The word bowling may illicit some common images. Shoes, check. Ball, check. Pins, check! You might be inclined to think, what more is there to know about this sport?
You’d be surprised. The game of bowling has a long history, dating back as far as the Egyptians!
Here are some interesting facts about people, places, milestones, numbers and lingo!
- Walter Ray Williams is perhaps the most famous Professional Bowling Association (PBA) bowler. He’s got the high score and the fan club to prove it.
- Don Carter is the first bowler to land a million dollar endorsement. Pretty impressive for a sport that usually doesn’t receive the commercial dues others see.
- Bill Allen was the first bowler to be inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame (1983).
- Earl Anthony is named as the PBA’s Greatest Player of the Past 50 years
- Kelly Kulick is the first woman to win a title on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour (2010).
- According to the Guinness World Records, Japan is home of the largest bowling alley in the world. Inazawa Grand Bowling Centre has 116 lanes.
- The second largest bowling center is in Las Vegas, Nevada.
- Seattle, Washington is the headquarter of the PBA.
- The 13 countries with membership in the PBA include the United States, Australia, Bermuda, Canada, China, England, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Sweden and Venezuela.
- Reno, Nevada is home to a bowling stadium....not just a bowling center, an actual stadium!
- According to the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame, a British anthropologist discovered in the 1930s evidence of bowling items in an Egyptian grave. The evidence suggests bowling dates back as far as 3200 BC.
- Indoor bowling lanes made their debut in 1840 in New York City
- In 1905, the wooden ball loses ground to rubber ones.
- Bowling made its television debut in the 1950s.
- Automatic pin spotters or pin setters are introduced in 1952, slowly leading to the decline of pin boys.
By the Numbers
- There are presently 89 PBA Hall of Famers (only 1 is a woman and she was inducted for meritorious service).
- In 2008, bowling alleys were voted by the Daily Finance as #11 in the Top 25 things vanishing from America.
- A bowling ball can weight between 6 and 16 pounds.
- The PBA has approximately 4,300 members
- Bowling shoes generally come in sizes 6.5 to 15 for men and in sizes 5–11 for women.
- In bowling lingo, a turkey refers to three strikes in a row.
- A ham bone is one better with four strikes in a row.
- Up that lucky strike series to 6 in a row, and you’ve got a wild turkey.
- Even better is a Golden Turkey at nine strikes in a row.
- A Deuce is a game of 200 or more.
Welcome back to the third article in our series on how to bowl like a pro. In our first two articles, we covered the essential equipments and basic positions you need in order to follow in the footsteps of your favorite pro bowler.
This week, we’ll take a look at some signature styles and explore how you can adopt and adapt one to make all your own.
Here are some of our favorite bowling identities you can take on, and the tips and tricks that go along with each:
Master this one before you get too fancy. The stroker is about timing and consistency. It gives you more stability on the release, letting the ball do most of the work. Push away just as your front foot steps forward. Keep a straight arm and a normal backswing, and bring the ball through to release with control.
Unlike the stroker which lets the ball do most of the work, the cranker is about opening your arms out wide and delivering the ball with muscle. This style gives you less control over the ball, but more power and speed.
Combining the accuracy of the stroker and the power of the cranker, this bowler doesn’t fit perfectly into either category. The tweener stands out somewhere between full arm leverage and controlled ball release.
Much like the cranker, this one is delivered with some power. What’s different is that the bowler will slightly twist his wrist and create a spin in the ball’s release. This one is advised for lighter weight balls as spinning with heavy balls can cause injury.
The shoveler wears two hats - as either the two handed bowler, or the one-handed no-thumb bowler who pushes the ball down the lane without too much arm work. The shoveler generally doesn’t make up a large population in pro-bowling, but some notable pros do use this style.
Whatever your style, use the tips here and in our previous articles to help perfect your game!
In our last post about stepping your game up to bowl like a pro, we covered some of the basics in must-have equipment, but there’s more to advancing as a bowler than simply having the right gear. Going pro, or at least bowling like one, requires some skills and finesse that - if aren’t already in your nature - can perhaps be nurtured.
This week, we ask some questions and discuss insider tips from a range of experts that will get you on the road to bowling like a pro.
Is it really all in the wrist?
Well, maybe not “all,” but according to experts, what you do with your wrist plays a large part in how great of a game you bowl. The main rule to remember is to keep a firm and strong wrist. Doing so should give you more control of ball handling and release. “Bowling for Dummies” says to avoid bending or flexing your wrist while you swing the ball backward and then out, but start a small rotation in the wrist as you bring the ball forward. The general rule remains that your hand and wrist should be strong throughout.
Where should I stand?
Bowling a great game isn’t just about dropping the ball at random. According to experts over at probowlingsystems.com, who put together this video, you should be about six inches away from the foul line at the point where you release your ball.
Why? Well, it’s important where your ball lands. If you step up close to the foul line, your ball should fall just before said line and roll with enough force and direction to set you up for a great follow-through.
You want me to shake hands with what?
Another pro bowling tip from Pro Bowling System that might sound odd is the “make believe you’re shaking hands with the pins” rule. This trick really speaks to proper ball handling. Start by holding the ball on the side, and move your hand out as though you’re making to shake hands with the pin. This should give you great position to throw a hook. The best part about this is that you can play around with the position by moving your index finger and deliver more or less of a hook.
Think of these positioning tips as a rough guideline. As in any sport, the exact position and technique of any play is highly unique to the individual bowler. All the more reason to keep practicing. Have fun!
Whether it’s a particular technique, a specially engineered ball, or a secret move, there are several things that amateur and hobbyist bowlers can adopt to bowl like a pro.
What does it take to bowl a score of 200 or higher and hit consecutive strikes? In this series, we will take a look at some of the tricks to get you bowling like your favorite pro. To kickstart, let's look at the basics: focusing on the proper equipment.
When it comes to using the right bowling ball, variety is the key to success.
Technology in bowling equipment, and particularly the ball, has come a long way in the history of this sport. Investing in the right ball is key, and keeping multiple options on hand will help you find the right fit for the right lane surface, increasing your scoring average.
This one is a must! Bowling tape is an adhesive strip placed inside the holes of a bowling ball. Use it inside the thumb hole to release the ball with fire and finess.
Aside from the right ball, shoes are the most critical piece of bowling equipment that often requires a custom fit. Try a few pairs to find the right fit for you. To bowl like a pro, stop settling for whatever pair the rental clerk gives you. Instead, shop around for a comfortable feel. Other things to look for are price and durability.
This one isn’t so much equipment you need to bring, but important ways to use existing equipment. Targeting arrows are built into the lanes for you, and are designed to help guide your ball toward the target. The key is understanding how to use these arrows to leverage your best release. The center arrow lines up directly with the head pin. Arrows around the center are fanned out and correlate to different pins at the end of the lane. These strategically placed markers help guide you in releasing your ball to hit the intended target.
Those are just some of the equipment must-haves for novice bowlers planning to step up their games. Come back next week when we’ll tackle some of the specifics of stance, ball grip, ball release, and more.
According to anthropologists, bowling dates back to 3200 BC, but the idea of knocking items down with heavy tools probably goes as far back as the beginning of time.
It’s difficult to state with certainty the birthdate of modern bowling, but here are some major milestones in its history:
According to the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame, British anthropologist Sir Flinders Petrie discovered in the 1930s evidence of bowling items in an Egyptian grave. The evidence suggested that bowling dated back as far as 3200 BC.
The Age of Pin Games
Pin Games, or competitions where balls where thrown at pins and other objects, gain in popularity though multiple European countries. Think 1300s.
From Lawns to Standards
Lawn bowling debuts in America. By the mid to late 1800s, rules of the game were up for grabs, pushing toward a standardized game.
Bowling has advanced through many discoveries in modern technology; interactive scoreboards, special shoes, etc., One of the first technological tweaks that changed the game of bowling came in 1905 with the introduction of the first rubber ball. 1952 saw the introduction of automatics pinspotters. Buh-bye pinboys!
As Seen on TV
Bowling caught the attention of television executives in the 1950s, and led to NBC’s coverage of “Championship bowling.” This leap legitimized the sport in many ways, and increased its popularity.
While bowling is a popular international sport today, not everyone was a fan?
According to the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame, King Edward III and King Richard II banned the game for a good chunk of the 14th century. That’s nearly a hundred years without bowling. The reasoning? People were bowling too much, and not practicing their archery nearly enough. Without a way to parlay bowling into a national defense strategy, it was labeled a distraction, and pushed aside in favor of archery.
Whether it’s a downturn in the economy or cold weather keeping tourists away, every business inevitably suffers from slow seasons. The peaks and valleys of a business are natural, but planning for them, and creating proactive approaches to combat the dips in revenue can keep you ahead of earnings for the year.
Here are some things to consider about making money during a slow season:
Know the Peaks and Valleys
If you’ve been around a while, you probably know the times when business slow down. Plan for these by assessing where you can cut costs, and map out how much lead time you’ll need to ramp up promotional campaigns designed to stir up business.
Use slow seasons to your advantage by creating discounts and promotions around a particular time. Introduce a discount program good through a specific month. Create a winter wonderland theme to lure in bowlers over the holidays, or offer family-themed promotions throughout the seasons. Discounts can be tied to summer vacations, or spring and winter breaks, when children are likely to be out of school and longing for some activity. Check out local family-centered events in town, and ride the added momentum by advertising to their customer base.
Utilize All Available Resources
If your bowling center feels empty, offer it up as a rental space for corporate events, parties or meetings. Appeal to the avid bowlers by giving discounts for practice space. Support a local bowling league and make your center their official practice space for the off-season. Know a local celebrity? Invite them to host an evening of bowling competitions.
Make plans to keep costs low going into a slower season. Whether it’s a minor reduction in hours or being more energy-efficient, saving money right before a slow season can make up for the loss of revenue you anticipate.
Time Your Moves
Take advantage of the slow seasons in other businesses that affect yours. Is there a particular slow season for bowling equipment or food suppliers? Make big purchases during those times. A slow season may also be a good time to start that renovation you’ve been considering.
Staying ahead of the slow season is not the easiest task to tackle, but with the proper planning and carefully crafted creativity, it can absolutely be achieved.
When it comes to operating a business today, the web is not just a place for your customers to find you, it’s also a vast resource for you to find information about best management practices, contacts, and overall tips for how to be a successful small business owner.
Following are some tips for how to efficiently use Internet resources to successfully manage your bowling center.
1. Search Strategically
Need help writing a business plan or a piece of marketing collateral? Have a question about local permits? Finding the resource you need is not always about typing the right words into a Google search.
Consider searching for a specific source, such as a trade association, non-profit organization, or a small business advocacy group who may have the right information. Sites such as entrepreneurship.org were designed specifically for business owners, and is packed with information on topics such as accounting, finance and marketing.
2. Organize your Resources
When it comes to information on the web, there is truth to the old adage of having “too much of a good thing.” If it’s not organized well, the information you glean online isn’t always helpful, and can actually cost a lot of time.
Use bookmarks to collect your best resources and organize them into folders assigned to different areas of your business. Use well-known bookmarking services such as Digg or Delicious to optimize your organization. Another great way to organize your resources is by type; print, video tutorial, email newsletter, or podcast.
3. Get Connected
You’ve heard the saying, “theres’ no need to reinvent the wheel.” When it comes to managing a specific aspect of your bowling center, chances are someone else has likely tackled the same issue.
Use message boards like Manager Tools or About.com to discuss your issues with others. Some professional associations may even have an expert resource that you can contact via email.
4. Use the Information
Now that you’ve gathered so much information from the web, what will you do with it? Sample business and marketing strategies from sites such as Bplans and Mplans can offer free insight into typical templates and fundamental formatting.
Some websites will even go so far as to give you a step-by-step approach for opening and marketing your bowling entertainment center. You can take as much or as little advice as you want, depending on what pertains to your center specifically.
5. Stay Updated
One of the most powerful advantages of gathering resources from the Internet is the ease and frequency at which information is refreshed. If you find a particularly helpful blog, newsletter or podcast, you can simply subscribe to these to get regular updates.
You don’t have to be a technology expert to use the web’s vast resources, but it does take some strategy and planning to find the best information for the least amount of time and effort.
Renovating an existing bowling center is an investment that can pay off now, and well into the future. From minor upgrades like a fresh coat of paint, to a major overhaul, there are multiple opportunities to improve your existing center.
One of the best reasons to upgrade a bowling center is to attract new customers and to reward loyal bowlers with improved amenities. A renovation of an existing bowling center can turn around waning energy, state clearly to customers that you have staying power, or show competitors that you’re in the business of winning.
Here are some ways to renovate your bowling center:
1. Jazz Up the Exterior
If your center is in the middle of a strip mall in a nondescript grey building, it’s probably not attracting many eyeballs. Adding a motif, sign, or colors to the exterior of your business is a great way to attract passers-by, and to set the tone for what they’ll discover inside.
2. Create A Theme
“Is that the bowling center with the big mural inside, and the glow-in-the-dark lanes?” People often remember entertainment centers they visit because of certain themes, and while glow-in-the-dark may not be your style, you can set a warm and inviting tone for your customers in your own way. Some ideas include family-friendly themes, perhaps with indoor furniture and colors that appeal to children, or take an average space and make it a bit more upscale with plush seating and neutral paint colors.
3. Refresh Lights & Other Equipment
Another great way to add freshness to an existing bowling center is to invest in lighting. Colored lights on the lanes or low-hanging soft lights hung over dining area tables can change the mood and feel of a bowling center. Upgrading equipment such as shoes, seats and tables, bowling balls, and scoring monitors can also entice customers and create a new energy.
4. Go Green
Renovating gives bowling center owners an opportunity to install cost-saving features such as energy-efficient lighting, water systems and insulation. Build some of these features into your renovation project as a long term money-saving investment.
5. Delve into the Details
Renovations are complete when the details come together. Whether it’s changing up your staff uniforms, adding flowers or something new on the menu at the snack center, tie your renovations together with the details that matter.
Renovating can be a big emotional and financial investment, but the rewards can also be big. Depending on budget and goals, each center’s project will be different in scale and ambition than that of his competitors. When considering a renovation project for your bowling center, take an assessment, map out a plan, and have fun.
Bowling has long been a beloved past-time for pros and amateurs alike, and with the demand for affordable entertainment always growing, a bowling center can be a great investment.
According to numbers from Hoovers, the company that analyzes companies and business trends, there are 4,000 bowling centers in the United States with a combined revenue of $3 billion per year.
As a place for family fun, bowling centers are able to weather tough times, and build new generations of young bowlers who love this classic game.
1. Plan it
The first step in any business venture is to do some research and write a business plan. Your plan should include business objectives, a detailed approach and timeline to launch, and solid numbers on costs and projected profits. An important part of the planning process includes financing. Decide how much capital you can invest and what your resources are for financing.
2. Scout it
When it comes to a bowling entertainment center, location is key. Do some leg work and scout out properties in your area. Look for places that are accessible via several modes of transportation, provides safety and is buffered by other thriving commercial ventures like restaurants or stores.
3. Build It
If you’re building your bowling center from the ground up, work with a trusted contractor who can provide verifiable references. Do the research on permits and building codes in your area and abide by the regulations. Plan your interior space with attention to color scheme, layout, vibe and extra amenities.
4. Staff It
This is an important part of the pre-opening plan that should be started with plenty of lead time. Find qualified employees to staff your soon-to-open space by using local ads, social networks and word-of-mouth advertising to get the word out. Train your staff to work the floor and machines, manage cash and handle food.
5. Market It
Marketing efforts should begin well before the grand opening in order to build awareness. Use a combination of offline and online marketing strategies to let people know you’re opening. Create your Facebook page and gather a fan base online. Distribute print materials to people in the neighborhood, or reach out to community publications that may be open to running a profile. Step up your marketing efforts closer on opening day by hosting a special event, and increase attention after the opening by creating targeted email marketing campaigns for your bowlers.
6. Innovate It
Successfully opening a bowling center is a huge step that should be applauded. Keep the success going with efforts aimed at growing your customer base. Develop bowler loyalty programs and special events to keep people coming back. If an arcade, restaurant or other additional entertainment facility was not part of your original opening plans, then look into how these might fit into your bowling center down the road. Stay updated on industry trends and business regulations, and be proactive about growth.
What’s the best way to engage with your customers today?
With messages that are short, sweet, and preferably delivered in a medium they’re already plugged into.
When it comes to spreading the word about yourself and your latest promotions via social media such as Facebook and Twitter, small businesses can’t afford to stay out of the loop. Keeping a following on Twitter or updating your brand on Facebook isn’t just for the big companies anymore, and it doesn’t require a full-time dedicated social media specialist.
Hopping on board the social media train is fundamentally about connecting with your base and, with a bit of cultivation, watching that base grow.
At just 140 characters per tweet, this microblogging service forces self-editing. You have to get straight to the point with each message. Short. Sweet. Sent.
Here are some ways that small businesses can reap the benefits of the Twitterverse:
Retweets are the new word-of-mouth
Just sent a message to your followers about an awesome event? Or maybe you’ve got a clever bowling tip. If any of your followers retweet these messages to their followers, you’ve just amplified your voice in an uncharted way, with zero added cost and time.
How do they like me now?
Using Twitter’s tools, you can monitor responses to certain key words related to a new promotion or product. Not sure how people will respond to your new bowler’s loyalty program? Set features to track certain key words, and be alerted when those words are mentioned.
Connect with your base, control the tone
As a personal way to connect with people who are effectively “following,” you, Twitter is an invaluable tool for personalized marketing. Have a conversation with your followers, and control the tone with positive messages. On the flip side, resist the urge to engage in negative twitter wars. Reputations can take a lifetime to build, and only 140 characters to lose.
Equally important in your social marketing efforts is your Facebook page. As the virtual sandwich board, Facebook puts your message out in front of a highly targeted audience. Here are some reasons to use it:
A more targeted audience
When you rely on your website to draw in customers, you’re effectively hoping that someone is searching for the latest news from you. With Facebook, you can send those updates and enter into the newsfeed of all your fans, who likely check in here more often than they would your website.
More eyeballs means more attention
When someone likes your page, they become fans. When fans like a post or an event, or when they comment on one of your posts, their activity becomes available in a feed to the rest of their friends. This is word of mouth advertising at its most efficient. Highlight promotions on your page, and invite all of your fans to an event in one fell swoop.
Track and engage
Facebook tools allow you to ask your customers questions, and receive valuable feedback. Thinking about a new promotion, but wondering what type of bowling competition will be most popular with the crowds? Ask them!