You are here:

Bowling/What Constitutes a foul


When a bowler delivers a ball in back of the foul line and the ball registers a foul when crossing the line is that considered a foul

Greetings Tony!

Tony, it is not a foul. If the foul light goes off, most bowlers will immediately contact the other team captain and let them know that this is happening.

They will watch for a re-occurrence, or simply contact the control desk and have the foul lights reported, and turned off for the remainder of league play.

In bowling, a foul is committed if part of the bowler's body goes over the foul line. The ball is not part of the bowler's body and once it leaves the bowlers hand, it is in play. This is whether the ball lands in front of the foul line, or after the foul line.

If the foul light goes off, this needs to be investigated. If the player did not cross the line, the score should be corrected without delay, and the player rewarded for pins knocked down.

This is a link to the USBC Site:

Please see: USBC RULE 5: Page 13, Section 5a/4. Frequently Asked Questions - 2012-2013.

5a/4 --- Is a foul called when the ball rolls over the foul line during delivery and the foul detector is activated?
ANSWER:  The bowling ball is not considered a part of the bowler’s body. If the bowler did not step on or go beyond the foul line, a foul is not recorded.

Thanks for your question Tony! -Coach

Las Vegas, NV. (It's a great bowling book!)  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Gary L. Oatis, PBA Coach and USBC Silver Level Coach, PBA Member, Pro Shop Staff Member


I am the author of True Bowler Adjustments bowling book. I can answer bowling adjustments questions dealing with the body, the ball, the lanes and using your eyes to read the ball reaction. I can also answer "most" drilling questions about bowling balls. I will generally answer your questions within 2 days. I am truly a "software guy" who loves the human or people part of coaching. Any questions concerning ball drilling, we want to direct to the "hardware guy," the true expert regarding ball fitting! Ball fitting is what I consider to be your first priority in bowling! Thanks in advance Warren!!! It will always be about teamwork with me! A very special "thanks in advance" for any help with drilling questions I may receive! If your question is about "How to bowl better? physically and mentally," I am here for you. Anything else will most likely be sent to the question pool for consideration by other members. I recently began my first year of ball drilling(6/1/2010). Thank you. :-)


20 years in bowling as a coach and player. Annually I coach over 250 bowlers. Author: True Bowler Adjustments Bowling Book Facebook Testimonies: Facebook contacts 5000+!/TrueBowler

PBA Member USBC Coaches Association Member USBC/PBA Media Member Bowling Writers Association of America Member

True Bowler Adjustments bowling book,Author - Copywrite 12/2008 Radio shows - "Let's Go Bowling" and "The 13th Frame Radio Show" / Jan 2010 feature article in The National Bowling Association (TNBA) Magazine pg.29, writer Dustin Markowitz - March 25, 2012-What Happened to Bowling#16 Los Angeles Senate (TNBA Online Newsletter, "Ask Coach Oatis") 1500 members Questions Answered - 300 Responses.

Gary L. Oatis,MSgt,USAF(Ret.) Associates of Science in Radiological Technology (we x-ray the cores of bowling balls as practice phantoms sometimes!) PBA Coach and USBC Silver Certified Coach Journeyman, Pro Shop Staff Member, Nadeau-Haynes Bowling Supply, Las Vegas, NV.

Awards and Honors
299's, 297's, 290's, 288, no 300's or 800's "yet!"

Past/Present Clients
Charles Nibert - USBC Senior Masters Champion and Alaskian State Champion Randy Stiedl also of Alaska recently shot 800! Numberous PBA Regional Bowlers who compete across the US. Zach Hattori $64,000 scholarship winner from Las Vegas, NV. Shawn Crossley, $10,000 Amateur Bowling Tour Winner 05/2011. Haley Rubin of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, won $7,500 in scholarship funds at the prestigious North Pointe Competition helded in Las Vegas, 2010. Lareece Chambers first female to bowl a perfect game in her bowling center, Victorville, California. Most enjoyable, are my local Las Vegas bowlers. Many have won their 1st ABT or JBT tournaments with my help. I am grateful to every bowler who puts their trust in me. Helping them apply bowling knowledge to reach their goals is truly the best fun I have ever experienced in my lifetime.

©2017 All rights reserved.