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About Candlepin Bowling

[Candlepin Bowling] [The Benefits of Bowling] [Bowling for Weight Control] [Bowling: A Noncontact Sport] [Bowling: An Active Game] [Other Advantages] [Competitive Bowling] [Solitaire Bowling] [Social Bowling] [Playing the Game] [Stance and Delivery] [Action of the Ball]

Candlepin Bowling

CandlepinsThe candlepin game was introduced in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1890. It was created by a billiard-room owner, Justin P. White, and a Billiard expert John J. Monsey. Mr. Monsey was convinced that bowling should not be all big balls and big pins, and it was his idea that a smaller ball and pin would be more appropriate for the temperaments and physical make-up of many bowlers.
The first candlepin was 11 inches high and tapered to an inch in diameter at either end. The ball was made of wood, weighed about 2 pounds and was 3 inches in diameter. The lanes were the same as the tenpin alleys. From the 60-foot distance the slender pins looked like the candles on a birthday cake, and that is how they got their name.

Since the pins were set up as in the regulation tenpin game, their slimness made the distance between them greater. That, combined with the small size of the ball, would have made the game too difficult if the creators had not thought of a counteracting feature. They decided to make all fallen pins, or deadwood, playable as long as the pins remained on the playing area.

The Game of candlepins spread throughout New England and the Canadian Atlantic seaboard, replacing the skittle alleys, where larger pins and disks rather than balls were used, together with a different approach. The newer, more scientific game became so popular that today it is played in such diverse places as California and Hanover Germany.

Candlepins is especially suited to women, children, and seniors. It also challenges the skill and accuracy of male bowlers.


The Benefits of Bowling

Bowling has many benefits. Those who have never bowled should review them before taking up this form of recreation. And those who do bowl, by becoming more acquainted with them, will appreciated bowling all the more.

Bowling, first of all, is fun. It can also contribute to one's health and well-being. The fundamentals of good health are proper diet and exercise.

How does bowling rate as a form of exercise? The energy expended in bowling is 400 calories per hour, which is approximately that used in swimming, rowing, and fencing, and appreciably more than in skating, golf, and badminton. This indicates that bowling is neither too-slow-moving nor too strenuous. It is therefore an excellent form of exercise for both sexes and all ages.

In bowling, the arms, shoulders, and legs all receive a moderate amount of exercise. Also to be considered are agility and endurance. According to Dr. Arthur H. Steinhaus, dean and professor of physiology, bowling requires only moderate agility and endurance. To bowl, one does not have to be an athlete or go on a restricted training program. Nor is it necessary to have the stamina to endure vigorous exercise. Any bowler can play three games without evidence of exhaustion, and after the muscles have been conditioned, it is possible to play many more in succession. It is evident then, that bowling has no ill effects on those in generally good health. On the contrary it is beneficial in the maintenance of physical fitness and is recommended by physicians, nutritionists, dietitians, and physical education directors.


Bowling for Weight Control

Only by a properly balanced combination of diet and exercise can one's best weight be maintained. The daily consumption of a well-rounded diet, in nutritionally recommended quantities, plus regular exercise, enables one to lose pounds slowly, but surely until normal weight is reached.

Since bowling does not require great endurance and is, therefore, naturally tiring but not exhausting, it is an excellent form of exercise for those on a weight-reduction program.


Bowling: A Non contact Sport

Contact sports are obviously dangerous to some extent, depending on the violence with which they are played. Since bowling is not a contact sport, there are very few injuries, and those that occur are the result of accident or carelessness. There are only two ways in which one might get hurt while bowling, and both are easily avoided. One is by picking up a ball from the rack the wrong way, in which case the fingers may be pinched between the balls. The other is by dropping a ball on the foot. Neither of these injuries will occur if reasonable care is exercised.


Bowling: An Active Game

It may be well said that there are no dull moments in bowling. With two players using two lanes, the action is continuous. Even if just one lane is used, only a few minutes elapse between the action of each bowler, and the bowler at rest is occupied watching his opponent and keeping score.

In baseball, several innings may pass with little or no action. Even in hockey, which is considered the worlds fastest game, players spend much time off the ice when relieved or for penalties. Both are largely spectator sports. Bowling is primarily a participant sports. Whatever the average of the players may be, every game is exciting to them. One does not have to be a star to enjoys bowling. There is always the possibility that the novice will get a strike. From the day you start to bowl, there is always a thrill in seeing how many pins you can knock down and what you score in each game.


Other Advantages

Since bowling is an indoor sport, it can be played all year round. In the past there was little bowling in hot weather, but with air conditioning bowling is no longer seasonal.

In most sports you must purchase your own equipment. In bowling, however this is not necessary. Balls are furnished by the establishment, and shoes may be rented for a modest charge.

The nature of the game makes bowling always exciting. The distance from the foul line, which separates the approach from the lane itself, to the head pin is sixty feet. When you stand on the approach and look down the lane, you realize that it is a long way -three or four time the length on the average living room. Each time you take your stance with ball in hand, it is a challenge. How many of the pins can you knock down? Will you topple all the pins with your first ball for a strike or all with two shots for a spare?

Although bowling is a precision game, there is just enough luck in it to thrill the amateur, as well as the expert. Many a ball that doesn't hit the pins just right will mix them up and result in a strike. It is always possible that a ball delivered by the greenest beginner will knock down all the pins. That is why bowling is as exciting for the amateur as for the professional.


Competitive Bowling

Bowling is fundamentally a two-man game, though many can compete, as in league play and tournaments. Essentially, however, it is one competitor against another. Each game is interesting because the lead may change back and forth from one frame, to the next. It is possible for a player to lag behind for eight or nine frames and still come through to win. In competition, players with approximately equal averages are paired off. This insures interesting games because each contestant has the same chance of winning. This rule should be observed in amateur as well as professional bowling. By matching those whose average scores are about the same, the tension of competition is kept at a high level. By playing with bowlers in your own class, you can always, win or lose, enjoy a spirited game. Top

Solitaire Bowling

An interesting feature of bowling is that it can be played solitaire. Opponents are required in most other games, but in bowling you can play against the best competition of all, yourself. Anytime you feel like bowling, or try to improve your previous score, you needn't be concerned about what the players on adjacent lanes are doing. You are out to beat the most formidable of opponents- yourself. What's more, the practice is bound to improve your game. You will eventually increase your average, and when you go into active competition, you will gain the immense satisfaction of a better showing. You always have the goal of becoming a better bowler.


Social Bowling

Most bowlers play the game not only for its fun and excitement but because it provides an excellent means of gathering socially. Bowling can be played for only and hour, or for and afternoon or evening. It is flexible in that various numbers can play. It may be enjoyed by a twosome, or a group of four or more.

People in all trades and professions may be found at bowling establishments. The game affords an opportunity to enlarge one's acquaintance and circle of friends. Bowling, therefore, is a democratic, pleasurable, and rewarding recreation - one enjoyed by millions.


Playing the Game

As in the tenpin and duckpin game, bowling shoes are required to protect the approaches and insure proper footing.

The foul line must be observed at all times. It must be remembered that candlepin bowling is a rolling game, and the ball must not be thrown. The ball must be picked up carefully, with the thumb on the inside and the fingers on the outer side.

The candlepin ball is 4 1/2 inches in diameter. The official maximum weight of the ball is 2 pounds 7 ounces, while 2 pounds 5 or 6 ounces is the most popular. The ball is gripped with the fingers and thumb, and held firmly, away from the palm of the hand. It may be necessary to use a smaller, lighter ball if your hands are small and your fingers shorter than average. Pick up the ball in the handshake position.


Stance and Delivery

The stance should be a relaxed one, with the left foot 6 to 7 inches from the right hand side of the lane, and 10 to 15 feet from the foul line. Women may stand 10 feet away, children 6 feet from the line.

Your starting spot should permit you to finish your slide about 2 inches from the foul line. The feet should be 3 or 4 inches apart, the right foot extended slightly ahead of the left.

The delivery can be made with one, two, or three steps, but the three-step method is the most commonly used. In this method, you start on the left foot and end with a 3-foot slide on the same foot. The first step is the push away from a chest-high position; the second step coincides with the backswing of the ball arm. The third step is the slide and downswing, followed by the release of the ball on the alley.

The push off, or downswing of the arm, starts with a slight bend at the waist. The ball is carried in an arc from four 0'clock to nine o'clock, with the backswing reaching shoulder level during the second step.

At the third step the body dips very definitely forward at the waist and the knees also bend. The arm swings down and forward, preparing for delivery. The hand is at the bottom of the ball, wrist firm and arm straight. When the arm reaches the six o'clock position in the forward swing, the slide begins, and hand and foot simultaneously reach a point about 12 inches from the foul line. The left knee is bent, the body is crouched, and the hand is within a fraction of an inch of the floor.

The ball is released close to the left ankle, reaching the floor of the lane and starting its roll 6 to 12 inches from the foul line. Don't try to throw the ball too fast or too high, and do not attempt hooks and curves at the start.

The arm bends after release as it lifts to shoulder level, stretched toward the target. The extended back leg swings slightly behind the front one, and the body is comfortably balanced.


Action of the Ball

Although candlepin bowlers use straight balls, hooks, curves, and backups, the straight ball is the most suitable for the beginners. The backup is the most difficult to learn, the curve the hardest to control.

The straight, or cross-alley ball, is delivered from the right side of the lane, aimed into the 1-3 pocket so as to strike the pins at an angle. The ball is rolled off the fingertips, with the back of the hand toward the floor, the wrist kept straight.

The break ball is twisted as it leaves the hand, by raising and pressing the little finger against it.

The English that results angles the ball to strike the pins from the side instead of head on.

The hook, or working ball, is one that travels straight down the lane, 9 to 10 inches from the right-hand gutter, and hooks sharply a few feet from the head pin. The hook is achieved by a twist of the fingers along the right-side of the ball upon release.

Ficco's Bowladrome - Candlepin Bowling Alleys
300 East Central Street | Franklin, Massachusetts 02038 | 508-528-1142