Bowling Etiquette

~Roll With Class and Style~

Bowling etiquette if used properly will help you enjoy your time at the alley and keep everyone around you happy too. It is a list of written and unwritten tips that will allow you to roll with class and style.

Bowling is a great sport for those who are serious and those who just want to have a fun time with family or friends. The problems come when people do not know or observe the rules of bowling. They are pretty simple, and even if you aren't the best bowler out there, everyone can follow them.

bowling etiquetteOur family enjoys a trip to the bowling alley every now and then. It is a great place to have some fun, laugh and get out of the house. We have seen a lot of interesting bowlers using their best and not-so-best bowling etiquette. It is easy to say that a bowling alley will show you all types of people, so if anything bowling is a great place to people watch.

Equipment Etiquette

Bowling equipment can either be rented at the alley or brought in. Many serious bowlers own their own bowling balls, shoes, towels and gloves. They take very good care of their equipment, because it helps them get the higher scores they are after.

The majority of bowling alleys have house shoes and bowling balls that they rent to people. If I may say, they are all pretty stylish. There are a couple of guidelines to taking care of house equipment and respecting other's equipment.
  • Always wear bowling shoes. They are specially made to take care of the lanes.
  • Always wear socks, especially if you are renting shoes from the alley. You never know what has been in the shoes.
  • Select house bowling balls that you can handle. If you select a ball that is too heavy you will not be able to control it. If you select a ball that is too small, your fingers will get stuck. 
  • Do not touch other people's equipment, especially if it is their own. They spend a lot of time, money and effort to maintain their equipment, respect that. 
  • Return the house bowling balls and shoes at the end of your games.

Lane Etiquette

Good bowling etiquette is shown when the you show respect for the lanes. Taking care of the equipment and the lanes themselves allows for everyone to continue to enjoy their time bowling. The following are some good tips that will show good sports etiquette:bowling etiquette 2

  • Remove your shoes away from the lane. There is usually a place for you to store your shoes while you bowl. This will also keep the lane clear of mud, water and anything else that can be damaging.
  • When entering your information into the scorecard, keep it clean and respectful. Using foul or suggestive language is simply not funny nor is it appropriate. 
  • Keep all food and drinks away from the lane. Eat in the designated areas.
  • When it is not your turn to bowl, avoid talking or yelling at the person who is bowling. Allow them the time and concentration they deserve.
  • When it is your turn to bowl, be ready to go. Grab your ball and step up.
  • Do your best to avoid stepping over the foul line. The lanes are specially oiled and when you step over the line, you get this oil on your shoes, which then tracks the oil all over the approach area, creating a slippery mess. 
  • If you and a bowler in the adjacent lane step up at the same time, bowling etiquette states that you should yield to the bowler on the right. Stand back and out of their line of sight until they have completed their frame. If the bowler on your left is not up to speed on these wonderful etiquette tips, then use your manners and yield to them. In the end, it will help you bowl better, because you are not distracted by them.
  • Avoid sticking your hands in the ball return area. It gets pretty exciting waiting for your ball to come back, just be a little patient and it will show up. 
  • Do your best to keep your equipment in your lane. Throwing your ball down another person's lane is a big faux pas. 
  • If you are not the best bowler, it is okay. We all started sometime. Just do your best to not chuck the ball like a shotput. This will keep the lanes from getting marred up.
  • As your ball is rolling down the lane, watch it with as little body motions as you can. Some is acceptable, however big dramatic arm and leg waving are not.
  • When you have finished your frame leave the lane quickly so the next bowler can prepare.
  • Cheering for each other is great! Just keep the obscene language and gestures to yourself.
  • If you are bowling with your children, do your best to keep them in your area and lane. It is frustrating for other bowlers to have to wait, move around and entertain other people's children.
Good bowling etiquette can be summed up pretty neatly with the golden rule: do unto others as you would have done unto you. This way, you will have a wonderful time and roll with style.

Follow Us!

Follow Me On Facebook    Follow Me On Twitter

Sign Up For Our Free Monthly Newsletter!

First Name


Don't worry -- your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Modern Manners.

Top Features

Phone Etiquette
Business Dining Etiquette
Overcome The Issues Of The Past