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Bowling/Foul rule question no one can answer


Yesterday, during a tournament, we got 10 different answers from 10 "experts."  The question is, "Is this a foul?"

A bowler has a 4-step delivery.  She is right-handed.  On her second step, she catches her toe and begins to tumble.  She is a first year bowler who is inexperienced in "bailing out" during an unexpected problem.  She attempts to stop her feet.  She attempts to stop her swing.  As she is falling, she finally lets go of the ball in an effort to minimize injury.  The ball continues across the foul line and down the alley.  This was due to momentum, NOT any attempt to make a delivery.  She is tall and unathletic.  Unable to stop her momentum and trying not to injure herself, she continues to try to remain upright.  She takes 3 more steps and clearly walks out onto the lane across the foul line.

She made no attempt to deliver the ball.  She made every attempt to stop prior to the fall line but only her lack of athleticism, and/or the reaction to avoid injury, took her across the foul line.

Is this a foul????????????

Thanks so much if you can end this argument!!

Milan, Michigan

Hi Eric, According to Rule 4 – Delivering the Ball, and Rule 5.- it is a foul ----  4. Legal Delivery A delivery is made when the ball leaves the player’s possession and crosses the foul line into playing territory. Every delivery counts unless a dead ball is declared. Since we are only thinking in terms of human error, and nothing mechanical, the delivery stands. There is no grounds, or bases to declare a dead ball.
    In regards to rule 5, she did cross the line for a foul. Unfortunately, if she maintained possession of the ball, she could have been allowed to deliver another throw, even if she had crossed the foul line with the ball in hand. Once she let go, that was a done deal. Doubly so since her momentum carried her over the foul line. - Coach

Check here:

Please see Rules 4 and 5.

Take care.  


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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

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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.

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