Is Bowling A Sport or Hobby- let’s dig it to know why

is bowling a sport

There are a lot of arguments on whether or not if Bowling is a sport or just a hobby. Indoor sports need much skill or physical exertions like all other outdoor sports. Bowling requires a lot of sweating and brainstorming despite being fun and easy-going. So you can consider Bowling as a sport.

 You can also take it as a hobby as any sport can be adapted as a hobby. Similar to baseball, soccer, tennis, or any other sports, you can play bowling both as an amateur or as a professional for PBA. Bowling is one of the most popular recreational activities worldwide.

There are only a few activities that allow the relaxed and easy mode of sporting that bowling does. Though the arcades made the game very popular initially, people eventually became more passionate about the sport. 

Why Bowling Is A Sport?

There are many reasons to say why bowling is a sport. Keep on reading to know why we claim bowling to be a sport.

1. Bowling Played on Professional Level

In 1958, the Professional Bowlers Association of America (PBA) was established. It organizes tournament tours, and PBA members played for prize money worth $1 million, which later on grown to more than $7 million by the 1980s. In 1959, the Professional Women Bowlers Association was also formed, which later on was called by ladies’ pro bowlers tour (LPBT).

So, we can say that bowling is competitive and sporty game that made it to the list of having professional recognition. 

2. International Tournaments

The earliest bowling competition is dated back to 1926 when a group of American bowlers toured Sweden. Followed by more international completion in 1926, 1929, 1934, and 1936, the international championship for bowling is played every four years since 1967, organized by FIQ (Federation Internationale des Quilleurs)

3. The Use of Oil Pattern

Bowling lanes are slathered with oil to make the balls roll over it. Usually, bowling centers set up their machines to put oil in “house condition”, which means the machine distributes oil in a manner that the center of the lane has the thickest layer of oil and gradually diminishes to the sides. 

For the professional ground, the Bowling lane has moderate to heavy oil patterns. A thick coat is used to challenge the bowler’s capability and expertise. This leaves a very low margin of error for the player. As a result, the bowler needs to practice a certain angle, grip, and throw so that the ball rolls over to the pins as per desire with the most precision. 

4. It Requires Skills

Like most of the other sports, it needs skills and practice to improve bowling. These may not be quite visible and understandable at a glance, but there are a lot of intricate details that a bowler has to keep in mind and work on them. 

Winning a championship in a bowling league is exciting, but it takes more than talent and dedication to be successful. Each season provides an opportunity to confront your weaknesses and work on your game. Developing a strategy and sticking to it is key to having a successful season.

Lane conditions, the weight of bowling balls, drilling of balls, the format of games, oil pattern, timing, techniques, etc. Effect on the game. A bowler has to develop that sportsman instinct to perform better with time. 

Bowlers have to have explicit knowledge of equipment, bowling lanes, body postures and movements, and gripping styles. Wrong methods and lack of knowledge can lead to injuries. Improving performance without following proper guidelines is not possible. 

5. It Involves Physical Movement

As we all know, training your body and stretching is essential for any sport. Bowling involves quite a lot of body movements. It needs muscle strength to get the ball rolling. A bowler may suffer injuries if he/she does not do any warm-up, stretching, or training. Besides, training results in improved performance. So, for competitive aspects, bowling needs physical involvement similar to any other outdoor sport.

6. Mental and Physical Stamina, Both Is Needed

Besides the physical energy required for bowling, anyone who has sported it will agree on how mentally draining it can be. Playing tournaments can be very draining due to its high-pressure environment. The execution of a perfect shot and constant push for a score makes it a challenging task for bowlers. 

Along with physical training, mental training is vital for staying composed during a tournament. 

7. Popularity

Bowling is considered to be the number one sport worldwide from the perspective of the highest participation. About 53 million Americans go to bowling centers at least once a year, and most of them play as a member of bowling leagues. Participation in tournaments and leagues is quite large in number. 

The reason for this popularity is the accessibility of this sport. Anyone can sport bowling with some practice. It doesn’t need rigorous training like most of the other outdoor games. Some light exercises and practices are sufficient. Thus, it balances the heavy activities of a sport with gentle and easy-to-do light movements. 

8. Pin Bowling

Like other sports, Bowling has also a lot of options. You can play 5 pins 7 pins or 10 pin bowling. 10 Pin bowling is the most popular among all pin bowling games. You can even play lawn bowling which is quite different from indoor bowling.

Is Bowling an Olympic Sport?

Unfortunately, despite its popularity, bowling is not considered an Olympic sport. It was initially considered to be included in the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games, but it was vetoed. It was also to be introduced in Olympics in 2015 with 7 other sports. But it got eliminated then as well. 


Despite being not included in the Olympics, bowling is not losing popularity anytime soon. Rather, people will be more involved with this in the future for being an accessible sport. With the increasing popularity and participation, chances of playing this sport professionally are much higher in the future than it is now. There is only a few sports activity available like Bowling where you can play as well as enjoy the time with friends and family in food corner. It is also probable that it will be a part of the Olympic games.


I’m an aspiring bowler with an immense love for bowling. I started playing the game at a very early age and it’s been an integral part of my life ever since.

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