||The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (September 2012)|
Bowling refers to a series of sports or leisure activities in which a player rolls or throws a bowling ball. In indoor bowling, the target is usually to knock over pins. In outdoor variations, the aim is usually to get the ball as close to a target ball as possible. The indoor version of bowling is often played on a flat wooden or other synthetic surface, while outdoor bowling the surface may be grass, gravel or a synthetic surface. The most common types of indoor bowling include ten-pin, nine-pin, candlepin, duckpin and five-pin bowling, while in outdoor bowling, bowls, bocce, pétanque and boules are popular. Today, the sport of bowling is enjoyed by 95 million people in more than 90 countries worldwide.
There are many forms of bowling, with one of the most recent being ten-pin bowling, also known as the norm. The earliest most primitive forms of bowling can be dated back to Ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire. Indeed, about 2,000 years ago a similar game evolved between Roman legionaries: it entailed tossing stone objects as close as possible to other stone objects (this game became popular with Roman soldiers, and eventually evolved into Italian Bocce, or outdoor bowling).
The first standardized rules for pin were established in New York City, on September 9, 1895. Today, bowling is enjoyed by 95 million people in more than ninety countries worldwide and continues to grow through entertainment media such as video games for home consoles and handheld devices.
Bowling is an anaerobic type of physical exercise, similar to walking with free weights. Bowling helps in burning calories and works muscle groups not usually exercised. The flexing and stretching in bowling works tendons, joints, ligaments, and muscles in the arms and promotes weight loss. While most sports are not for elderly people, it is possible to practice bowling very well at advanced ages.
Like any other physical activity, warming up helps to prevent injuries. Bowling balls are heavy with varying weight ranges; to avoid back and wrist injury, they should be picked up with both hands. It’s also recommended to bend one’s knees while picking up bowling balls to avoid back injuries. Most bowling ball return mechanisms use a power-lift that includes a spinning wheel, and it is recommended that bowlers should keep their hands clear of it. Bowlers should also warm up their fingers before inserting them into a bowling ball, to ensure that their fingers do not get stuck in the ball.
Even in small ball bowling, balls should be picked up with one hand on each side of the ball - small balls return to the rack with enough force to smash fingers.
It is very common in bowling to warm up in other sports by stretching the arms and legs. Some ways bowler stretch is by using the bowling ball as a sort-of medicine ball. They pick up the bowling ball and put the ball behind their head and stretch their arms. Normally bowlers squeeze the bowling ball. They also stretch their quadriceps by lifting their leg behind their back. "A warm up should begin with some light activity to increase blood flow to the muscles" (("Bowling stretches," )
It is imperative to keep the soles of bowling shoes dry. If the bowling shoe sole gets wet, it can stick like glue on an approach and result in the bowler suffering a wipeout or blown knee. The most common causes of wet bowling shoes tend to be spilled beverages, drips in washrooms and near concessions, and snowmelt or rainwater tracked into the bowling center. Outdoor footwear should be removed at the bowling center entrance. All spills should be reported to bowling center staff and cleaned immediately. A shoe cover is sold in most pro shops for bowlers who still want to wear bowling shoes while walking around the alley, in the washroom etc. Removable soles are sold with higher end bowling shoes to combat when a bowling shoe does get wet.
The lane surface carries a high amount of oil (lane conditioner) and is extremely slippery. A bowler should never cross the foul line at the approach. Only authorized personnel should step past the foul line, even if it is to pick up a loose item that fell onto the lane.
The most common bowling is ten pin bowling. In ten pin bowling, matches consist of each player bowling a "game". Each game is divided into ten "frames". A frame allows a bowler two chances to knock down all ten pins. The number of pins knocked over in each frame is recorded, a running total is made as each frame progresses, and the player with the highest score in his/her game wins the match. Scores can be greater than the actual number of pins knocked over if strikes or spares are bowled. A "strike" is scored when a player knocks down all pins on the first roll in the frame. Rather than a score of 10 for the frame, the player's score will be 10 plus the total pins knocked down on the next two rolls in the next frame(s). A "spare" is scored when all pins are knocked down using both rolls in the frame. The player's score for that frame will be 10 plus the number of pins knocked down on the first roll in the next frame. A player who rolls a spare or strike in the last frame is given one or two more rolls to score additional points, respectively.
Two consecutive strikes is known as a "double" (also known among older bowlers as a hambone, prior to Pro Bowling Association/ESPN announcers changing it). Three consecutive strikes is known as a "turkey." Four consecutive strikes is known as a "hambone" (PBA announcing in 2009/2010) or "four bagger". Five consecutive strikes is known as a "five bagger", "dropping the nickel", or "Yahtzee" (PBA). Six consecutive strikes is known as a "six-pack" or "Six bagger". Seven or more follow the "-pack"/"bagger" rule, or is simply called (number of strikes) in a row. As of November, 2012, three consecutive spares is known as a "chicken." A perfect game consists of 12 consecutive strikes, one for every frame and two more on the extra rolls in the 10th, and results in a score of 300. A clean game is filling every frame with either a spare or a strike. In many forms of indoor bowling (specifically ten-pin, candlepin, and duckpin), the highest possible score is 300. In five-pin, the highest possible score is 450.
A common variation of the game is no-tap, a form of bowling where a specific number or more pins knocked down counts as a strike. Nine or eight pin no-tap is most often used.
Ball release techniques and delivery styles
There are typically two different ways to roll a ball down the lane.
- Beginners commonly just bowl the ball straight down the lane, hoping to hit the 1 and 2 pocket or the 1 and 3 pocket. When bowling straight like this, people often hold the ball with their hand in a "W" shaped form.
- The hook or curve ball is commonly used by more advanced players. As the bowler releases the ball, the ball starts out straight and then "hooks" because of the rotation the bowler puts on the ball during release. When curving, most people use two fingers and a thumb.
There are three different types of styles used when releasing the ball onto the lane. The three styles are the stroker, cranker and tweener styles.
- People who use the stroker style usually keep their feet square to the foul line. Stroking lessens the ball's spin rate and therefore decreases its hook/curve potential and hitting power. Strokers use finesse and accuracy.
- Crankers try to create as much spin as possible by using a cupped wrist. Bowlers that use the cranking method often cup their wrist, but open the wrist at the top of the swing. Crankers often use late timing, meaning the foot reaches the foul line before the ball does; this is called "plant and pull", hardly using any slide on their last step and pulling the ball upwards for leverage. Crankers rely on speed and power.
- Tweeners are bowlers that release the ball in a way that falls somewhere in between stroking and cranking. Tweeners often release the ball with a higher backswing than is normally used by a stroker or a less powerful wrist position than a cranker.
Types of pins
- Ten-pin bowling: largest and heaviest pins, bowled with a large ball with finger holes, and the most popular size in North America
- Nine-pin bowling: pins usually attached to strings at the tops, uses a ball without finger holes
- Candlepin: tallest pins, thin with matching ends, and bowled with the smallest and lightest (at 1.1 kg) handheld ball of any bowling sport
- Duckpin: short, squat, and bowled with a handheld ball
- Five-pin bowling: tall, between duckpins and candlepins in diameter with a rubber girdle, bowled with a handheld ball, mostly found in Canada
Bowling balls vary, depending on the type of bowling game. Ten-pin balls are large, up to 27 inches in circumference (approximately 8.59 inches diameter), and have as many as twelve holes, typically three holes. The balls come in various weights from 6 to 16 lbs, with the size and spacing of the finger holes often smaller on lighter balls to accommodate smaller hands. Different kinds of balls are available for different styles of bowling. There are balls for hook shots and balls for bowling straight. The bowling balls meant for hook shots have different core shapes and different chemical covers. There are a few types of chemical covers that allow a bowling ball to hook more. One of these types of covers is a resin cover. This resin cover is designed to move and absorb the oil on the lane to create a path for the bowler where there is less oil, increasing the amount of hook of the bowling ball. Balls for other games vary, e.g., candlepin balls which fit in the palm of the hand need no holes. Unlike most sports, the ball can be different weights based upon the player.
All bowling centers provide bowling balls (house balls) - their usage is included in the bowling fee. For ten pin bowling, the center will provide a fleet of house balls in varying weight and standard grip sizes while idle lanes have empty ball return racks. Customers that use house balls will pick a ball that fits from the house ball fleet and place it on the ball rack at the designated lane. When done, the customer returns the house ball to the house ball racks. In small ball games, each ball return contains a quantity of house balls - usually in at most one or two color patterns.
Bowling shoes are designed to mimic any style of flat shoe from regular dress shoes to athletic shoes. The sole of the non sliding foot is generally made of rubber to provide traction, while the sliding foot's sole is made of a smooth and flat material that allows a bowler to slide into his release with a rubber heel to allow for braking. Rental shoes are typically leather and rubber on both feet for durability. These shoes can be bought, but most casual players rent the shoes each visit to a facility. Players must be very careful while wearing them that the soft material does not get wet or excessively dirty; if it does get wet or dirty, it will not slide properly, and could damage the approach surface.
Depending on the bowling center, shoe rental may be included in the cost of bowling or be added as a separate fee. Use of house balls is included in the bowling price.
A bowling guard is a metal wrist support to attain a certain angle to the wrist when releasing the ball; to hook the ball. There are different types of hand guard, including those with a full metal finger design and ones with an uncovered portion for the middle and ring fingers. There are also wristguards. They allow a bowler to keep their wrist locked into place to generate revolutions on a ball or assist with position and/or weak wrists.
Traditionally, personal bowling balls are carried in special zippered bags, along with shoes and a polishing cloth. Some bags are only large enough to fit shoes, while others can accommodate multiple balls, resembling roller bag luggage.
A bowling center is a facility that is equipped to play the game of bowling. Bowling centers usually have at least two lanes with larger centers having over 80 lanes. Depending on the building, lanes may be laid all on one floor, across multiple floors, or a setup with a group of lanes facing one direction and another group of lanes facing another direction. Bowling lanes are laid out in married pairs with each pair sharing a ball return rack, automatic scoring console, and in some cases a bowler seating setup. Weekly league sessions are normally contested on one married pair of lanes with equal play for each participant on each lane. In a tournament, one game will be played on a married pair of lanes and bowlers will change to a new pair of lanes after every game.
The lanebed is built from either wood or phenolic. A wood lane uses maple for pindecks, the ball impact zone and the approach while pine is used for the second half of the lane after the impact zone. The measurement from the foul line to the center axis of the head pin is exactly sixty feet. In tenpin, the pins are either Surlyn-coated maple or a plastic composite. For small ball bowling, all pins are now made of plastic composites. The pinsetter varies by game, but have two foundations - string and free-fall. Most ten-pin, candlepin, and duckpin centers are free fall while five-pin and soft belly duckpin centers are dominated by string pinsetters. String pinsetters have a lower operating cost. The ball return consists of a ball tray and an up-ramp. Most ten pin centers and some small ball centers use a power lift to raise the ball to the tray.
A bowling center requires a lot of space. A single lane requires a footprint of about 620 square feet including the lane bed, gutters, pit end, pinsetter, ball returns, and approach area. This does not include space for seating, party rooms, arcades, the concourse, kitchen, administrative areas, fire safety systems, and other building requirements.
Another form of bowling is usually played outdoors on a lawn. At outdoor bowling, the players throw a ball, which is sometimes eccentrically weighted, in an attempt to put it closest to a designated point or slot in the bowling arena. Included in the outdoor category:
- AMF World Cup
- Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling Championships
- PBA World Championship
- World Ranking Masters
- World Tenpin Masters
- WTBA World Tenpin Bowling Championships
- USBC Open Championships
In popular culture
Bowling is often depicted as a group date, teen outing, and blue-collar activity.
The sport has been the subject of a number of "bowling films", which prominently feature the sport of bowling. Examples include:
- 7-10 Split (film) (2007), renamed STRIKE for its USA DVD release in 2009
- Alley Cats Strike, a 2000 Disney Channel Original Movie
- The Big Lebowski (1998), bowling played a pivotal role in the film and figured prominently in the film's promotional advertisements
- Dreamer (1979 film), a direct-to-video film
- The Golden Years (film), a 1960 sponsored film that promoted bowling as a family sport
- Kingpin (film), a 1996 slapstick comedy film
- Spare Me (film), a 1992 "bowling noir" film
- A League of Ordinary Gentlemen, a documentary film about 10-pin bowling that was released on DVD on March 21, 2006 and stars four PBA Tour players
- Strikes and Spares (1934), a sports shorts film that was nominated for a 1934 Academy Award for Best Short Subject (novelty)
Bowling is an important theme in other films, as well.
- Bowling for Columbine (2002), Michael Moore's documentary addressing the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, features multiple bowling themes.
- There Will Be Blood (2007), in which anti-hero Daniel Plainview's private bowling alley serves as the setting for the film's last scene.
- The Next Karate Kid (1994), in which Mr. Miyagi referred to a variant of bowling called "Zen Bowling" where players would bowl with their eyes closed.
- The Bowling Alley Cat is a 1942 one-reel animated cartoon and is the 7th Tom and Jerry short. It was produced in Technicolor and released to theatres on July 18, 1942 by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer and reissued for re-release in 1948.
- In The Flintstones (which imitated and spoofed The Honeymooners and The Jackie Gleason Show), "bronto" crane operator Fred Flintstone and his next-door neighbor and sidekick, Barney Rubble, often bowl. Fred is an avid bowler who has won championships based on his incredible bowling skills. A number of episodes address Fred and Barney's bowling adventures, such as:
- In "Wilma's Vanishing Money" (1962-01-26), Fred steals Wilma's money to buy a bowling ball, while Wilma thinks it's a burglar who stole it. She, meanwhile, was planning to use the money to buy Fred that ball he wanted for his birthday.
- In "Bowling Ballet (aka Rush-in Ballet)" (1962, 10-05), Fred goes so far as to take ballet lessons in order to improve his game, which leads to his nickname "Twinkletoes". The nickname of "Twinkletoes" stuck with him when Fred attended a local college and became eligible to play on their football team, and it became his call sign.
- In "Seeing Doubles" (1965-12-17), Fred and Barney have a bowling game on Friday night, the night that they are to take Wilma and Betty out to dinner. After failing to convince the wives to let them go bowling, The Great Gazoo makes two robots that look like Fred and Barney. The robots can only say "yes" and "no" and they take the wives to dinner while Fred and Barney go bowling. The robotic doubles, however, take Wilma and Betty to the most expensive restaurant in town and cause havoc the entire night. It's up to Fred and Barney to round them up and bring them back to Gazoo in order for them to be snapped out.
- In The Honeymooners and Jackie Gleason Show, bus driver Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) and sewer worker Ed "Lillywhite" Norton (Art Carney) belonged to a fraternal organization called the Brooklyn Water Buffalo Lodge and regularly bowled on its team, "The Hurricanes", at the Acme Bowling Alley.
- In episode 86-4.14 of Roseanne, titled "The Bowling Show", Dan Conner (John Goodman) and Arnie Thomas (Tom Arnold) try to bring their bowling team out of last place in their league.
- Bowling featured prominently in Laverne & Shirley; Laverne (Penny Marshall)'s Italian-born father, Frank De Fazio (Phil Foster), runs the Pizza Bowl, a local hang out featuring pizza, beer, and bowling.
- In episode 221 of The Andy Griffith Show, titled "Howard the Bowler" (originally aired September 18, 1967), Howard Sprague (Jack Dodson) fills in on the bowling team and rolls a perfect game.
- Bowling is the main theme in the JDrama The Golden Bowl.
- In episode 29 of Smile PreCure!, titled "The PreCures Are Sucked Into a Game!?", Cure Peace challenged Red Oni to a bowling game. She eventually won because of her lightning skills.
- Bowling is featured in episode 19 of Dokidoki! PreCure called "Betting the Crystals! Jikochu's Game!". In the episode, the Cures challenged Jikochu for the crystals with bowling as the second game.
- On The Hub's game show Family Game Night with Todd Newton, there is a game called Yahtzee Bowling where families play Yahtzee with a bowling twist.
- The Simpsons episode 89-1.9 episode, "Life on the Fast Lane," has Marge Simpson taking up the sport in a fit of pique when her husband, Homer, thoughtlessly gave her a bowling ball engraved in his own name for a birthday present. In doing so, she finds herself attracted to an amorous player and finds her marriage in jeopardy.
- One episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood features Fred Rogers and Mr. McFeely not only playing the game of Bowling, but they also show how Bowling Pins are set up after the ball knocks them down.
- 10 Pin Bowling
- 101-in-1 Sports Megamix
- 101-in-1 Sports Party Megamix
- 4-Player Bowling Alley is a 4-player, monochrome, ten-pin bowling arcade game released by Midway Games in 1979. This featured the "Flash".
- Alley Master is a ten-pin bowling arcade game released by Cinematronics in 1986.
- Brunswick Pro Bowling
- Crazy Taxi
- Dynamite Bowl is a 5-player bowling game released for the Nintendo Family Computer, the MSX computer system, and for the NEC PC-8801 in 1987.
- Elf Bowling
- Grand Theft Auto IV
- Hasbro Family Game Night 4: The Game Show
- Kinect Sports
- League Bowling
- Mario Party
- Mario Party 2
- Mario Party 8
- Mario Party 9
- Mario Party Advance
- Paper Mario: Sticker Star
- PlayStation Home
- Polar Bowler
- Saints & Sinner Bowling
- Silver Strike Bowling
- Sonic Adventure
- Sports Champions 2
- Super Mario Galaxy 2
- Super Monkey Ball
- Super Monkey Ball 2
- Tekken Tag Tournament
- Ten Pin Alley
- Wii Sports
- Wii Sports Resort
- Yakuza 3
- Yakuza 4
Technological innovation has made bowling accessible to members of the disabled community. The IKAN Bowler, a device designed by a quadriplegic engineer named Bill Miller, attaches to a wheelchair and allows the user to control the speed, direction, and timing of the bowling ball's release. The name comes from the Greek work "ikano", which means "enable".
- Automatic scorer
- Battle of the Bowling Alley, so named for the narrow valley north of Taegu, South Korea (dubbed the "Bowling Alley"), where United Nations forces defeated North Korean forces early in the Korean War
- Fédération Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ), the top international bowling organization
- New Zealand Indoor Bowls
- Skee ball — a game that plays similar to bowling
- Skittles, the sport from which alley-based bowling originated
- Bowls, Lawn Bowling
- United States Bowling Conference
- Help with Bowling: The History and Origins of Bowling
- Bowling in ancient Rome
- Springdale USBC Site
- Fit4FunKids site
- AMF Bowling Pinbusters! for Nokia N-Gage
- Calorie-counter.net - How to Lose Weight by Bowling
- BellaOnline - Personal Bowling Safety
- Pinboy's Guide To Better Bowling
- Bowling stretches. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.topendsports.com/sport/tenpin/warmup-stretches.htm
- "Using bowling shoes". about.com. Retrieved 2010-02-15.
- Bowling Forum, 15 February 2010.
- Broughton, Cristy (January 13, 2011). "Top five cheap bowling bags". Yahoo! Canada Sports. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
- Gornstein, Leslie (August 22, 2012). "Mad Men Star Christina Hendricks'...". Fashion Police. E! Online. Retrieved 31 August 2012. "[..]somewhere between the ‘60s and yesterday, bowling totes evolved to look like roller bags[..]"
- Stinnett, Chuck. "Rango is latest reminder that animated films are thriving". Evansville Courier & Press, March 8, 2011
- "The Flintstones Frequently Asked Questions List". Retrieved 2010-07-20.
- "Ability Magazine: IKAN Bowler’’". Retrieved 2012-04-06.
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