Bowlers who have had some success playing the game casually (whether at a corporate event or outing or just open bowling nights with their friends) are usually curious to take the next step in their game. Joining a bowling league is a great way to add more competition to the sport and also start tackling it in a more serious way.
Or if he shares the sentiment of the ever-wise Homer Simpson who said, “I’m sick of being a league bowler. I want to be a league player! ”Don’t look beyond this article where we’ll break down everything you need to know.
Types of bowling leagues
In general, most bowling leagues work similarly, but there are some key differences to keep in mind.
In most bowling leagues, your team faces another team each week for a series of three games. Variables include the number of players, the level of competition, and whether the league is handicap or zero (the former is much more common).
The number of bolers in a team usually varies from 3-5. In some leagues, a team may have more bowling on the list, but may spin them in and out of each game. (Non-bowlers often cheer on their teammates while enjoying a drink of their choice.) You may imagine a bowling league as an all-male affair, but that’s far from true these days, as there are many women’s leagues all as well as mixed leagues with both men and women.
In handicap bowling leagues, the average of each bowling player is used to calculate their handicap, or an added score to make the competition equal between teams of different skill levels. The exact way it works can vary, but there is usually a handicap per team which is the difference between the average of all the players on each team. (And sometimes that figure is multiplied by a percentage like 90%).
As for the level of competitions, bowling leagues are really competent. You can find some bowling alleys for beginners or competitors more interested in having a good time with their friends (and maybe a couple of beers) than winning. But in other cases, leagues can be very competitive.
In short, while there are almost a myriad of bowling leagues when all these features are taken into account, the ones that interest you most will be limited to what the alleys in your area offer. So with that, we’ll get to the next section of this article: How to Find and Join a Bowling League.
Where to find a local bowling league
If you are looking for a league affiliated with one of the major bowling companies (AMF, Bowlero, Bowlmor), you have a useful league finder on their website. There is also a bowling league search tool on the League Secretary’s website that includes independent lanes.
But there’s another easy way to find all the options in case they don’t show up on these lists – just search all the alleys in your area and ask about their league offers. You’re not likely to find a bowling center that doesn’t offer leagues; it is a vital part of your business.
You may want to pick up the phone and call someone in the alley if you have any questions or, depending on the level of detail on their website, you may be able to get the information you need this way. From here, once you’ve identified a league you like, it’s time to start.
How to join a league
You may be in a situation where you have a group of bowling teammates, so the easiest way is to target your entire team in the next league you want. It’s also a good idea to have some alternates on the list in case your main members have conflicts or obligations from week to week.
But what if you don’t have a whole team? if you are a bowler who wants to get into a league, you still have options. You can contact anyone who serves as the league manager at your bowling center and you may be able to connect with a team with an appropriate skill level that has an opening for a player.
So, once you sign up, what do you need to start playing bowling in the league? Having your own accessories like your bowling ball and bowling shoes is a good idea when you play more competitively. Many teams choose to design and purchase their own matching bowling shirts, but this is not a requirement.
You want to make sure you have enough money set aside for league dues each week. Also, find out if your league has additional opportunities for a group attack or other prizes in which you invest a few dollars to win a big payout. Also, be sure to consider any food or drink you want to consume during or after the game (sometimes leagues offer specials).
Finally, make sure the entire team registers with the USBC sanctioning the league game (the league secretary can help you) and have a chance to review all league rules and regulations.
Once you’ve found a league and managed all the details, all you have to do is show up and make a bowl! We wish you good luck on your bowling trip to the league.