Tips for a Better Game


Choose a bowling ball which is not too heavy for you to hold comfortably in one hand. Your thumb and first two fingers should fit securely, but not tightly, inside the holes. Most bowling alleys have a range of options from eight pounds to sixteen pounds. Because bowling depends more on control than sheer force, a heavier ball is not always a better ball.

  • Most people find that taking a set number of brisk paces (either four or five) across the approach area helps them develop powerful momentum and establish a rhythm which makes releasing the ball more fluid. Plan your starting point, the number of steps you want to take, and your stopping point before you pick up the bowling ball.
  • Take a minute before the game to step off the area so that you know where to stand and what a comfortable size of steps will be for you.
  • Integrate your pacing and swinging into one non-stop motion so that the motion of your whole body is behind the ball.
  • Swinging the ball backwards and then forwards as you release it helps send the ball in a true line. One common approach: Start by putting your thumb and first two fingers into the holes on the ball. Hold the ball up in front of your chest. As you stride forward, let the ball and your arm fall so that it swings in a smooth, natural arc to your side. When it reaches the back of the arc, you should be halfway through your steps. Use the accumulated momentum to swing the ball forward. Release the ball on your last step, just before you reach the foul line and as the ball swings in front of you.
  • Don’t tense up when you’re swinging or releasing the ball. A smooth, relaxed approach works best.
  • New bowlers often aim straight down the center of the lane to the center pin. Aiming just to the left or right can be slightly more effective. More experienced bowlers will “hook” the ball, by making it spin slightly. This is usually done by letting go with the thumb a fraction of a second before the other fingers. Depending on how much curve you create, you may need to start one or two feet closer to the side of the lane, so that the ball doesn’t curve across the entire lane and into the gutter.
  • The approach area usually has lines and arrows to help you aim. Most right-handed bowlers stand somewhat to the right of the center marks. Most left-handed bowlers stand to the left.
  • The foul line separates the sixty-foot-long bowling lane from the approach. Do not step on or cross the foul line. If your foot touches or crosses the foul line when you are bowling, then you get no points. Staying behind the foul line also protects the carefully leveled bowling lane from accidental damage, as well as keeping you safe. Lanes are typically oiled, which makes them very slick.
  • The bowling ball needs to stay in the lane and not roll into the gutters on each side. Most bowling alleys can block off the gutters on request to make the game more fun for children or new bowlers.

A child may not be able to manage even a light bowling ball with a normal swing. It’s perfectly fine to use a modified approach when necessary. Place the ball on the floor, safely behind the foul line. Stand over the ball, with one leg on each side. Then reach down with both hands and use the flat, open hands to roll the ball down the lane. This is sometimes called a “Granny swing” or a “football swing” (because of its similarities to hiking an American football). Be sure that your child never steps in front of the foul line, because the lane oil will make shoes slick and dangerous.

Tips for Team Captains


Invite family, friends, neighbors, members of your clubs, organizations or groups to join you in a fun activity that benefits a cause you support. As a group activity, come up with your team name!


Even if you haven’t fully filled your team roster, sign your team up for the bowl-a-thon event, either online through the website or by contacting the bowl-a-thon organizer. The number of teams is limited, so ensure that your team gets a lane by signing up early!


Share information with your team, both about the cause you are supporting and the bowl-a-thon event. FORWARD YOUR PLEDGE SHEET to your team members so they will have the information they need to start collecting their own pledges!


Keep your team up-to-date about your bowl-a-thon event. Hold a few team-building meetings before the bowl-a-thon, keep in touch by email and/or phone calls, perhaps even hold a team practice bowl. Use these times to relay any changes in the event, keep abreast of team activity, plan and/or strategize your team’s path to the top of the leaderboard!


As a team-building activity, set up team and individual fundraising goals, even if the bowl-a-thon event already has one; come up with a team prize structure in addition to that of the event (award certificates, even homemade funny ones, are always great.) Encourage team members to meet or even exceed individual and team goals, and let every member know how well the team is doing in meeting its goal.

FUNDRAISING IDEAS FOR TEAMS > Give People a Reason to Give!
  • Match your donation: If your donation is $50, ask 5 family members, friends and/or co-workers to donate $10 each … you’ve just doubled your donation!
  • Refer people, businesses, organizations to the bowl-a-thon website
  • Ask a representative of your club or organization to speak about the bowl-a-thon event at a meeting
  • Use your online team page to solicit donations and invite friendly competitions with other bowl-a-thon teams
  • Post your pledge sheet in a visible location at work or in your office

Fundraising Tips


Give yourself plenty of lead time before holding the event to plan, organize and promote your bowl-a-thon, particularly if your organization is required to register with local, county/parish, state and/or federal governmental authorities.


Define your fundraising mission statement. Sure, you want to raise money for a good cause, but your solicitation efforts need to be appealing to potential participants, donors, and/or sponsors. “To help teenage drug abusers” is definitely a worthy cause, but is much more apt to get support when you specify what the problem is and your organization’s proposed solution – i.e., “Our community doesn’t provide services specific to teenage addicts; we intend to rectify that by funding weekly counseling sessions for teens only.”


Use language in your appeal for support that is imagery and empathetic in nature while creating a sense of urgency and “ownership” of both the problem and the solution: “While we offer counseling services for drug abusers in general, none are targeted specifically towards the teenagers in our community who are attempting to overcome their addiction problems. Mixed with adult addicts in these sessions, our troubled youth are less likely to participate in discussions, or to share their thoughts and feelings. Instead, they come away from these sessions feeling alienated and disconnected, with a sense that there is no one who can understand their situation. More often than not, they stop seeking help, soon falling back into the habits and patterns that fuel their addiction. Our teenage addicts, our children, need us to provide them with the understanding and assistance they so desperately need in order to break free from their addictions. We can enable them to succeed by creating a “teens only” program where they are surrounded and supported by a group of their peers who can identify with the pressures and issues facing teens – a place where they feel safe to share experiences, ideas, and to accept help.”


State your fundraising goal in monetary terms. Be reasonable in setting a goal that is reasonable and attainable; if the amount to be raised is “astronomical”, you’re less likely to be able to attract participants, sponsors and/or donors. If the amount of funding required to accomplish your mission is substantial, do not be afraid to state that fact in your appeal for support, but point out that whatever funds are raised through the bowl-a-thon will definitely further your organization’s efforts to realize its mission, and are appreciated.


Advertise, advertise, advertise! Post flyers in the bowling alley(s) participating in your organization’s fundraising efforts. Check with local bowling leagues to see if they would be willing to spread the word and/or participate. Place ads in local newspapers (especially independent papers which often target the local population). Look into radio and televised community events notices. Contact your local community public broadcast television station about the possibility of taping a short show promoting your charitable event. Contact other organizations with similar or complementary missions to ask for their assistance and support. Email friends and family. Write letters to persons, institutions, and companies that sponsored or donated to prior fundraising efforts.


Let participants, sponsors and/or donors know whether their monetary gift is tax deductible – IRS rules are constantly changing regarding donations. Check with the IRS and/or an experienced attorney regarding these changes.


Provide incentives for participation. For potential sponsors, offer a listing on your webpage, promote their businesses in your fundraising materials and/or bowl-a-thon booklet, display advertising banners in the alley or perhaps even broadcast their businesses on the bowling alley(s) monitors during the event (prior to offering such incentives, clear them with the alley first.) Offer a certificate of participation, a t-shirt, or some other form of recognition to bowlers, perhaps even performance-related “prizes”, such as a trophy, plaque, or donated services (a free pizza, movie tickets, etc.) for the highest individual and/or team score, most pledges collected, etc.


If collecting online sponsorships and donations, send an immediate acknowledgment of receipt, as well thanking them for their support. For those who want to donate by other means, allow them to specify how they want to be contacted – by email or written correspondence, and make certain that you provide these with a acknowledgment and thanks upon receipt by the same means.


Provide those collecting pledges with a specific deadline date to deliver collected funds, even if their efforts to collect are incomplete – design the pledge sheet so that name, address and/or email information is collected when funds are pledged so that your organization can complete the collection process.


Most importantly, send everyone who participated in the fundraiser a THANK YOU letter – bowlers, sponsors, donors, and anyone who volunteered or provided a service for your event…and don’t forget the bowling alley. Thank them for their participation and emphasize how their gift of time, money, prizes, etc. furthered your bowl-a-thon’s success. If you came close to meeting your fundraising goal (or perhaps even exceeded it!) crow a bit and let them know!