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Bowling Etiquette

How to Behave in a Bowling Alley

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In order for everyone to enjoy the bowling experience, it's common courtesy to follow a few simple guidelines. Here are some of the unwritten rules of bowling etiquette.

General Bowling Etiquette

  • Always wear bowling shoes. Street shoes will ruin the approaches and equipment.
  • Keep nasty language and outbursts in your head. Nobody wants to hear it.
  • Keep any food or drinks away from the lanes. Spilling anything can damage the equipment and also be dangerous for others.
  • Remove your street shoes away from the lanes, especially if wet. If any of that water ends up on your bowling shoes, you might end up on your face in the middle of a lane.

Dealing With Bowlers on Your Own Lane

  • Be ready to take your turn. Don’t make everyone wait.
  • Don’t step over the foul line. It’s against the rules and can also result in you tracking oil all over the approach, which is dangerous and ruins the enjoyment of the game for others.
  • Don’t use someone else’s ball unless given permission. Use common courtesy.

Dealing With Bowlers on Surrounding Lanes

  • Yield to the bowler to your right if you’re both up at the same time.
  • Stand off the approach and out of the line of sight of the other bowler until she finishes.
  • Do not intrude on the adjacent lanes in any way. That includes throwing your ball onto the wrong lane, standing or playing on another lane’s approach, or doing anything that infringes on the adjacent bowlers’ lane.

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