What Are Bumpers In Bowling? When To Use Them

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What Are Bumpers?

The bumpers in bowling are there to help keep the ball on the lane. They are usually made of rubber or plastic and placed on the side of each lane. Without them, the ball would likely go off the lane and into the gutter.

Quick History

Bowling bumpers were introduced in the early 1950s to level the playing field for novice bowlers. Before their introduction, bowling alleys were typically lined with gutter rails to protect against errant balls. However, these rails did little to stop balls from rolling down the lane and into the gutters. As a result, many novice bowlers found themselves constantly frustrated by their inability to keep their ball on the lane.

Over the years, they have undergone a number of changes. Today, they are typically made from plastic or rubber, and their size and shape can vary depending on the type of bowling alley they are being used in. However, their basic purpose remains to protect against errant balls and keep them on the lane.

When Should You Use Bumpers?

Most bowling alleys have bumpers that can be used to keep the ball from going into the gutter. Bumpers are especially useful for young children and beginners still learning to bowl. Without them, it can be very easy for a child’s ball to end up in the gutter and become discouraged. They can help keep the ball on the lane and make it more likely for a child to get a strike or spare.

However, there are also times when they should not be used. If a child consistently throws the ball into the gutter with bumpers, they are not learning how to bowl correctly. In this case, removing them may be better than letting the child practice bowling without them. This will help them to learn the proper technique and eventually be able to bowl without them altogether.

Some people also choose not to use them because they feel like it takes away from the challenge of bowling. If you are an experienced bowler looking for a little more of a challenge, you may want to try bowling without bumpers. This can be a fun way to see how well you can do without them.


Overall, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to using bowling bumpers. It depends on the individual and what their goals are. You can always ask your local bowling alley for advice if you’re unsure. They will be able to tell you whether or not bumpers are right for you.