Is Bowling A Sport? (Find Out Now!)

Last Updated on October 9, 2023 by Alex PT

Yes, bowling is considered a sport. It’s recognized by international sports organizations, has competitive leagues, and involves physical skill and strategy. It’s also an Olympic sport, with over 100 million participants worldwide.

Is Bowling a Sport? 5 Concrete Reasons Bowling is a Sport

Bowling is indeed considered a sport, and here are five concrete reasons why:

  1. Physical Skill: Bowling requires physical skills, including hand-eye coordination, balance, and strength. Bowling a heavy ball accurately down a lane with precision demands athleticism.
  2. Competitive Leagues: Bowling has competitive leagues and tournaments at various levels, from local to international, with formal rules, rankings, and championships. These organized competitions are characteristic of sports.
  3. Professional Bowlers: There are professional bowlers who earn a living from the sport. They compete at the highest level, showcasing their expertise and athleticism.
  4. Olympic Sport: Bowling is recognized as an Olympic sport, featured in the Pan American Games and World Bowling Championships, further solidifying its status as a sport on the global stage.
  5. Mental Strategy: Bowling involves mental strategy, such as selecting the right ball, adjusting to lane conditions, and making strategic decisions. The combination of physical skill and mental acumen is a hallmark of sports.

What’s the difference between league bowling and sport bowling?

League bowling and sport bowling are two distinct forms of organized bowling, differing in several key aspects:

League Bowling:

  1. Casual and Social: League bowling is often more casual and social. Many participants join leagues to have fun, socialize with friends, and enjoy a regular recreational activity.
  2. Varied Skill Levels: League bowling typically welcomes bowlers of all skill levels, from beginners to experienced players. It offers a comfortable environment for those looking to improve their skills.
  3. Consistency: In league bowling, lane conditions are generally more consistent and predictable. The oil patterns used are often designed to be user-friendly, allowing for higher scores.
  4. Team Play: League bowling commonly involves team play, where groups of individuals compete together as teams. The team format encourages camaraderie and collaboration.
  5. Handicap Systems: Many league formats incorporate handicap systems to level the playing field. This allows less experienced bowlers to compete competitively against more skilled opponents.
  6. Scoring: Scoring in league bowling typically follows standard tenpin bowling rules, where strikes and spares contribute to the overall score.

Sport Bowling:

  1. Competitive and Specialized: Sport bowling is a more competitive and specialized form of the sport. It’s designed to challenge bowlers’ skills and techniques.
  2. Strict Lane Conditions: Sport bowling uses challenging oil patterns with less forgiving characteristics. These patterns vary from event to event and are designed to test bowlers’ abilities.
  3. Skill Emphasis: Sport bowling places a high emphasis on the skill of the bowler, requiring precision, adaptability, and the ability to read lane conditions.
  4. Individual Play: Sport bowling is often an individual sport. Bowlers compete on their own, without the team dynamics found in league play.
  5. Reduced Handicaps: Sport bowling typically uses minimal or no handicap systems. It’s designed for highly skilled bowlers who compete on a level playing field.
  6. Scoring Variations: Scoring in sport bowling may differ from traditional scoring, with variations such as scratch scoring, where there are no handicap adjustments.
  7. Tournaments and Competitions: Sport bowling is commonly associated with tournaments and competitions at the regional, national, and international levels. These events attract top bowlers.

Why Bowling May Be A Sport 

Why Bowling May Be A Sport 

Most purists consider a sport a competitive activity that involves physical exercise and skill of some sort. While the “physical exertion and skill” obviously covers varying levels, keep in mind that throughout an expert bowling tournament, participants will roll as many as 40 games over three days. These athletes must throw a 15 or 16-pound ball down a 60-foot alley in a shot to hit a target but two inches wide called the “pocket” (the area between the headpin and 3-pin for right-handers, or the 2-pin for lefties). To have the stamina to bowl several games and be ready to repeat shots, one must be in good physical shape. Many, if not most, pros do weight training or a minimum of stick with an exercise regimen to create arm and wrist strength to assist them in throwing those big, sweeping hook balls that demolish the pins. 

Is Bowling Similar To The Other Sport? 

Is Bowling Similar To The Other Sport

Bowling, on a surface level, seems fairly accessible: Grab some buddies, beer, and a pair of clown shoes and head right down to the alley. But that’s where the Professional Bowlers Association tricks you. Its design is accessible, but once you’re in, you’re in. Underneath the surface, the sport––yes, it’s a sport––is ruthless, competitive, and challenging to the best degree. Bowling is probably going the oiliest sport out there, but that slick quality makes it all the harder for one to succeed. Every bowling lane is coated in oil to shield it from catching fire. 

Most recreational bowling uses “house” coating, which helps funnel the ball toward the center of the lane for greater shot success. Professional bowling uses a “sport” pattern, a more even distribution of oil across the surface that enables for tiny margin of error, which makes every shot a particular calculation. However, elite bowlers are always elite athletes with impressive leg strength, flexibility, balance, and control. 

Their adaptability makes each shot—unique because of the changing oil surface—a different challenge that bowlers are well-equipped to handle. The physical and mental difficulty of hurling bowling balls at around 20 miles per hour regularly for 10 frames isn’t to be understated. The mix of mental and physical makes bowling kind of like other sports, like hockey or basketball, whose legitimacy as a sport isn’t questioned. 


We’ve compiled a listing of commonly asked questions and answers about Bowling being a sport. 

Is Bowling A Sport Yes Or No? 

Yes, bowling could be a sport! You’ll find out why bowling is such a lot quite just a leisure activity. From the highest league bowlers to the simplest professional bowlers within the game, the physical and mental demands of ten-pin bowling and every one sport bowling events go far beyond stereotypes. 

Is Bowling Even A Sport? 

Bowling is the best participation sport within the world, with 53 million Americans heading out the lanes a minimum of once a year, with an outsized portion of that number going once every week or more as a member of 1 of thousands of USBC-sanctioned bowling leagues. 

Is Bowls A Sport Or A Game? 

Bowls, or lawn bowls, may be a sport during which the target is to roll biased balls, so they stop near a smaller ball called a “jack” or “kitty”. It’s played on a bowling green, which can be flat (for “flat-green bowls”) or convex or uneven (for “crown green bowls”). 

What Is Bowling Considered A Competitive Game? 

Bowling could be a game that may be played as a contest at extremely high levels and is taken into account to be a legitimate sport, although it’s been too quickly perceived only as a game or a recreation. 

Is Bowling A Sport For Everyone? 

Bowling could be a fun, challenging sport that everybody can participate in! Bowling doesn’t require advanced athleticism, like football or basketball, so children who might not succeed at those sports often excel in bowling. And bowling could be a sport they will enjoy for a lifetime. 


Bowling is simply like several other sports. Bowling is usually defined similarly by everyone. Differences can be available in the assorted sorts of bowling, or their versions. Variations in pin bowling include candlepins, duckpins, five pins, nine pins, and ten pins. Target bowling is another kind, which consists of many styles, including bowling, carpet bowls, etc.


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