The Success and The Failures of Lefthanders In Sports

Why Aren't There More Lefthanded Bowlers

Bowling is one of our country’s most popular recreational activities.  The American Bowling Congress estimates that nearly eighty-million Americans bowl at least once a year.  They have no statistics on the number of lefthanders who bowl, but they assume it is proportionate to the number of lefthanders in the general population.  This assumption overlooks the fact that it is more difficult for lefthanders to develop their interest in the game.  While many lefthanders enjoy bowling and are very good at it, others have a rough time getting started.

Read about the Greatest Lefthanded Bowlers 

Continue down this page to read about the obstacles facing lefthanded bowlers.

The first problem facing lefthanded children is getting adults to let them bowl with their left hand, then they have to find a ball that fits comfortably in their left hand.  If they want to make a serious commitment to the game, they need to purchase their own bowling ball with the holes drilled at the proper angle.  A righthander can get by with the balls provided for their use, but a lefthander has a stronger need for their own custom fitted bowling ball.  It is no more difficult or more expensive for lefthanders to purchase a bowling ball, and the ball is the same…the only difference is in the pattern of the holes that are drilled to fit the bowler’s hand.  The problems are often in convincing parents that their children can’t use the bowling balls provided for the public.

Once lefthanders find a ball that fits, they can take the next steps in their bowling career.  Which steps come first, or which foot comes first, is more difficult for lefthanded children that for righthanded children.  Righthanders always have other righthanders to show them the proper footwork, but lefthanders often have no one to observe.  There are very few lefthanded bowling instructors because righthanders don’t want to learn by watching someone who does it the opposite way, but that is what lefthanders have to do in bowling and many other activities.

There are many bowling instruction books with detailed steps and diagrams on bowling righthanded, but very little has ever been written for lefthanders.  If lefthanders wish to learn from instructions written for righthanders, they have to reverse the words left and right every time they appear.  The photos or sketches provided can be confusing to lefthanders, and they often end up teaching themselves. 

Some people think that lefthanders may have an advantage because the left side of the lane is not used as often as the right side.  Therefore, the lane is less grooved, and more true for the lefthander.  There have even been complaints by righthanders in occasional tournaments about this so-called lefthanders advantage.  Many lefthanders enjoyed seeing righthanders feeling like they were at a disadvantage.

With better instruction and more encouragement, many more lefthanders would begin to enjoy bowling.  Bowling is a great game for all ages, and it’s never too late to learn.  In a game where individual talents have a chance to shine, lefthanded people can show that they have as much talent as righthanders do.

​Read about the Greatest Lefthanded Bowlers