Proper Bowling Etiquette & Bowling Lane Courtesy By Richard Shockley

Bowling Lane Courtesy – Who Has The Right Of Way?

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Today, I want to go over something I consider to be quite rudimentary and basic. This isn’t rocket science, but, yet, I see it improperly used — or not used at all- all too often. And I am talking about lane courtesy.

How many times in your bowling league have you stepped up on the approach to make your delivery and another bowler comes flying passed you? Probably quite a few times, right?

Well, I know it has happened to me several times in the past and I was not all too happy, especially on the rare occasion that I had the front nine or something. I say to myself maybe I need to just focus more, but, honestly, when it happens right beside you, and when you aren’t expecting it, it is hard to ignore.

Different Types Of Lane Courtesy While Bowling

One Lane Courtesy

I believe that in recreational leagues you only need to give one lane left and right. If you need more, bowl in a competitive league. This sort of lane courtesy — the one that you will find in most of your common leagues — is known as one lane courtesy (or left-right courtesy).

Two Lane Courtesy Or More

In my scratch league, we give two lanes left and two lanes right, but not two pair like the pros do.

Proper Bowling Etiquette – Knowing When It Is Your Turn

When talking about lane courtesy, this doesn’t just apply to waiting your turn and knowing when it is your turn

Another common practice of lane courtesy is to be ready when it is your turn. On many occasions, the bowler beside me will actually be having a conversation with their teammate behind them with their ball in their hand. This one really bothers me, personally. I step back and usually give them the stare down or put my ball down and hopefully they will look over and finally go. I do this in the hopes that they see my displeasure and come the realization that they were not using proper courtesy.

In addition to going when it is your turn (please do not slow play), another common issue I see is when players wait their turn with the ball in their hand and their foot on the approach while the person(s) left or right of them are bowling.

Only Step On The Bowling Approach When You Are Ready To Bowl

I understand picking up your ball, cleaning it, going through your pre-shot routine, but, please, stay off the approach until you are ready to deliver the ball. This is an improper, bad habit and as you progress through the sport and get to higher levels, this will become a problem.

So, please, stay back on the tile and wait your turn please; be mindful of others.

Do Not Throw A Tantrum On The Approach

Finally, here is the last one that I see a lot: a player makes their delivery, and they get a bad break or what have you. They think that they can stand there for five to ten seconds and force it to fall. Foul language typically ensues at either the foul line or headed back to the tiled area.

Now, believe me, I understand your frustration. I get it. Bad breaks suck, but please don’t slow down the pace of play over your frustrations.

If everyone does their part and moves steadily and observes these simple lane courtesies, a nice pace of play occurs and

things will be enjoyable for everybody in your league/tournament.

In summation, look left, look right, bowl when it is your turn, walk back calmly and immediately after you have delivered the ball, even if that stone single pin cost you the game or some cash, and, most importantly, have some fun and bowl well!

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