The foul in bowling differs from the foul in other sports from basketball to football. Every bowler should know the related rules and regulations since such knowledge means a better enjoyment and respect for the game and its players. Here’s what you may want to know about it.
The Foul According to the USBC
To paraphrase Rule 5 of the USBC rulebook, a foul is defined as when any part of a player’s body goes beyond the foul line as well as touches any part of the bowling equipment, lane and/or building during or after his delivery. The foul line, in turn, is of infinite length and, thus, it can include the ball returns, lanes, posts, and walls and floors.
If you will observe, your local Red Rock bowling center may have the foul lines clearly and plainly marked on the posts, walls and floors, and division boards, among other parts. You may want to check them out because any foul committed can result in an illegal pinfall – and that isn’t exactly what you want to happen.
The Foul in Practical Terms
But what happens if something falls out of your pocket and lands beyond the foul line? In this case, you haven’t committed a foul because foreign objects falling out of your pockets and/or clothes as well as your body aren’t considered as part of your body. These include pens, coins, cigarettes and pieces of jewelry.
But keep in mind that your clothes and shoes are considered as part of your body. So whenever any of these things go beyond the foul line, then you have committed a foul. This is one of the reasons why you should always wear the right bowling shoes and clothes – one of them may drop and fall beyond the foul line (Yes, we’ve seen it happen and it’s both funny and unfortunate, especially in high-stakes game). When we say clothes, we also mean hats, caps and wrists braces so be sure to check their fit before making your approach.
Note: Always ask for permission to cross the foul line before getting any items that have fallen beyond it. Otherwise, you have committed another foul.
What happens when you committed a foul? The delivery will be counted, if and when it was made legally, but you will not be credited for any of the pins knocked down during said delivery. You may just find that you lost a game – and its winnings – because of a foul and it isn’t the best feeling in the world.