Bowling is a very popular recreational and competitive activity that is enjoyed by individuals of all levels. It is an indoor activity that requires minimal adaptations of equipment and is easily accessible throughout the country.
Bowling is an official activity of the United States Sports Federation for the Deaf (USADSF), the National Alliance for Sports for the Disabled (NDSA), the Special Olympics International (SOI) and the Wheelchair Bowling Association of the United States (AWBA).
Bowling Equipment to provide assistance to people with disabilities
A wide range of adaptive equipment is available for people of all ability levels to participate and compete in bowling.
Ball Ramps: Several different models of ramps can be used for standing and sitting positions. Ball ramps allow people who cannot throw a bowling ball to practice the sport. The most popular ramps are made of tubular aluminum, which is lightweight and easily disassembled for easy storage. Some commercial ramps have swivel bases for steering control. Non-commercial ramps work just as well and can easily be made of wood.
The Poss-I-Bowl is a switch-controlled device that connects to any tubular bowling ramp. The user presses a switch that releases the ball. The ball travels down the ramp and onto the track.
Ball Pushers: Ball pushers or bowling clubs can also be used from a standing or seated position. Ball pushers give the participant greater control over the strength of the shot and the angle at which the ball travels around the court. They come in two popular forms: the adjustable model and the triangular model. Each is equipped with a protective coating to avoid scratching the floor.
Aids for the Visually Impaired: Visually impaired people only need to stay bowling oriented to participate in the fun of bowling. There are three commonly used aids to assist visually impaired people in obtaining a straight run: (1) a commercial bowling bar, (2) an improvised guide string, or (3) a strip of carpet.
Bowling Organized for People with Disabilities
Special Olympics Bowling Special Olympics bowling teams are grouped into divisions according to athletes’ skill levels, age, and sex. There is also a Unified Sports® division comprised of athletes with and without mental retardation who compete on the same teams. There is a wide variety of Special Olympics bowling events, including individual, pair, four-person, Unified Sports® and team pairs, target bowling, and stage bowling.
The USADBF is the national sports organization representing bowling in the United States Federation of Sports for the Deaf (USADSF). Anyone interested in becoming a member must contact the USADBF and must be a member of USADSF. To be part of the U.S. bowling team for the deaf, USADBF members must prove and qualify. For more information, contact USADBF.
NDSA Bowling The National Alliance for Sports for the Disabled (NDSA) offers bowling organized into four divisions: A, B, C, and D. Participants in divisions A and B use ramps to help. Players in the A division are allowed the limited assistance of a coach, while those in the B division are not. The C division is made up of wheelchair and ambulatory athletes with rankings from 3 to 6. The D division is made up of the rankings of 7 and 8.
The American Wheelchair Bowling Association (AWBA) promotes bowling as an excellent rehabilitation and recreational exercise activity for all wheelchair users. The AWBA sponsors league competitions and tournaments. It also offers educational books and videos to help interested people get started in wheelchair bowling or improve their skills. For more information, contact AWBA.
American Bowling Association for the BlindThe American Bowling Association for the Blind (ABBA, its acronym in Spanish) is a non-profit organization.
Next Steps and Where to Purchase Equipment
When you’re ready to make the leap, you can read these articles to learn what bowling equipment we recommend for every different kind of player and choose what suits you better. We try to review the best bowling equipment in the market every few weeks to keep up-to-date with the current trends.