Bowling Team Positions


Team bowling involves a group of players that compete on the same team against another group, with the team that achieves the highest cumulative score declared the winner of the match. Keep reading to learn about each position on a bowling team, along with their roles and responsibilities.

Positions on a Bowling Team

Here is a list of positions on a bowling team, along with their responsibilities:

  • First Position: the “table setter” for the team, usually a decent bowler that can be relied upon to start the team off on a solid foot.
  • Second Position: generally, the least experienced bowler on the team, as there are three remaining teammates to pick up the slack should the bowler fail to roll a good shot.
  • Third Position: a bowler that is given plenty of room for error, similar to the second positions, but shows the potential for drastic improvement as the season progresses.
  • Fourth Position: the “setup person” for the team, often an experienced bowler that can be relied upon to consistently knock down all of the pins in either the first or second shot
  • Fifth Position: also known as the “anchor,” the fifth bowler is the team’s best player and often posts a great score even when faced with a high-pressure situation

How Many People Are on a Bowling Team?

While bowling teams can consist of anywhere from three to five players, the standard for competitive team bowling is five players. Teams try to make the best use of each player’s individual skill sets by creating a “lineup” that dictates the order in which players will take their turns (first, second, third, fourth, or fifth).

Order of Players

The order of players is the order in which each one bowls. The order is often determined by the player’s average score, a statistically calculated score that takes into account all of the player’s past performances in order to arrive at a number that is indicative of the score the bowler can be expected to achieve on a night-to-night basis.

Position Roles and Responsibilities

Each bowling position has slightly different responsibilities. The first bowler is responsible for getting their team started with good momentum and scores. The second and third bowlers are generally a bowling team’s weakest members. The fourth bowler is responsible for continuing the team’s success or making up for the mishaps of the previous three bowlers. The fifth bowler is the best player of the team and is fully expected to end the frame on a high note by knocking down each of the pins with ease on the first shot.


How many players are on a bowling team?

The standard competitive bowling team is made up of five players. This is a maximum number set by the United States Bowling Congress and each of the five players comes with their own set of roles and responsibilities. Recreationally, bowling teams are usually between three and five players.

What is an anchor in bowling?

An anchor in bowling is the bowler on the team that bowls last in the rotation. As they are responsible for equalizing the mistakes of their teammates, the anchor is typically the bowler with the highest bowling average and the best performance under pressure. Regardless of the number of bowlers on a team, the anchor always bowls last, with weaker bowlers slotted into the middle of the rotation.

What are the positions on a bowling team?

There are four unique positions on a standard bowling team. The first bowler is a “setter” who starts the game off strong. The second and third bowlers are typically weaker bowlers that try to keep the average score in a decent range. The fourth bowler is a “setup person” who is reliable for a spare or a strike. The fifth and final bowler is the star of the team and acts as an anchor by ending the team’s round with a very high score.