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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss


Bowling with vision loss can be accomplished quite easily by using a guide rail set up on the edge of the lane opposite the bowler—left side for a right-handed bowler, right side for a left-hander. The bowlers use that rail to position themselves on the lane. From there, it's regular bowling—no bumpers in the gutters or any other concessions.

A bright-colored ball provides contrast against the bowling lane.

woman releasing bright orange bowling ball down the lane

Stan Smith, 66, of the Blind Bowlers Association in Delaware, states, "The rail runs from the foul line back to the beginning of the approach. Some people keep their hand on the rail the whole time, others just use it to line themselves up. Bowling, if it's done right, is repetitive. It's just a matter of taking the same number of steps and getting your feet in the right place. Everything has to be coordinated. The railing is your guide to keep you straight on the approach."

man using the assistance of a rail guide to bowl

A rail guide helps position a bowler in the center of the lane.

For More Information:

  • American Blind Bowling Association. If you're interested in bowling tournaments, this site is the one to visit.

  • United States Association of Blind Athletes. Bowling. An overview of bowling with vision loss.

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New! Orientation and Mobility Techniques, Second EditionNew! Orientation and Mobility Techniques, Second Edition

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