Ten Pin Bowling Rules You Must Know
As with any sport, there are rules
and guidelines that you must play by when bowling.
Not only are there rules of the game, but the
bowling alley also has rules and regulations that you must
The first rule in most any bowling alley
across the country is the fact that only leather-soled shoes
are allowed in the approach area. The
bowling alley rents shoes for the convenience of the
players. Most alleys have sales shops in which you can
purchase shoes if you are an avid player.
The second main rule is that while most
alleys sell food and beverages, these things are never
permitted in the approach area. This is
for the safety of the players as well as a reduction in
possible damage to the floor. Wet
spills could cost someone a fall resulting in injury, which
would leave the owners responsible. So always leave your food
and drink in the appropriate areas.
Once you are on the bowling floor, there are
rules of the game that you should follow and keep in mind at
There are boundaries that you should contain
not only the bowling ball too, but also your person. In
the approach area there are many other players, so you should
be cautious and stay in your lane as not to interrupt their
play or have a collision.
As far as the ball is concerned the
boundaries are the gutters and the foul line. The gutter
is the area that is run along the length of the lane on either
side. The foul line is located where the approach area
stops and the lane begins.
Safety as well as playing rules prohibits the
crossing of the foul line.
First, the lane is oily and can cause a
slippery surface. Secondly, it is considered a foul if
you cross the foul line - no points will be given for any pins
knocked down on this roll. If the foul occurs on the
first ball of a frame, the bowler is allowed to bowl a full set
of pins for the second ball.
Observing the above rules will go a long way
to making everyone's game a lot more enjoyable.
For those who are past the novice stage of
bowling and are ready for the more intricate aspects of
bowling, you will want to make sure to observe the rules set
forth by the various governing bodies that oversee the game
(e.g. United States Bowling
Congress, which always updates
Some of the most commonly cited rules at
bowling alleys are the mode of ball delivery and when a ball is
The mode of ball delivery applies to those
who have drilled additional holes into their bowling balls so
as to affect the trajectory the ball will take once it is
If you have a ball that has additional holes,
you must cover these holes with your palm before releasing the
ball. Failure to do so might result in your delivery
being declared illegal, and you will loose any advantage you
may have gained during that roll.
Some rules are more controversial, and even
though these rules stand, several leagues have taken to modify
them, simply to add a bit more fun to the game.
This refers to the rule when a ball is declared
"dead". Obviously, a gutter ball is always considered out
of bounds, and you will not receive any credit for the
Yet what should happen if the ball somehow
rebounds and leaves the gutter lane only to knock down several
The official rules state that this ball is
still considered "dead" and that you will not receive credit
for the pins that were knocked down. However, some groups
have taken to modifying that latter portion of the rule, so as
to give either partial or complete credit for the
Also, what should happen if a bowler steps on
or over the foul line but he hasn't released the ball
yet? There is a rule that states that the bowler is
allowed to re-throw the shot with no penalty as long as the
ball was not released.
It is probably your best bet to inquire about
the rules before play begins, just to make sure that everyone
is on the same page before the game starts.