelly feet. And we all know smelly feet are not something that etiquette teaches us.

Don’t: Crowd the Lane

Once you have thrown the bowling ball, you do not need to linger around the bowling lane for too long; this can hinder the experience of the other players and make you look like a bad sport. Make sure you leave the lane alone and go and sit on the chairs at the back once you have thrown your ball.

Bowling Etiquette: Who Goes First?

A question that has been asked quite often is when two bowlers on adjacent lanes are ready to bowl at the same time, which should yield and let the other one throw first? Well, here is the answer.

In such a case, the left lane player should yield and let the right lane player complete their shot; once their shot is completed, the left lane player can take their shot.

This is to provide excessive space to the thrower on each side in their respective turns. It does not mean to give priority to any particular player, just common courtesy.

Bowling Etiquette: When a Team Player is missing

If a single team player is missing in a game, the team with a single less player still has their chance to play and win the game. So what happens is that the team with fewer players rotates and takes turns to fill out the empty player’s spot, and the cycle continues until all the frames are completed.

Another question that I am asked a lot: what happens when one team has four bowlers and the other two? In pro bowling, if such a situation exists, the team with two missing players is ineligible to compete in the game, and therefore the game does not occur.

Tips for Better Bowling Etiquette

Just by using basic bowling etiquette, you can make a world of difference in your bowling experience and the experience of others with you, but there are a few tips that you can use to take your bowling etiquette to another level; let us take a look at these tips:

Keep Food and Beverages Away

Food and Drinks are the new norms for bowling alleys and even proper bowling leagues. However, it is best if you keep food away from the bowling lanes. Bringing food to the lane can be disrespectful to your opponent and the game itself, so it needs to be avoided.

Respect Your Opponent

Whether you are a bowler or a swordsman, respecting your opponent is a must. Ensure that you respect your opponent no matter their skill level to give them a sense of appreciation and encouragement, which may help them improve their game and become better at the sport itself.

Stay away from foul-committing

Fouls are a prevalent thing in bowling. If you are new to bowling, you need to know to stay away from committing fouls. Be it a gutter ball or overstepping the foul line, make sure you learn not to commit fouls and be respectful to the game when you are playing it.

Be focused on your game

Bowling requires an incredible amount of concentration when you are bowling against top-notch bowlers. So a tip for better bowling etiquette would be to give your all to the game, focus entirely on the arrows, and give your all to win the game completely. That should be your one true goal when you are playing ten-pin bowling or any other variation.

Don’t be a sore loser

Winning and losing is a part of every game. Although you should always aim to win a game and give your all to it, you should never be a sore loser. Loss is what teaches us to be better and win the next time. So, make sure you do not put up a rude face when you lose, and you take losses like a champ!


Every game and sport has some rules and playing etiquette to follow. If these rules are not followed, the game is not considered fair play. Bowling etiquette is essential if you want to be successful in bowling and you want to create friends in the bowling circuit and be known as one of the best to play the game.

I hope you learned a lot from this article and that you are going to employ all of these bowling etiquettes and mannerisms in your everyday bowling experience and give your opponents something to cherish. Have an incredibly fantastic bowling experience!

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