What is a League?

The term ‘league’ refers to an event where several teams bowl against each other in friendly competition. It’s an opportunity for people to gather together and play the sport of tenpin bowling in an organised manner on a regular basis.

For more information on league rules, visit the main RULES page here.

Leagues range in size from single players, doubles format, triples, four and five person teams. Leagues generally bowl every week on the same day at the same time at the same TBA registered centre. In recent times, there are those which bowl once a fortnight or even once a month at the same TBA registered centre. Most centres also have what’s known as a ‘Phantom League’, for those bowlers who may not be able to make it on the same day and time each week due to work commitments, for example. Phantom leagues allow bowlers to come in any time throughout the week and bowl their games.

League affairs are conducted by officers elected by the bowlers, or by the bowling centre management and staff. Leagues follow established rules, but can add their own when necessary.

A league organises its season so that every team (one, two, three, four or five players) plays every other team usually twice, according to a draw. In this manner, members get to know each other in the nicest possible way – by bowling together! At the end of each season, trophies, prizes* etc are handed out to recognise both team and individual achievements such as league champions and high individual game.

New members are always welcome in a league – it means new friends for everybody! Don’t worry if your average is low as most leagues are handicapped so that the lower a bowler’s average, the higher their handicap. This allows people of all abilities to compete on an even playing field.

In traditional bowling leagues, each team plays three games per visit however there are two and even one game leagues particularly for juniors. In the first week of the league, the average and handicap of each player is set, however in some leagues this can take up to 3 weeks.

*varies from centre to centre, so please check with your local centre

League Rules

As stated in Rule 302 on League Management, every bowling league will have a set of rules that provide for the league’s regular activities.

The league, at its formation meeting, should carefully consider all the variables and options available to ensure a sound basis for, a well-run and enjoyable competition.

The league members have the responsibility of writing in to their league rules all of those variables that will enable everybody to clearly understand what they can and cannot do within the scope of the rules.

How to Join a League

There are tenpin bowling leagues to suit all ages, all abilities and every lifestyle.  Every week, thousands of people with a range of abilities compete in teams and in organised sporting competitions. Search for your local tenpin bowling centre or check the list of accredited centres here
At most centres, you can choose leagues for children, teens, adults, seniors and also for people with a disability.  Leagues can also range in size from single players, doubles format, triples, four and five person teams. If you need a few tips and pointers to get you started, most centres have coaches available to help get you on the lanes bowling!

League bowling takes place on most days and nights, so that you can find a day and time that suits your personal schedule.  Teams compete for trophies or prizes* and celebrate at the end of season with awards parties.  You can usually join one of the existing leagues, or get a group of family and friends together and form your own. 
If you want to improve your bowling, play in friendly competition, have fun and make lots of friends, then tenpin bowling is the sport for you! 

*varies from centre to centre so please check with your local centre

Facts to Know Before Joining a League

  • Do you lead a busy life? The length and schedules of leagues vary.  Find the one that fits your schedule.
  • Did you know an average adult bowler burns 240 calories per hour and uses 134 muscles during the basic four-step approach?
  • In most leagues you pay weekly.  Your fee includes: lane rental, prize fund and often contributes to an end of season get together.
  • It’s best to visit the pro shop and get your own equipment, but you can use a house bowling ball and rental shoes.  Ask the coach or staff at your local centre if you need help selecting equipment.

What to Consider when Joining a League

  • What day of the week do you want to bowl?
  • How many people do you want on your team?
  • Do you put together a team or join an existing one?
  • How many weeks would you like to bowl in a league?

Bowling Etiquette

Bowlers must always give consideration to the rights of the other bowlers. Here are some basic things you should know before you start bowling league that will help you settle in straight away.  These are taken from Tenpin Bowling Australia’s General Playing Rules TBA Rule Book.

  1. Prepare to take your turn promptly on the lane.  Remember, the player to your right has the right of way.
  2. Take your time, but don’t waste time by posing or waiting until everyone else is off the adjacent approaches.
  3. Do not step onto your approach until the previous bowler has left.
  4. Stay on your own approach at all times.  “Riding” balls is permitted as long as the bowler does not move outside of one lane either side of the delivery lane.
  5. Step back off the approach after making each delivery.
  6. Do not use another player’s ball without permission.
  7. The approaches may not be exactly to your liking, but DON’T use chalk, resin or talcum powder to condition them.  Your fellow bowlers may like them as they are.
  8. Do not used chalk, resin or talcum powder in the players area.
  9. Good bowling requires concentration.  When players are ready to bowl, give them the courtesy of making their shot without any interference, as you will want the same courtesy when it is your turn to bowl.
  10. Be ready to bowl, but wait until the pin setting machine has completed its cycle and the sweep-bar is raised.
  11. Respect the equipment.  Getting the ball out on the lane is good bowling, but “lofting” can damage the lane.
  12. Play the game to win, but be a gracious loser if you are on the short end of the count when the game is over.

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