Reaching your golden years doesn't have to mean the end of activities you used to enjoy. You may find you have more time now to try new sports. Bowling can provide light exercise while helping you practice your hand-eye coordination. Best of all, bowling provides a real sense of community for many involved. Seniors can bowl safely by working within their limits and following a few basic tips.
Choosing a Ball
Choosing a ball can be a challenging prospect for bowlers of all ages. Only choose a ball weight that you feel comfortable with. If your hands or muscles start to shake, your ball is too heavy. A ball with an extra finger hole for the index or pinkie finger, known as a balance hole, can be helpful for seniors, because it makes the ball easier to grip and thus offers additional control. You may have to buy and customize your own ball to get a ball that fits just right.
Handling the Ball
Instead of putting your fingers in the holes of the ball and lifting it directly out of the return rack, use two hands to pick your ball up to prevent strain. Only pick up the ball when all the balls have come to a stop so you don't crush your fingers. Never reach inside the ball machine, as moving mechanical parts can cause serious injury. You may also find it helpful to hold your bowling ball with two hands as you approach the lane. Alley-Catz Bowling recommends wearing wrist support for more stability.
You may find it helpful to practice your timing without your ball. Start just in front of the boundary line and step back four or five steps. This will help you determine where you should start your walk each time you get ready to bowl. Then take a step or two forward and move your hand forward as if you had the ball, and let it naturally swing back and then forward again as you count your steps forward. Practice a few times to find your rhythm.
Respect The Rules
Never cross the foul line, which is the black line in front of the bowling lane. This is a rule that applies to all bowlers, but the consequences can be especially dire for seniors. Bowling lanes are coated with conditioning oil and thus are extremely slippery. You could easily slip and fall if you pass the line by mistake. Only wear bowling shoes when bowling, as street shoes leave behind grit and dirt that are also slippery on the lane. Keep your shoes tightly laced.
About the Author
Michelle Wishhart is a writer based in Portland, Ore. She has been writing professionally since 2005, starting with her position as a staff arts writer for City on a Hill Press, an alternative weekly newspaper in Santa Cruz, Calif. An avid gardener, Wishhart worked as a Wholesale Nursery Grower at Encinal Nursery for two years. Wishhart holds a Bachelor of Arts in fine arts and English literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz.