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Bowling Etiquette
The true meaning of bowling etiquette is to be respectful of others and the game being played. As with any other game, there are rules as to how it’s played. Etiquette is different. It’s the sportsmanship shown when practicing and/or competing and it’s relatively simple and easily understood.

For example, running and general “horseplay” is dangerous in a bowling center. This type of activity is disruptive and distracting to those who are bowling. Be courteous and respect other bowlers and the bowling facility. Stay on your lane or in the seating area behind your lane unless you’ve completely left the bowler’s area.

Change into your bowling shoes and keep your street shoes and other items out of the walkways. There can be a lot of traffic in the bowling center and cluttering up walkways is a safety hazard.
On the Lanes

When a bowler gets on the approach and there’s someone on either side of them, the general rule is that the first one on the approach bowls first. If there’s any question as to who was up first, the bowler on the right should bowl.

A bowler already lined up in their stance and ready to bowl should not wait, they should just go. Standing on the approach is not the place to talk with friends.
After the Shot

Once you’ve delivered the ball and it’s rolling down the lane, there’s a tendency to think that body language will help knock down more pins. This only works in theory. Remember to keep “whatever moves you” to your own lane. Staying in your own lane keeps others from getting distracted while they’re playing.
Know the Score

If a bowler scores a strike on the first ball, there is no need for them to remain at the ball return. If the bowler doesn’t score a strike on the first ball, they should step off the approach to allow other players to bowl.

Be considerate towards teammates and other bowlers on adjacent lanes. Respect your teammates and adapt a general attitude of good sportsmanship to everyone in the bowling center. After all, everyone’s there to have fun too.

There are some unwritten rules that your league mates will expect you to know. Follow these and you won’t make any rookie mistakes.

• Street shoes are not allowed
• First one on the approach goes first and, when in doubt, the person to the right goes first
• Keep your post-shot celebration (or anger) to your own lane
• Be ready when it’s your turn to bowl
• Do not eat or drink in the bowling area
• Do not linger on the approach
• Have fun with your team, but be respectful of your opponents

Every sport has its own language and bowling is no different. Learn the lingo and you’ll be ready to join the conversation.

• 180: When the pin sweep gets stuck in the back position
• 7-10 split: Typically referred to as the toughest split
• Arrows: The triangles on the lane used to aid in aiming
• Baby Split: The 2-7 or 3-10
• Big Four: The 4-6-7-10
• Blind score: The score assigned to a bowler who is absent
• Brooklyn: Getting a strike hitting the other pocket
• Deadwood: A pin that is not able to be swept into the back
• Foul line: The line that separates the approach and the lane
• Greek Church: The 4-6-7-8-10 or 4-6-7-9-10
• Handicap: The number of pins received to equalize the competition
• Pocket: Between the 1-3 for right handers and 1-2 for left handers
• Scratch: The score before any handicap is applied
• Turkey: Three strikes in a row