Every sport has its rules of etiquette. In golf, for example, one does not talk or move while a player is shooting. In basketball, the crowd is silent when a free throw is made. Even in such a rugged sport as boxing, a man who has scored a knockdown retires to the farthest neutral corner to allow his opponent a chance to get up after a count. So it is in bowling. What it really boils down to is courtesy, once you have an inkling of the rules. Here are some points to remember:
1. Observe the foul line at all times.
This goes for practice as well as for tournament or league play. You owe it to your teammates and to those around you to refrain from any such action as fouling, which would penalize your score and consequently that of your team. Fouling frequently brings on loud and unpleasant grumbling, in itself another breach of etiquette.
2. Never two-ball a pinboy.
By this, I mean don’t fire another ball down the lane before the first one has been returned to you. You might injure the pinboy, and you are sure to make yourself mighty unpopular with those around you, even if you don’t hurt him. Remember, if the pinboy should be injured, you might find yourself liable for damages.
3. Don’t mar bowling alley approaches.
If you have any slippery or gummy substance on your bowling shoes (one should never bowl in street shoes), get rid of it before you step onto the approaches. If your shoes leave skid marks, remove the marks with steel wool. Avoid excessive use of chalk. Do not mar the alley approach or the alley bed with pencil, crayon, chalk or any such substance.
4. Remain on the bench until it is your turn to bowl.
If you get up before your time you will interfere directly or indirectly with those who are already on the approaches. Give others the same common courtesy you would want for yourself.
5. There is no rule against body english.
Lots of bowlers, even the experts, are prone to use it at times. But when you use it, remember that you have the right to use only the space enclosed by the width of your own lane. You are not expected to teeter or lean so far that your body encroaches onto the next alley and bothers the adjoining bowler. Try to cut down on your “body english” in practice and you will use less of it in league and tournament play.
6. Give the bowler on your right preference at all times.
Because you swing your ball at your right side, you have to be more careful of the man on your right than the one on your left. Let him shoot before you do, if you are both beginning at the very same time.
7. Eliminate dilly-dallying between shots.
Don’t fall into the habit of going through a dozen meaningless motions, such as scraping your feet back and forth, wiping your hands on your clothing three or four successive times, moving your ball back and forth or up and down without moving your feet, or any such actions which not only delay the game but serve to make you more tense than before. Get into your starting stance, sight at the target and roll the ball.
8. Don’t distract or bother other bowlers.
Before going to the rack for your ball, make sure that you will not interfere with other players. After you have selected the ball, be careful not to back into anyone’s path. These are important safety rules as well as good bowling manners.
9. Be ready to bowl when it is your turn.
Don’t carry on long conversations with outsiders or engage in activities not directly concerned with your bowling. You owe it to your teammates and your opponents alike to keep your mind on the game at all times.
10. Confine your remarks to those on the bench.
Do not talk to or attempt to gain the attention of a bowler already on the approaches.
11. Control your temper – Be a good loser.
By that I don’t mean that you should give up easily, for everyone likes a real competitor. But once beaten, take your defeat gracefully.
12. Don’t give advice unless asked for it.