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Bowling Terminology & the Lane
If you have never bowled before or know nothing about the sport, you should learn this basic terminology. As in every sport, bowling has it's own terminology to explain certain aspects of the game. Here are some basic ones, that you will need to know:
  • Approach - The area at least 15' long, on which the player walks to the foul line. Usually adjacent to the ball returns and has spots embedded in the approach to aid in lining up.
  • Backswing - The path of the arm behind the body during the next to last step in the delivery.
  • Channel or gutter - There are 2 channels on each side of the lane. Once a ball falls into the channel or gutter before hitting pins, the bowler shall receive a zero.
  • Count - The number of pins knocked down on the first ball.
  • Foul - Touching or going beyond the foul line.
  • Frame - One-tenth of a game. Each square on score sheet is one frame.
  • Gutter ball - Delivery which rolls off the lane into the gutter.
  • Hook - A ball that breaks sharply toward the pocket.
  • Leave - Pins remaining after the first delivery.
  • Pocket - Area between 1-2 pins for a lefty and 1-3 pins for a right hander.
  • Spare - Knocking down all remaining pins in the second ball or delivery.
  • Strike - Knocking down all ten pins with the first ball or delivery.
  • Target Arrows - Sighting targets embedded in the lane to help the player align start position. Usually 15' down the lane from the foul line.
  • Track - Path to the pins created by many balls rolled in the same general area.

The Lane
The Pin Placement
Pin Placement
  • Bowling pins are numbered from left to right starting with the head pin, also known as the #1.
  • It is important to remember the pin numbers so you are able to discuss "leaves" with other bowlers or to have the center management reset a pin if necessary.
The Target Arrows
Target Arrows
  • There are seven target arrows 15 feet from the foul line.
  • The arrows on the right side are for right handed bowlers, and the arrows on the left side are for left handed bowlers.
  • The target arrows are also numbered right to left for right handers and numbered left to right for left handed bowlers.
  • Note: The arrows, dots, and the pins are all in-line.
The Locator Dots & Foul Line
Locator Dots
  • There are 3 sets of dots before the foul line on each lane.
  • Each dot is spaced 5 boards from the next.
  • All three sets of locator dots before the foul line are in-line.
  • These dots are used to line up your starting position each frame.
  • The foul line may not be crossed at any time by a bowler.
 
 
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