Tenpin Bowling is very popular among the blind and vision impaired community. It is played in more than twenty countries throughout the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. Tenpin Bowling is is a sport that can be played for recreation or competition, which can usually be enjoyed by the blind and the sighted on an equal basis. The sport generally involves stimulating but not necessarily strenuous physical activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
Blind or vision impaired bowlers can usually bowl in most bowling centres, the same as sighted bowlers, many bowlers who have no or little sight, may need sighted guidance or use a guide rail to help them in their deliveries.
Rules & Equipment
There are no significant rule changes between blind and sighted bowling, games can and often are played between bowlers with a vision impairment and those without.
All bowling alleys should be able to supply most of the equipment required to participate in blind bowling. The only thing that they may not supply is a handrail for the bowlers to use to guide them in their runup. However many bowlers do not use the handrail after they have played the sport for a while and feel confident enough not to use it.
For some bowlers with varying vision impairments, they may find the lighting in some centres to be challenging, particularly if they use dark or fleuro lighting, this can sometimes be worked through with centres, where they may have capacity to turn on house lighting for particular lanes or let you know times, where this kind of lighting may not be used. BVIT can assist you with this conversation.
Classification is not necessary when participating in Blind Tenpin Bowling unless it is explicitly noted by competition or league. This is due to the fact that it uses a handicap system that gives all bowlers, regardless of Vision Impairment an even playing field.
For athletes taking part in international competition, they will need to go through IBSA sanctioned classification process, which BVIT can provide information around.
Blind and Vision Impaired Tenpin Bowling Australia (BVIT) run phantom leagues across Australia, where people are able to bowl at a local bowling centre and share their scores to compete against others across the country.
BVIT run National Championships every 2 years, with the location of the nationals rotating between state, in 2020, the BVIT nationals were held in Brisbane.
There are pathways for bowlers to compete in International competition, with Blind and Vision Impaired Bowling being an IBSA sanctioned sport, with a number of countries around the world taking part and hosting tournaments.
How to Contact?
Blind and Vision Impaired Tenpin Bowling (BVIT), are a member of Blind Sports Australia and can connect you to opportunities to compete, both locally and nationally.