Before learning how to play the game, a bowler will need to identify the equipment needed and know how to use it. They should know where to find the necessary equipment, select the right shoe size, choose the right weight of ball to be used, wear comfortable clothing appropriate for the game, and return the equipment to the proper place after the game.
The bowling ball selected must be of the proper weight and grip; the player's finger size and the space between holes are essential for comfort. Most players use the conventional grip (used in bowling alleys), after fitting the two middle fingers and thumb in the holes, they must test its fit by swinging the ball lightly. Amateurs can find equipment at bowling centers where they can use the equipment for free. However, for advanced and intermediate players, they will want to purchase their own equipment. These players use the Semi-fingertip grips where the thumb and the fore fingers are inserted into the ball's holes
The usual weight of the ball is approximately 14 to 16 lbs. for males and 10 to 14 lbs. for females. Young players are given the 4 to 6 lb. balls. The swing indicates whether or not the weight of the ball is appropriate for a player. If not, it will cause the shoulder to dip and the player to be out of balance. If the swing causes lofting, it could be too light. The speed of the ball when it is released can also show if it fits the player. Bowling instructors advise professional bowlers to have their own bowling ball which is drilled especially to fit the player's fingers for consistency and comfort. As with any other sport, strength and physical fitness must be taken into consideration before playing the game.
Aside from the ball, players will need a few other things:
- Bowling shoes - these are designed to allow the player to slide on either foot. The left shoe has a sole that allows the right-handed player to use the five-step approach and vice versa;
- A bowling bag for the ball;
- A rosin bag, which is used by the players to insure that the hands are kept dry; and
- A bowling towel, to get rid of oil and dirt.