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Glenn Hamilton

Bowling is a fun and easy game that can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of age or athletic ability. It is a popular activity for families and friends, as well as a serious sport that has spawned many tournaments, leagues, and organizations. Check out the resources below to learn all about how to get started with this popular sport.

The Basics

The rules of bowling are very straightforward. At the end of a 60-ft long lane are ten pins, which the player must knock down. Players throw the ball twice each turn, with points awarded for each pin knocked over. If the player picks up a spare (when the remaining pins are knocked over with the second ball) it is recorded as a slash mark. A strike-which is when all of the pins are knocked over with the first ball of the frame-is indicated with an "X" on the scorecard. Special shoes are required for bowling since regular shoes can easily damage the lane. Bowling shoes and balls can be rented from the bowling alley, although serious players might want to invest in their own. Below are several resources to help beginners get comfortable with the rules of the game.

Learning the Lingo

Whether the plan is to join a league or play casually with friends, it's a good idea to get familiar with the lingo of the bowling alley. For example, a "Cincinnati" is a nickname for an 8-10 split, while the term "Brooklyn" is used when a bowler hits the opposite side of the head pin. A "perfect game" means bowling a game of twelve strikes in a row, and a "turkey" happens when a bowler rolls three strikes in a row. Take a look at these extensive glossaries to learn more popular bowling terms.

Avoiding Injuries

Just like with any sport, it is important to warm-up before bowling. Constant repetitive movement can be hard on the body, especially the knees, wrists, and shoulders. There are many simple exercises and stretches that can be done before a game to loosen the joint and warm the muscles. These exercises will help prevent many of the common injuries experienced by professional and amateur bowlers.

Bowling for Kids

In addition to being a great family activity, bowling is a wonderful game for kids because it teaches teamwork, concentration, and patience. It is important to teach kids proper bowling etiquette and warm-up exercises so that they carry good habits with them throughout the years. Bumpers can easily be used to block the gutters, which will make the game fun for very young children. Playing bowling games online is a fun way to get used to the rules of the sport, so that playing in person will be a snap.

Special Olympics

Bowling is a sport that does not discriminate-almost anyone can learn to play, despite physical or mental abilities. It is one of the most popular sports in the Special Olympics because it provides great exercise and opportunities for socialization and teamwork.

Professional Bowlers

Professional bowling has been a popular sport in the United States since the '70s. Some of the most successful professional bowlers of all time are Walter Ray Williams Jr., Earl Anthony, Mark Roth, Mike Aulby, Parker Bohn III, and Don Carter. These athletes have held anywhere from 41 to 6 titles during their professional careers.

Associations and Organizations

For those interested in joining a national or regional organization, there are many groups from which to choose. Founded in 1958, the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) is probably the most well known out of them all. The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) is another popular organization for amateur youth and adult bowlers, while the National Bowling Association is a nonprofit group focused on encouraging African Americans to develop their skills in the game. Check out the list of professional organizations by state to find a nearby group.