Bowling leagues are advised to check their
bowling rules, that utilize the handicap system to evaluate "points &
scores competition between teams with varying abilities."
surprising number of leagues do not use the handicap format
team in the league should receive a handicap value,
every week, for every game bowled. Bowlers
have been misled by some handicap instructions found on many
league recap sheets.
The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) became the
"administering" organization, January 1, 2005.
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have information or links for the following frequent questions
(FAQ) or subjects:
1.) Be sure your league is using the recommended handicap
system. How to determine correct handicap.
2.) Examples: How to fill out scores recap sheet for
scheduled team competition (Individual or Team Handicaps.)
3.) Handicap methods found to be used in leagues. Several are detrimental for
league competition for awards.
4.) Table comparison showing examples of the recommended and
detrimental handicap systems.
5.) How to change a league rule. Also a 2-page
"handicap explanation sheet" to be used for league meetings.
6.) Prize fund payouts, formulas to calculate values for position
or points money, also team-members shares.
7.) "Don't miss any fun." Comments: Operations, Procedures, UBL,
FAQ Divisions. Leagues Decline & Future
8.) References where to find important information
in League Rules, Sanction Kits and the Operations Manual.
9.) Handicap calculator charts, Team schedules, Team & Personal games
sheets (+ other PDF files at Bowl.com)
10.) Links information & many resources, USBC Records & Stats,
11.) StatCounter statistics for search keywords that were used to
reach this website.
. visualized as a
constitute the bowling world.
The broad base contains the largest portion,
leagues that use a system:
Designed to allow equitable competition between teams
with widely varying abilities .
Full involvement in all opportunities of league
competition should enhance experience.
The center portion is classified and more
compact with a set-range for team averages.
Average targets could disqualify bowlers who prefer
to stay together as a team.
The narrow top where highest caliber teams
bowl 'scratch' - - thrive on the challenges of the game.
(A national proprietor president estimated it will never be more
than 5%, maybe 10%.)
A comment about the bowling pyramid: It is a
good structure. The broad base encompasses most bowlers.
Some move up to the other levels. In addition to bowling in
leagues using handicap, this author also
enjoyed competition in scratch (no handicap) team leagues:
5 person, trio, doubles and singles formats.
Over the years, "simultaneous
participation" in handicap leagues continued to provide good
At the start of a game, some bowlers get psyched-out by a
handicap. They should always remember that
handicap IS based on average. Few people get
inordinately "lucky" during the process. Don't beat
open mind and do your best. See the results at the
WHAT IS THE KEY for
recognition of accomplishments in bowling leagues that use a
standing sheet shows all statistics (points won,
scores, averages for teams and individuals).
Points seem to get the most attention for games and
series won. Usually a 4-point or 7-point system.
(Examples: 1 point for games, 1 for total series, or
2 points for games, 1 for total series.)
(Or: "Match Points" compete "head to head" Rule 100k,
"Peterson Points" see section 7 below.)
"Bowling league high scores" can provide numerous
opportunities for team and personal satisfaction.
The points race for league championship may involve a
small percentage of the league's teams.
Adopting the CORRECT handicap method should help
ensure that every team does have a
REAL OPPORTUNITY to be involved
in the competition for other league awards available.
- is the Key that Improves Competition for Handicapped
determines its own criteria (which should be set
properly) for handicapping.
Use two parts (percentage allowed and
the same basis for every team)
covering the two aspects of competition,
points & high scores. BOTH are IMPORTANT.
Prizes should be awarded to those who truly deserve
this recognition for accomplishments!
(Suggest an * for NEW season high scores on
standings sheet, show LATEST HONOREES.)
LEAGUE HANDICAP COMPONENTS:
Suggested League Rule:
Handicap will be ____% (such as 90%) of the
difference between average and a
of _____ (base or scratch figure set higher than the highest
average in the league)
figuring handicap or averages, fractions are to be
dropped. (see Rule 100g Handicap)
Handicap shall not be limited, unless otherwise
provided by league rule.
The handicaps (team or individual) will change as
Individual Method -
Set basis higher than any person's average in the league,
such as 210. If 90% handicap is allowed,
single game handicap (210-Average) x Percentage, such as
(210-175) = 35 x .90 = 31.5 (use 31)
Team handicap for a single game would equal the sum of all of
the handicaps of the team's players.
Team Method -
Set basis higher than the highest team average in the
league, such as 1050. With 90% handicap, the
single game handicap would equal (1050-Team Average) x
Percentage. (1050-850) = 200 x .90 = 180.
The 2 Handicap Components - (additional
comments) (+ See how applied on Sample Recap Sheet )
BASIS might be set
as often done for bowling tournaments, as a function of team
Leagues may set it closer
to the league’s actual ability by setting the value:
GREATER than the HIGHEST AVERAGE for the league,
with ALLOWANCE added to provide for improvement (estimate 10
pins for player),
finally rounded up to a CONVENIENT NUMBER for ease of use.
[Example: High team average
720, five-per-team (add 5x10=50) yields 770, use
A league may rule a
negative handicap be used, if any Average Exceeds the Basis selected,
PERCENTAGE, such as 80%,
90%, 100% (Section 9: has links
for USBC Files 70 to 95.)
Rule 100g sets percentage at 100%, unless otherwise provided by
Percentage) Many years ago, ABC and
WIBC analyzed statistics for a four-year period,
the impact of
percentage on the team points accumulated towards winning
the league championship.
The study included numerous leagues sanctioned at that
time - - men's, women's and mixed formats.
The results showed that, even at 100%, the higher average
teams or bowlers have a decided edge.
A handicap of 116% was found to be needed to even out the
competition to a 50-50 probability.
Championship Won by
Team with Average Below
Median in the League
Championship Won by
Team with Average Above
Median in the League
0 out of 100
100 out of 100
0 out of 100
100 out of 100
0 out of 100
100 out of 100
6 out of 100
94 out of 100
11 out of 100
89 out of 100
24 out of 100
76 out of 100
30 out of 100
70 out of 100
has this Handicap Information (See Myths #21, #22, #23)
Score Calculation Including Handicap:
(BASIS - TEAM AVERAGE) X PERCENTAGE =
[(800 - 720) x .9 = (80) x
.9 = 72 pins per game, drop fractions], [72
x 3 = 216 total for a 3-game series] Then, if the team bowls a 770 game
scratch, their total score +72 handicap,
be = 842) The "scratch + handicap
process" provides fair comparison of scores
across the whole league. Leagues using
handicap charts for 3-game series, would be better involved
using Single Game Handicap.
The handicap tool that
should help keep all teams involved .... is not being
(See Rules & CAQ 118a to 118e): Various
aspects to consider regarding Averages.
Guidelines for Entering
Averages (as noted in the Operations Handbook - Sample
Adult Rules #7):
1. Average established in this league last season, based on
21 games or more.
2. Highest average from the previous season in any USBC
league, based on 21 games or more.
3. Current average from another USBC league, based on 21
games or more.
4. Bowlers who do not have a qualifying average outlined in
items 1-3, establish average the first time they bowl.
BOWLING LEAGUE RECORD (also
called a bowling Recap Sheetfor each scheduled session)
how to fill it out:handicaps used,
scores & how points won.
As games progress, telescorer boxes indicate scratch and handicap
scores to the current frame position.
METHODS (Individual / Team / Combinations) "FOUND TO BE USED
league team does receive a handicap value
Points + Scores)
(Wrong) Handicap based on Average Difference of Opposing
Team (Proper Points, but Scores Distorted)
important key to sustain bowling membership, is often
Individual methodof handicapping is used in
many magazine articles for examples, because it is the
Best means to get everyone involved in all aspects and
the fun of competition.
More opportunities for teams & individuals to get
recognition for their achievements.
The team handicap is then calculated as the sum of
the individual members' handicaps.
B.) Team method of handicapping is most common. Many leagues use the
but others introduce
problems into league management, by using distortions of the
Examining standing sheets posted on the Internet provides many
examples of questionable practices. The
handicap tool that should help keep all teams involved ....
is not being fully utilized.
Following are 5 examples of distortions that have
a major impact on league scores competition:
* BEWARE of handicap
based on "Difference Between Team Averages" of "Team
*** Do not be
misled by insufficient handicap instructions found on some
league recap sheets.
Team average difference handicap can only determine
which of 2 teams wins their scheduled games.
Score comparison really has no significance for the
whole league, because half of the teams have
ZERO handicap and the rest get a DUBIOUS
number based on whom they happen to bowl.
The fact that every
team is not using a handicap is a significant indicator that
a major problem exists.
Competition for high scores is distorted. Accomplishments
deserving recognition are overlooked.
Team Games and Total Series Scores:
not reflect "how well the teams actually bowled."
- - >> (See team
score examples in Section 4 below, for a detailed example of the
of league formats with a "Combination of Individual &
Team and Opponent Methods"
Some leagues have adopted "Individual Handicap" for
Individual Scores for Game/Series Awards,
with "Difference" between
"Team & Opponent" Averages for Points &
The true team handicaps would best be calculated by
adding the individual handicaps for a team total.
leagues have rules to use Individual Handicaps, but never
use those scores on standing sheets.
These leagues also only used SCRATCH Scores for all Team
& Individual awards.
* BEWARE of HANDICAP LEAGUES"only using scratch scores" (NO handicap scores
Some handicap leagues only post "scratch scores" for
team high game and series honors.
degrades "equitable evaluation" of scores for all of the
teams across the league.
USBC Rule (117b Item 3) Prize Qualification - Handicap
Leagues is an indication of the
importance of this issue: All special prizes should be
awarded on a handicap basis.
Leagues can add additional scratch prizes, if covered
by league rules or prize list.
(Use the recommended handicap methods where every team
has handicap for every game and series.)
* BEWARE of YOUTH LEAGUES(that do not use the recommended handicap procedures).
YOUTH HANDICAP LEAGUES also are found
using questionable practices, including:
using "team and opponent" or "difference between team
averages" handicap procedures,
only posting "scratch scores" for team high game and
series honors in their HANDICAP leagues.
Kids trust that their leaders are teaching them
correct bowling procedures, but miss that
Possibly, the Industry's joint project (YES - Youth
Education Services), will improve these problems.
BEWARE of LEAGUES that "only post Points and Individual Games
& Series " (NO TEAM SCORES)
Recently noticed some areas that have this format
exhibited across many leagues & bowling centers.
maybe trying to avoid the "scores impact of bad
handicapping" but causes another proiblem.
counter-productive, as the possibility to post a high team
game or series helps to maintain interest.
Members may not be able to compete on an individual
level, team accomplishments are overlooked.
4.) COMPARE HANDICAP METHODS Basis
(Regular or Team and Opponent Average Difference)
(a.) Team numbers
correspond to team-average-ranking,
schedule has these teams bowling each other (1-week during each
round, or segment),
(c.) Assume that
every team bowls a game 100 pins-over-their-average, for this
handicap" uses basis=800 and percentage=90%,
Regular Handicap = (800 - TeamAvg) X .9 (and drop all
(800 - 704) = 96, (96 X .9 = 86.4) drop fractions, so use 86
Team & Opponent Handicap (where the higher average team
gets zero for handicap)
(753 - 704) = 49, (49 X .9 = 44.1) drop fractions, so use 44
POA Needed for
"League High 853"
Results Not Fair
The team and opponent average difference handicap
the purpose of handicapping. Every team is in jeopardy. their true achievements are
misrepresented and will not be recognizable.
Also, leagues should not use
"total pins" as a tiebreaker. (See Mythbusters.pdf
#33) Every team should
receive a handicap for every game, during the league schedule.
League scores are just like a tournament.
Important NOTE Rule100g - CAQ (100g /3) average
difference method is Not
(A "pins over average" POA tournament is not a
different format, it uses a 100% handicap allowance.
If 100% "Regular Handicap" had been used - - - Every team would
have showed a score of 900.) 5.) HOW TO CHANGE A LEAGUE RULE:
Explanation Sheet (PDF format 2
pages), to aid league discussion of methods.
Rule 122: Rules shall be adopted at a
meeting prior to the start of the league schedule by the
board of directors, unless the league elects to have
its rules adopted by the membership.
After the league schedule begins, a change in the league rules
and approved prize list can be made
only with the written consent of every team captain or
(CAQ 122/1: If adopted after schedule starts, rule is effective
immediately and cannot be retroactive.)
OPERATIONS: "DON'T MISS ANY OF THE FUN" important
parts of league competition:
CATEGORIES FOR TEAM AWARDS (using both Scratch and
Handicap basis) can provide
the best means for everyone to have their achievements be
recognized, reflecting "how much
they were able to bowl over their averages." Higher
average teams may sometimes complain about
how many pins they have to give away for handicap. Close examination would
show that when the team and opponent average
method is used, it is the majority of other league teams that are giving away
pins. (Possibly, complainers should join or start
their own scratch league.)
It is very important that every team receives correct handicap,
for every week of the schedule. EVERYONE DESERVES to have their REAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS
receive proper recognition.
Most leagues divide their schedule into 2 halves, or use rounds
where every team bowls every other
team within a segment and also include "team position weeks" to
fill scheduled contract. At season's
end. the "team champion" is determined by a "roll-off" scheduled
between the half or round winners.
League high scores may be determined for each half or round, for
handicap and scratch recognition.
Usually leagues set a rule that a team is eligible for only 1
game and 1 series, and determines which
score (for the handicap or scratch categories) should take
precedence for posting on the standing sheet.
Usually the prize of greatest value is used; if the scores are
of equal value, the scratch award is used.
It is good to divide the honor periods. It is harder to "bowl
over average" as average becomes more
established. Using periods, more teams and individuals
could share the fun of posting a good score.
The league directors would resolve any questions, if any issues
develop during the season.
League Standing Sheet
(Choices): Computer software for league standing sheets, usually provide for many different
It is good to choose
options for the best
opportunities for everyone to be involved &
Team Positions: Points Won/Lost/Unearned. (Scratch&Handicap
Total Pins, Highest Game & Series)
Members: Bowler's Average (+Handicap), Number of
Games, High Game&Series for Scratch&Handicap.
Season High Scores (1-2-3) Scratch&Handicap: Team
Individual Game&Series +Average. Previous Week:
Teams competing together, Each Team's Games & Series,
Showing Points Each Won. Previous Week: High
Scores (1-2-3) Scratch&Handicap: Team Game&Series,
An interesting singles format was the Peterson Points system. In addition to
points awarded for winning
games/series, bonus points are
earned for bowling well during matches, for a determined
If the size was set at 50 pins, an individual bowling a 573
scratch series, would earn 11.46 extra points.
A 5-person team level approach could use a 250 value for 1-point
additionally earned The system is used
usually for scratch leagues, but handicap leagues would include
handicap in the pin-block determined.
Adopting 100% handicap percentage improved league
competition and increased enthusiasm of the teams.
Trust the system. When all aspects of league competition can be
fully utilized, it works well. The best leagues
are organized in a way that every team has a "genuine
opportunity" to really
share the fun and prizes !!! Ultimate
League - - 22 FAQ information about UBL How to Setup Divisions for
a Division format that also awarded points for both Scratch
& Handicap competition.
Comments about historical items (including recap sheets),
possible changes "Bowling
8.) REFERENCES FOR INFORMATION regarding 2018-2019
Season: You can obtain
materials to sanction (USBC new term is certify/certified) your
league (application and
membership cards) from local representatives. If there is no
contact information posted on the
bulletin boards, ask someone on the bowling center staff, or
contact USBC at 800-514-BOWL
Documents in .PDF format require Adobe Reader
before download. Get FREE application at www.adobe.com USBC League Operations Handbook All aspects of league
management, including the following topics:
(2018-2019 Version) (PDF has 46 pages)
ResourcesUnited States Bowling
Congress (USBC) information links, items such
Successful Leagues, Directors Duties,
Committees, Meetings, Finances,
League Rules Samples for Adults or Youths,
Guides for League Issues,
Sport Bowling Information (Resource Center)
Unique League Formats (Survivor, etc), Guides for Officers
(President, Secretary, Treasurer), League Officer Certification,
Contact the USBC
Rules team, available between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Monday through Friday, at 800-514-BOWL
8955 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other files for numerous
categories that have been reported. State
Participation & Leadership,
Oddities for Honor Scores and Miscellaneous Categories.
Member (Must Login for
Links: find Memberships, League Averages, Achievements)
Note: Season averages here, NOT TO BE USED as official.
Verify Official at local associations.
Concept - - - (1997 book by Charles Martin, PhD)
ISBN 1570340609 (pbk)
Covers numerous Competition
aspects. (Find Bowling's Team Concept
in preferred search engine.) International
Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame at Industry's Joint
Campus, Arlington TX (1-26-2010)
Jan-2011: contains the BJI 2011
Bowling Almanac 16-Pages) :
Ultimate Bowling Hall of Fame, Certified Centers
& Bowler Counts 1895-2010,
All American Teams, Major Tournaments Winners, Pro Bowling
Awards, Pro Money Winners.
Federation web site for the Canadian Provinces. Bowling Organizations
2010 - - YES (Youth Education Services) Joint Industry Project -
Dedicated to Youth Development & Marketing
2005 - - United States Bowling Congress (USBC) combined ABC, WIBC,
YABA, College and USA Bowling
2003 - - Contemporary Bowling Association (Bowling Proprietors
Association of America - BPAA)
1998 - - College Bowling moved to be under the direction of the
ABC and WIBC
1989 - - USA Bowling - United States Tenpin Bowling Federation
(USTBF) for international competition
1986 - - Team USA
1982 - - Young America Bowling Alliance (YABA) combined AJBC, YBA
and Collegiate groups
1966 - - Collegiate division to bridge gap between youth and adult
1964 - - Youth Bowling Association (YBA)
1951 - - Federation Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ) (currently
has 80 member nations)
1946 - - American Junior Bowling Congress (AJBC)
1932 - - Bowling Proprietor's Association of America (BPAA)
1916 - - Women's International Bowling Congress (WIBC)
1895 - - American Bowling Congress (ABC) 4340 Certified
Centers (2017 Estimate)
3375 BPAA Centers
(2016 BPAA Report) 11.) " StatCounter.com "
Statcounter Statistics have been a great tool to
add content to this website.
That is a service provided by Aodhán Cullen and his team, located
in Dublin, Ireland.
It checks country, state, city, search engine and keywords, or
direct links from other websites.
The bowling file was created, in 1997, and has grown over the
years. StatCounter added April 12, 2004.
Statistics (7-30-05 to 05-31-2013) for this website
(over 8 Seasons of USBC administration): 88.34% viewers located
in the United States, 11.46% for 144 other
countries, 0.20% undetermined.
The U.S. is followed by Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia,
Malaysia, Phillipines and Singapore.
Every state is represented in the viewer counts, led by CA, NY,
TX, VA, IL, FL, MI, OH, PA,
(Note: the real locations can be distorted by the way that service
providers route their connections.)
keywords were used by www searchers helped determine items to be
added. The most unique addition was the
formulas to help divide a league's prize money
the searchers entered the keywords "bowling league" or the search
string was not decoded. 83% of the searchers
were looking for more specific information regarding numerous
483 keywords or phrases were examined for this analysis
period. Not difficult to reach this number.
(Consider that numerous
related topics, often have a number of variations for words
evaluated.) Data for 30 most relevant keywords
or phrases, relating to league competition, are presented.
Results, checked over many years, tended to be consistent, with
only slight adjustments.
You can see: Statistics
bowling search keywords (File Stats
Now, some search engines
block showing keywords utilized. (Earlier data was more
(Therefor, this analysis was not continued.)
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