A bowling bumper is a set of grills or covers that block the gutters on either side of the lane, preventing stray balls from re-entering the lane.
Bumpers are not the type of bowling equipment you will find in a professional bowling alley simply because they are intended for practice.
On the other hand, Bowling bumpers are becoming much more prevalent in bowling amusement centers as more children take up the sport of bowling.
These bumpers eliminate the aggravation experienced by a youngster or beginner bowler who cannot keep the bowling ball in the center of the lane due to poor throwing and keep the bowling balls within the bowling lane’s boundaries, away from the gutters.
Bowling bumpers are installed directly in front of the gutters on either side at a minimal distance, ensuring that they do not obstruct the bowling lane surface excessively after installation.
This article will explain all you need to know about bumper bowling.
History of Bumper Bowling
In 1982, bumper bowling was conceived by Philip Kinzer, a Dallas bowling facility owner, and father of the Jupiter Lanes Bowling Center.
According to his wife, Philip’s sole reason for developing this piece of equipment was so that his three-year-old son could play with his father without sobbing because all of his balls ended up in the gutters.
Jupiter Lanes was one of the most extensive bowling alleys in Dallas, Texas, hosting over 2,500 students each week for school trips, parties, and other events. Thus, transforming their tears and anguish into joy was one of his most impressive accomplishments.
Philip stated that while bowling bumpers may offer your children a significant advantage over you, they will be happier in the alley, take a greater interest in the game, and ultimately learn to bowl without bumpers is what matters most.
Kinzer kept improving the bumpers and making them more convenient. He started with cardboard tubes on either side of the lanes, and when that worked well, he switched to inflatable plastic cushions.
Finally, computerized bowling bumpers are now available, which are simple to set up and allow youngsters to interact with adults.
Read More: What is a Gutter Ball in Bowling? Detailed Explanation!
Different Styles of Bowling Bumpers
Bowling bumpers come in a range of forms and sizes, and your experience may vary based on the bowling alley location.
Here’s a breakdown of how the various bowling bumpers function and how you can aid your children in using them, so you’ll understand what you’re dealing with.
Inflatable Plastic Bumpers
At the time of bumper bowling’s development, the only type of bowling bumpers available were plastic inflatable bumpers that could be inflated as needed and required.
Mechanics manually filled the bumpers when necessary, even at Jupiter Lanes Bowling Center. However, the plastic inflatable bumpers were abandoned due to the significant manual labor and time required to fill them.
However, some bowling alleys continue to employ these inflatable bumpers with automatic pumps that refill them whenever a children’s game requires them.
Following inflated plastic bumpers, steel bumpers were installed on the sides of lanes as needed and required no filling or maintenance.
If a children’s game or any child under the age of ten is present at a bowling alley, these bumpers are brought out and used as railings on the sides to prevent gutter balls.
However, maintaining these bumpers in place, shipping them, and storing them used to be a complex process, so they were eventually eliminated.
The most significant and recent advancement in bowling bumper technology is the automatic retractable bumpers currently found in most high-quality bowling centers and alleys.
These bumpers are intended to complement the architecture of the bowling lane. They are equipped with mechanisms that enable them to be constructed independently on the bowling lane’s sides as needed.
These are installed beneath the bowling lane and connected to its wiring to behave in this manner. They are more expensive to install, but they outperform other bumpers’ inefficiency and portability.
How do I play bumper bowling?
To play bumper bowling, start by setting up the pins like you would in regular bowling. Then, have each player grab a bumper and line up at the end of the lane.
The first player will then bowl the ball down the lane, and if they hit any pins, they will get a point for each pin knocked down.
If the player bowls a strike (all 10 pins), they will get 2 points for each pin knocked down. If the player bowls a spare (all 10 pins in two tries), they will get 1 point for each pin knocked down.
The game is played to 21 points, and the winner is the player with the most points at the end of the game.
Where is the bumper area on a bowling lane?
The bumper area on a bowling lane is typically located at the very end of the lane. This area is specifically designed for bumper bowling, and it is where the pins are typically set up. The bumper area is also where the players will line up when they are ready to bowl.
What Is the Minimum Age for Bumper Bowling?
Bumper bowling is a game that is designed for younger children. It is not appropriate for children over the age of 10 or 11, as they are more likely to hurt themselves. Younger children are more likely to enjoy this game because it is easier to play less likely to get injured.
It can be difficult for parents who have younger children and teenagers in the household, as the two groups have different needs. Bumper bowling is an excellent option for more youthful kids because it’s safer than traditional bowling and less expensive.
However, some bowling lanes have fewer regulations than others.
Additionally, some bowling alleys do not consider bowling bumpers proper bowling equipment. According to them, these bumpers degrade the quality of bowling displays in a bowling alley.
To clarify, if you’re going to the bowling alley with your children or younger siblings aged ten or less, you’ll be able to utilize a bowling bumper for them to ensure they have as much fun as you do.
Check Also: Minimum Age of Play Bowling?
What Is the Difference Between Bumper Bowling and Regular Bowling?
There are gutters on both sides of the bowling lane in traditional bowling. When the bowling ball is not thrown straight, it goes into the channel and doesn’t hit any pins.
In bumper bowling, these gutters are covered to make it more likely that the ball will hit the pins. Bumper bowling balls are also lighter than standard bowling balls.
Bumper bowling is explicitly designed for children and disabled adults to allow them to enjoy bowling regardless of their ability to bowl.
In contrast, Traditional Bowling can be played by anyone but is most comfortably played by adults or teenagers due to their ability to throw the ball without falling into the gutter.
How to Play Bumper Bowling
Bumper bowling is similar to traditional in that you must throw the ball and attempt to hit all ten pins. The only difference is that bumper bowling does not have gutters, which means you have a better chance of hitting at least one nail.
Additionally, bumper bowling balls are lighter than standard bowling balls.
However, the chances of hitting a strike (hitting all ten pins) do not increase with bumper bowling since you must throw the bowling ball straight (or curve the ball), which is the same as in traditional bowling.
In bumper bowling, you just avoid being eliminated.
What Is the Proper Way to Turn On a Bowling Bumper?
When you enter the bowling alley for the first time, you can request bumpers. It is conceivable that the bumpers are already installed, but you can request that they be installed if they are not.
Using bumpers to keep your bowling ball on the lane boosts your odds of keeping it there. The gutter will be enclosed, and the maintenance staff will install bumpers on both sides of the bowling alley.
This prevents your ball from consistently drifting into the channel.
If your bowling ball appears to be approaching the gutter, it will bounce back onto the course (again). Alternatively, if the game has already started and you discover that your strengths lay elsewhere, you might request bumpers.
How Do You Become a Bumper Bowling Champion?
Like traditional bowling, bumper bowling requires you to throw the bowling ball and aim to hit all ten pins. The primary distinction is that bumper bowling lacks gutters, which increases your chances of hitting at least one pin.
Additionally, bumper bowling balls are less in weight than conventional bowling balls.
However, because both traditional and bumper bowling requires you to throw the bowling ball straight (or bend the ball), the odds of hitting a strike (hitting all ten pins) do not rise with bumper bowling.
Bumper bowling aims to throw the ball forcefully enough to knock down all the pins without fear of the ball landing in the gutter.
What are the benefits of bumper bowling?
Bumper bowling has many benefits, including the physical and mental health benefits of being active. Bumper bowling can help improve your balance, coordination, and reflexes, while also reducing stress levels. Additionally, bumper bowling can be a great way to socialize and make new friends.
Who is the best bumper bowler?
There is no clear consensus on who the best bumper bowler is. However, many experts agree that the best bumper bowler is likely someone with extensive sport experience. Additionally, the best bumper bowler is likely someone who is physically fit and has quick reflexes. If you are looking to become the best bumper bowler, it is important to practice regularly and to stay in good physical shape.
(FAQ) About Bumper Bowling
What Age Can You Play Bumper Bowling?
Bumper bowling is meant for children and disabled persons. However, there is no age limit. Adults can also do bumper bowling; some bowlers even encourage it for beginners.
What Is the Origin of Bumper Bowling?
Bumper bowling began in 1982 at Dallas’ Jupiter Lanes Bowling Center. Gradually, bumper bowling spread across the US.
What Does Bowling’s Term “Bumper” Mean?
Bumpers cover the gutters to keep the ball from falling in.
Are Bumpers Allowed In Bowling?
Bumpers are not allowed in any bowling tournament unless for youngsters or the disabled. Because they are legitimate events, many individuals compete, and the winner must be able to throw the ball straight.
Is using bumpers cheating in bowling?
No, using bumpers is not cheating in bowling. Bumpers are specifically designed to help players improve their game and score more points. Additionally, bumper bowling can be a great way to socialize and make new friends.
How Bumper Bowling Has Impacted the Bowling World
Bumper bowling enables more people to enjoy bowling with their families without feeling annoyed by their foul shots. It helped boost bowling’s earnings.
It improved the game of bowling by allowing anyone to enjoy it fully.
Although bumper bowling has improved publicity for bowling by making it fun and accessible to all ages, many oppose it. They say it taints the traditional game.
And if bumpers allow individuals who can’t even hit a single pin to enjoy this activity and hit the pins, what’s the problem? Bumper bowlers eventually learn striking and can bowl without bumpers.
If he had been bowling on a typical lane, he would have tossed most of his balls in the gutter, becoming demotivated and eventually giving up.
Adults who use bumpers will gradually learn to throw straight balls, master the foundations of bowling, and eventually switch to the traditional bowling approach.
This was my opinion, and it is technically correct, but since it is a sensitive topic.
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