If you want to get into serious bowling you might find it to be an uphill battle. The popularity of party bowling is on a definite increase, while bowling as a professional sport is on a decline. This is a popular topic amongst those who enjoyed bowling more as a sport across many years, and there is a lot of finger-pointing, especially since so many top bowlers have left the sport due to changes that have taken place.
Long-time respectful bowlers who know lots about the history of bowling have a lot to tell, and one of their main topics is that a good attitude and mental state is key to enjoying great bowling. There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel as in college and high school bowling there has been a dramatic increase over the past couple of years, which might justify the revival of the sport. But when you want to know why there was a decrease at all, then several factors come into the equation.
The Game, Bowling Has Changed
What made a major impact on bowling is the advancements in technology, years ago pin boys placed the pins, makeshift devices and spray cans were used by bowling centres to oil the wooden lanes, players only needed one bowling ball and bowlers used to calculate the scores by hand. The first technological contribution took place in the early 1950s with the introduction of automatic pinsetters, at the time it fuelled expansion in the popularity of bowling. That was only the start of the impact that technology would have on it. Even scoring is now taken out of the hand of the participants and done as you bowl, automatically.
Synthetic surfaces have increasingly replaced the wooden lane surfaces. This is due to the fact they are more durable and provide a more consistent experience. Today, sophisticated machines apply oil to the lanes as they are more accurate, plus there is the evolution in technology when it comes to the bowling ball. That is now designed to meet the lane condition, a specific bowler style and it is to your advantage to have your own ball.
Considerable Decline in League Bowling
According to Bowling US statistics in 2016 at more than 67 million people bowled at least once a year, it is one of the most popular recreational activities in the United States. But only one in every thirty-three bowlers are serious, and that means that around 2 million in that year were serious bowlers. Of the 2 million, 1.5 million participated in sanctioned leagues while 0.5 million enjoyed bowling in non-sanctioned leagues.
From the 8 million that participated in league bowling the numbers drastically declined by about 80% and it continues to decline by an average of 7% annually. With such decrease, it probably meant that your parents were not the ones who introduced you to bowling and most likely it the reason you read this now.