Guide #7 - Last updated December 2021

When You Are Sidelined from Bowling

It's a bummer when you want to bowl but can't, whether it's because of illness, medical procedure, or some other reason. Here are a few suggestions for what you can do until you can get back on the lanes:

1. Strengthen your mental game.

You're not alone if you have put off working on your mental game because throwing the ball is more fun. You don't have that excuse now! Take a few minutes and study the key points in our Mental Game guide.

Better yet, read one of the books we suggest in that guide. The books are all available for purchase on Don't want to wait for them to be delivered? Two of our recommended books can be downloaded in Kindle format. Don't have a Kindle? No need to buy one - just download the free Kindle app to read books on your iPhone, Android phone, Mac, or PC.

2. Stay in shape.

Bowling involves a lot of physical activity. If you are not doing something to get back in shape once you are allowed to exercise, you have a greater chance of injuring yourself when you start in again on the lanes. Don't have access to gym equipment? Various websites can give you creative suggestions as to how to work out without it.

Specific to bowling, there is something you can buy to help you stay fit during the downtime. An Eileen's Bowling Buddy Power Trainer, primarily intended to develop and maintain your arm swing and balance, will be more important now in maintaining your core strength. See videos of the products in use and then buy the one best for you.

3. Finally learn (or learn more) about oil pattern sheets.

If you have already learned a bit about oil patterns from throwing the ball on them, now learn more by understanding the sheets used to program the lane machine to put down the patterns. Start with our How to Read an Oil Pattern Sheet guide. Already comfortable with interpreting these sheets? Learn about the subtle nuances in our Advanced Understanding of an Oil Pattern Sheet guide.

4. Watch a prior bowling tournament.

You can always learn from watching the pros' techniques and strategies, and this is a great time to do that. Lots and lots of men's and women's tournaments from a few months ago to several years ago can be watched for free on YouTube.

Many of the men's professional tournaments can be accessed from this YouTube page. For women's professional tournaments, search in YouTube for "PWBA" or "LPBT bowling".

5. Learn more about the lives of young bowling pros.

For a couple of years now, Brad Miller and Kyle Sherman have given us a view into their lives, and those of a few of their fellow professionals, as they compete at the various stops on the PBA tour. Their Brad and Kyle YouTube videos are a sort of reality TV for bowling, except that the only drama thankfully involves their strategies for each tournament, how they bowled each day, and which one(s) of them made the cut. Each video is 10-15 minutes long.

6. Do virtual bowling.

If you have a virtual reality headset, the video game Premium Bowling will allow you to engage in fairly serious bowling with the sensation of actually being at a bowling center! Details are in our Youth and College Bowling guide.

Guides you may also want to read:

Resources for Serious Bowling