It is usually around the ages of five or six in which children experience their first trip to the bowling alley. Whether it is attributed to a birthday party or a family outing on a Saturday night, the chance to hit the lanes at an early age can be rewarding if the youngster learns the basics to bowling. Understanding the rules and proper etiquette at this young age will prepare the child some fun times and make life easier on the older more experienced bowlers. The main objective in teaching a six year old the game of bowling is to have fun. The technical aspects of the game will be learned at a much later age after rules and procedure are mastered. The main bowling objectives to consider with a six year old is having the right attire, equipment and learning the rules
When bringing along the youngster to the alley, it is imperative that the child wear comfortable fitting clothes. The golden rule for bowling attire is to always have a pair of socks available. The rest of the attire should be considered loose fitting and comfortable. If planning a bowling outing in the summer, consider the potential for the lanes to be quite cool due to air conditioning so dress comfortable and maybe consider jeans or sweatpants.
A six year old bowler will typically require a ball in the six to eight pound class. Before wasting time walking up and down the lanes looking for that light weight bowling ball, consult the service counter to see if they have one available to minimize your search. If help is not available, then seek out a bowling ball that the child can safely lift up without too much strain.
Once the ball is selected, the shoes must be checked out at the service counter. Allow for a comfortable fit in the bowling shoes. Most shoes rented at the counter have extremely long laces so they will most likely have to be double or triple tied to avoid tripping.
Just like many other sports, bowling requires courtesy paid to others that are participating in your own group as well as those to the left and right of your area. Instruct the young bowler in your group the importance of following the bowling turn order. Emphasize that once the turn is over, he or she should return to the seat until it is their turn again. Teach the young children the courtesy that is paid to those bowlers in neighboring lanes. The right of way is given to the bowler to the immediate right.
Rolling the ball
When arriving at the bowling alley, mention to the counter attendant that your group includes a young child that will require the use of “bumpers”. These little bumpers are nothing more than tiny rails that pop up to insure young children will be guaranteed to knock down a few pins at a minimum.
Teaching the child to actually bowl is pretty easy. Walk the child up the lane and show them the stop line and respective arrows on the alley. Have them take the ball and walk the ball to the end line and throw the ball using a nice release. Regardless of the throw, the ball should most likely knock down a few pins which will most likely get the youngster excited to throw again. Teach the child they are granted two throws for each turn; unless the first throw knocks down all ten pins.
If the ball is still too heavy for the youngster, request the use of a “ball” roller by the bowling alley staff. These ball rollers are usually large movable steel ramps for which the ball rests on top of ramp, and is gently pushed by the child and rolls down the lane towards the pins. If the bowling facility does not have this ball roller, simply teach the child to roll the ball with both hands.
First and foremost, do not get too hung up on low scores and teaching absolutely perfect technique to children at this young age. The proper grip, release, and position will all be learned and mastered after many more trips to the bowling alley. Keep the game simple and entertaining and most of all have fun.