People have their own opinions about bumper bowling for kids, and they vary from one extreme to the next. I have been bowling since I was 8 years old and, while I never started on the bumpers, my son, who is 5 years old, is on the bumper league at Albemarle Lanes.
One thing I notice when watching him bowl, is how much fun he is having.
At that age, what is being taught are the fundamentals of release, and courtesy bowling, and approach, with scoring the least important.
To a kid, however, they want to see pins fall down, so having the bumpers up allows them to knock down pins every frame.
Beginners should be encouraged not to use the bumpers, but should they hit them, it is ok.
The United States Bowling Congress also recognizes the need for a bumper program, to get children interested in bowling and get them having fun while they do it. With this, they have created a nationally sanctioned bumper program, with awards and tournament opportunities.
After this season, I have all intentions of moving my son to the non-bumper league, but without this first season of bowling on bumpers and learning the fundamentals, it would make for a difficult transition.
Currently, there are only four bumper bowlers in the league at Albemarle Lanes on Saturday mornings, but there is plenty of room for mid-season additions.
If this is something you are interested in, contact your local center to get signed up, as most have some form of bumper leagues. As for the adults, sorry, no bumpers for you.