Spotlight On: Tenpin Bowling | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Spotlight On: Tenpin Bowling

Redbrick Sport turn the spotlight to Tenpin Bowling, asking a series of questions about the sport

If you could describe Tenpin Bowling to our readers in one sentence, what would it be?

"Easy and fun to play, deceptively difficult to master."

From where does Tenpin Bowling originate?

"While the history books argue over whether the Ancient Egyptians or early Germans discovered the sport. The sport was formally created in 1895 in New York, when rules were formally introduced along with associations to maintain the rules and update them as years went by."

What is the atmosphere like around the club at UoB?

"Our club is generally quite relaxed, treating Ten Pin Bowling as the social sport it generally is. As a result there's a lot of talking between turns, taunts and teasing about bad shots and scores, as well as a lot of encouragement to do well and improve."

Do you train? If so, where and when do you train?

"Bowling tends to be a lot of trial and error, and as a result we all give it our best, sharing knowledge if we've found the trick to getting a pin that's a nightmare to hit. As a result both of our sessions, Monday at 7pm and Wednesday at 5pm at Bowlplex, tend to be training sessions of sorts. We do occasionally hire a coach to come show us how to really bowl, but usually we just bowl more games if we need some extra practice before a tournament."

What form do competitions take?

"The great thing about bowling is that it is both an individual and team sport. At tournaments there can be a variety of ways to play, from singles, 1v1 to fives, 5v5. But just because you're in a team of 3, doesn't mean you'll always play together, with formats such as diamond trios, where you begin by playing 3 games of singles, before adding a player to your screen and playing a further 3 games, and then finally adding the 3rd player for 3 games.

Then like a diamond, your team must taper back down to a single point, with a player being lost after every 3 games, until the last player to join is playing singles again. By the end everyone has played 9 games each and are usually exhausted and hoping their team pinfall beat everyone else's. Another fun format to play is Baker, where games are both played normally and together, where multiple players will take turns to bowl the frames or turns, in one score board. This one is particularly funny, as one player might bowl a strike on their turn, only for the next player to undo their work with a double gutter."

How did you get involved in Tenpin Bowling and what was it that you found particularly attractive about the sport?

"I got involved in Ten Pin Bowling in my 1st year and have been in the club ever since. I'm now in my 4th year. Before I joined the club I typically only bowled once a year, for the one birthday party that was hosted at the bowling alley. But with the bowling alley being only 15 minutes walk away from my 1st year halls, it was an easy sport to get to and after making lots of friends on the lanes, it was a good sport to stick with through the years."

Why should prospective members join your club?

"Bowling is a really social sport. While some of people might occasionally get competitive, it is always a great laugh. It's a great atmosphere and a great place to make friends as people generally come every week on the same days. It's also a really flexible sport, as there are no enforced training sessions, or squads for tournaments, you can turn up whenever you have time and go to tournaments if you fancy having a laugh with bowlers from other universities. Tournaments are all handicapped too, so no one is at a disadvantage, no matter how bad you think you are."

What has been your favourite thing about the Tenpin Bowling club since you started?

"Going to tournaments has been great fun. I have loved making friends in my own club at home and it's great to go to tournaments and socialise with bowlers from other clubs. It is great fun to show off your skills to them, watch their best bowlers destroy others and gain the odd tip or trick to improve your own game. I've made lots of friends on the various student bowling events, and it's always fun to go to a tournament and catch up with them while you bowl against each other."


3rd November 2017 at 9:00 am

Images from

Martyn Wright