What Constitutes a Foul in Bowling?

Don’t know what constitutes a foul in bowling? 

That is pretty normal if you are new to bowling. There are few things that constitute a foul in bowling. 

And before you get started with bowling in lanes, you better learn about this. 

However, this guide will be extremely helpful for you. 

Sit tight and go through, it is a 5-minute read!

So What Constitutes a Foul? 

According to USBC,

When a player’s body goes beyond or crosses the foul line that constitutes a foul. Not only that, even if the player’s body touches any lane part or any item or anything else during the delivery that will be constituted as foul. 

Here you need to understand the play period. From the time you prepared for the delivery to till another player stands in the lane for delivery is your play period. 

And if you cross the foul line or touch any equipment, lane part, or anything during the time will be considered as foul. 

What is the Foul Line? 

If you have ever been to the bowling alley, you must have seen a straight-line mark at the beginning of the lane. 

That is what separates the entire lane. The mark is the foul line and that is also the beginning of the lane.

During the game, your feet cannot cross the line. Even feet on the line will be considered foul. That being said, your arms, head, or other body parts can cross the line as long as they don’t touch anything.

You cannot touch the walls, the equipment, the lane, or anything else. 

What is a Legal Delivery? 

You have learned about the foul line or what constitutes foul, you should know about legal delivery as well. 

A foul cannot be called before a legal delivery. Now, what is a legal delivery? 

When the ball leaves the bowler’s hand and crosses the foul line that is called legal delivery. And a foul can be called after the legal delivery has been made. 

For example, if a bowler crosses the foul line but still didn’t throw the bowling ball or the ball didn’t cross the fouling line yet, then it can be called a foul. 

How is a Foul Scored? 

If a player has committed a foul and the delivered ball knocks down any pin, that wouldn’t be counted. The knocked pins won’t be recorded. 

When a bowler commits foul on the first ball they get another throw. And if even then they commit another foul, their turn is over. 

Fouls can heavily affect the game score. 

Different Types of Foul? 

Foul Line 

I have already mentioned it before. But saying again. 

The straight-line mark at the start of the bowling lane is the foul mark. No player can cross the line or even step on the line while making a delivery. 

The head, arms, or other body parts can cross as long as they don’t touch anything. 

Shot Clock Foul 

Every player is given a fixed time period to complete their delivery. Most of the time the shot clock period is 30 seconds.

And a player needs to complete the delivery within that time frame. If a player doesn’t complete the delivery within that time, it will be considered as foul. 

Illegal Pin Fall

After making the delivery, if the ball doesn’t contact the pins directly but somehow drops the pin, that will be considered as illegal pinfall. 

Sometimes the bowling ball touches the gutter or rear cushion or touches another player before contacting the pins. 

This is considered an illegal pinball. 

Having that said, if the ball touches anything else due to someone else’s fault, then the bowler will get another chance to bowl. 

Final Words 

So, now you know what constitutes afoul? I hope you do! 

These are the basics, there are some other rules as well, you can check the USBC’s bowling rule book. 

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