Physiological and performance measures during a simulated tenpin bowling tournament and their relationship to fitness

by Robert Wood, 2000, unpublished report. This study is based on research conducted at the Northern Territory Institute of Sport


Tenpin bowling is a popular sport in many countries, yet an understanding of the physiological demands and the application of science to the sport is limited. This study investigated the inter-relationship between the physiological demands, performance and aerobic fitness of bowlers. Subjects were seven bowlers (5 males, 2 females, league average 190 ± 15). Physiological measures were taken immediately prior to, during, and upon completion of a simulated tenpin tournament, comprising a total of sixteen games over six hours. Fluid intake, sweat loss, heart rate, body temperature, blood lactate and grip strength, and performance measures of bowling score and number of strikes and spares, were recorded.

There was no difference in physiological parameters over time. Fluid intake (mean = 0.31 ± 0.09 was similar to the sweat losses (mean = 0.32 ± 0.15 Mean lactate levels during bowling were low (range 1.1‑3.0 mmol.l‑1), while mean heart rate while bowling varied from 90 to 147 beats.min‑1. There was a moderate correlation of bowling score and aerobic fitness (r = 0.39) and a significant correlation with lactate level (r = ‑0.92), which suggest an association of aerobic fitness and performance. While the physiological demands of tenpin bowling are low, there is a need to be aware of possible performance limiting factors.

Further results from this research project are published on this website. For more information, please contact me.

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