Proper Bowling Etiquette (Part 2)

Odds, Oddities, and Ends

Preparing to Bowl (1 lane): If the person bowling to your immediate right or left reaches the lane before you do, you MUST allow them to bowl before you bowl. If you attempt to bowl while they are bowling, you will likely get sneers, hear jeers, and be called a lowly amateur.
When you Gotta go…: During league play, whether it be to use the restroom, order cheese sticks from the restaurant, or pick up a beer from the bar, make sure that you do so right at the end of your turn. There is nothing worse than coming back twenty minutes late to have your teammates glaring at you.

Preparing to Bowl (2 lanes): If the person bowling two lanes to your left or right (leaving one open lane in between) is about to go, breathe easy, you can bowl without fear of recompense. Most every bowling league in the world uses this as a standard rule.
Sick Bump: On the rare occasion that you are sick while bowling, it’s best not to congratulate your opponents with fingers or fists that have seen strong amounts of germ action recently. Instead, offer them the ‘Sick bump’. Use your elbow to accept their high fives and/or fist bumps. This will ensure their health and allow them to appreciate your thoughtfulness.
One Ball on the Rack: For the league bowlers, make sure you only have one ball on the ball return at a time. For those of us who use a spare ball, this can be quite tricky. If you are forced to use your spare ball on your second shot (damn 10 pins…), pull your strike ball off the rack and set it aside until your next shot. Don’t be that guy who stands in front of the lane he just bowled, blocking the next bowler, while waiting for his spare ball to come back.

Preparing to Bowl (empty lanes): On the rare occasion that no one is bowling between you and the end of the alley (either to the right or left of you), upon releasing your ball, you are required to turn to your right (or left) and run down the approaches of the other lanes until you reach the side of the building. Reaching the side of the building before your ball hits the pins will result in a guaranteed strike (results may vary)

USBC National Tournament


The premiere bowling tournament of any year is the United States Bowling Congress National Tournament. It is held in a different location every year (2017’s tournament is in Las Vegas; 2018 will be in Syracuse, NY) and lasts from February until the 4th of July. And every USBC sanctioned league bowler in America is invited to attend! With that in mind, here are a few tips and notes for when you’re ready to attend the tournament.

When should I sign up?
As soon as you can. Squad dates and times fill up quickly (especially on the weekend sessions). Many bowlers will sign up a year in advance so that they can assure themselves the dates and times they want to bowl. The latest you want to sign up is 4 months out from the event.

What does it cost?
The tournament can be a bit of an investment. Prices vary depending on the events, the dates, and the times you sign up for (there is sometimes an extra charge for weekend bowling). Someone participating in all the major categories will probably spend between $175 and $200. Additionally, unless you live in one of the host cities, you’ll need to factor in travel expenses such as airfare, hotel, and food while you’re there.

What are the major categories?
Singles, Doubles, and 5-man team are the standard categories. The team portion is bowled on day 1. You and your team bowl 3 games, alternating lanes with another team. You stay on the same pair for all 3 games. The Singles/Doubles portion is bowled on day 2. You will bowl 3 games with your doubles partner, followed immediately by 3 games as a singles bowler. All 6 games are bowled on one pair, and generally 6 total bowlers bowl on each pair.

What are the lane conditions like?
The USBC changes the oil pattern for each tournament and generally has different patterns for the team portion and the singles/doubles portion. For a standard house shot bowler, it’s important to know that you will struggle to shoot high scores. More than likely, you will be between 20-40 pins lower than your league average. Even if you bowl a sport shot league, you will still likely struggle a little.

What else can you tell me?
The event is awesome and a whole lot of fun. When you arrive at the alley, you’ll go behind the scenes to have your bowling balls measured and weighed to make sure you are using legal equipment. If it turns out you’re not, you will have a short amount of time to get the ball corrected at the pro-shop so that you can use it at the tournament. After the weighing, you, your team, and all the other teams, will be marched out into the alley to exciting music and cheers from the crowd! Before you know it, you’ll be bowling in one of the finest bowling alleys in the United States!

Is it worth it?
YES! The trip is great for friends and family alike, and is a great experience whether you only go once, or go every year! Additionally, if you do bowl well, you can win great money prizes!