Bowling leagues are advised to check their bowling rules, that utilize the handicap system to evaluate
                                "points & scores competition between teams with varying abilities."
A surprising number of leagues do not use the handicap format correctly.
Every 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.

This file updated:   
AUG 28, 2018  ( Section 9: updated file for    "Rules to Consider"
                                  JUL  31
,  2018  ( Sections Updated for:   2018-2019  League Operations Handbook )

JUL  26,  2018  ( Sections Updated for:   2018-2019  USBC Rulebook  )
         NOTES: Section (9 &10):  Your Browser Version may impact access to links.  Notice will be given.
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Hopefully, viewers may discover interesting aspects that they had not previously realized or considered.
As some may enter, while looking for other information, "Section Target Links" are not utilized here.
Relevant items may catch their eye as they scroll through the file.    The aim is to improve knowledge.

 "FILE SECTIONS"  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.
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
10.) Links information & many resources,  USBC Records & Stats
11.) StatCounter statistics for search keywords that were used to reach this website.

THREE  SEPARATE  TIERS . visualized as a PYRAMID .  constitute the bowling world.
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 competition.
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 yourself.
Keep an open mind and do your best.   See the results at the finish.

     WHAT IS THE KEY for recognition of accomplishments in bowling leagues that use a handicap system?      The "2x2 RULE" - - is the Key that Improves Competition for Handicapped Leagues:

    BASIS might be set as often done for bowling tournaments, as a function of team size,
        Leagues may set it closer to the league’s actual ability by setting the value:
            a.) GREATER than the HIGHEST AVERAGE for the league,
            b.) with ALLOWANCE added to provide for improvement (estimate 10 pins for player),
            c.) and 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 800]
  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.)
USBC Rule 100g sets percentage at 100%, unless otherwise provided by league rule.
(Handicap 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 Mythbusters.pdf has this Handicap Information  (See Myths #21, #22, #23)
Score Calculation Including Handicap:  (BASIS - TEAM AVERAGE)  X  PERCENTAGE  =  HANDICAP
    [(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,   would 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 fully utilized.

AVERAGES:  (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.

2.)   BOWLING LEAGUE RECORD   (also called a bowling  Recap Sheet  for each scheduled session)
                                           Examples show 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.

3.)   HANDICAP METHODS (Individual / Team / Combinations) "FOUND TO BE USED BY LEAGUES:"
(Correct) Every league team does receive a handicap value                  (Proper Points + Scores)
(Wrong)  Handicap based on Average Difference of Opposing Team  (Proper Points,  but Scores Distorted)
                An important key to sustain bowling membership, is often degraded.

A.) Individual method of handicapping is used in many magazine articles for examples, because it is the
B.)  Team method of handicapping is most common. Many leagues use the recommended method,
but others introduce problems into league management, by using distortions of the handicap system.
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 and Opponent"

* BEWARE of league formats with a "Combination of Individual & Team and Opponent Methods"

* BEWARE of  HANDICAP  LEAGUES  "only using scratch scores"  (NO handicap scores posted).
* BEWARE of YOUTH LEAGUES  (that do not use the recommended handicap procedures). 
* BEWARE of LEAGUES that "only post Points and Individual Games & Series " (NO TEAM SCORES)

4.)   COMPARE HANDICAP METHODS   Basis   (Regular or Team and Opponent Average Difference)

        (a.)  Team numbers correspond to team-average-ranking,
        (b.)  Team 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 example.
        (d.)  "Regular handicap" uses basis=800 and percentage=90%,
Regular Handicap = (800 - TeamAvg) X .9  (and drop all fractions)
               Example:   (800 - 704) = 96,  (96 X .9 = 86.4) drop fractions, so use 86 for game.
Team & Opponent Handicap  (where the higher average team gets zero for handicap)
               Example:   (753 - 704) = 49,  (49 X .9 = 44.1) drop fractions, so use 44 for game.
Total Score
Total Score
Re-calculate T&O
POA Needed for
"League High 853"
 these Percentages

































Scores Range:  


Results Not Fair
The team and opponent average difference handicap method  defeats 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 Recommended.
(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.)

League Handicap 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 designated representative.
(CAQ 122/1: If adopted after schedule starts, rule is effective immediately and cannot be retroactive.)

6.)   PRIZE LIST FORMULAS  for distribution of bowling prize money between teams and members' share.

7). LEAGUE OPERATIONS:  "DON'T MISS ANY OF THE FUN"  important parts of league competition:
TWO 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
team and opponent average difference 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 possibilities.
It is good to choose options for the best opportunities for everyone to be involved  & understand.
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 Game&Series, 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, Individual 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 pin-block-size.
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 Bowling League - - 22 FAQ information about UBL  How to Setup Divisions for League Competition.
Div-Dbl-League  used a Division format that also awarded points for both Scratch & Handicap competition.
Comments about historical items (including recap sheets), possible changes  "Bowling Leagues of the Future"

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
USBC League Operations Handbook  All aspects of league management, including the following topics:
(2018-2019 Version)
  (PDF has 46 pages)
       Table of Contents (Page 2) shows Topics & Page Numbers - -  (as indicated below)
The USBC Rulebook has all the competition rules  (or you can check the following links): 
(Rules effective August 1, 2018)  
              Separate PDF file ( 100 pages )  2018-2019 PlayingRules       (Save it as a PDF to use)

Rule Changes are noted at the beginning:  (Rulebook Page 3)
"Commonly Asked Questions" (follow the rules items to which they refer)        
Index has a special format specifying  (General, League, Tournament)  items.

To see a Chapter that was in the 2009-2010 book, use this link  regarding handicap procedures.

USBC Playing Rules  (100 PDF pages) includes the following references and league management topics:
Pages below indicate "Rulebook Actual Page" 
Page   1
      -  Table of Contents
Page   2
      -  USBC Contact Information
Page   3
      -  Rule Changes for 2018-2019 Season  (  Rules: 303,  319a,  325  )
Page   4
      -  Chapter 1 - USBC Introduction
Page   9
      -  Chapter 2 - General Playing Rules
Page  21
     -  Chapter 3 - Awards
Page  24      -  Chapter 4 - League Rules
     -  Chapter 5 - Lane Condition Designation
Page  69
     -  Chapter 6 - Tournament Rules
Page  85    
  -  Chapter 7 - Bonding, Burglary & Holdup Insurance
Page  88      -  Chapter 8 - Equipment Specifications
Page  90      -  Chapter 9 - American Wheelchair Bowling Association Rules
Page  92-95
  -  Index
Page  96         Etiquette Information


Bowling Tips & Training  (New Bowlers,  Intermediate and Advanced Techniques)
Links added for Videos   (see list for Numerous Topics)
Rules & Resources   United States Bowling Congress (USBC)  information links,  items such as,
Running Successful Leagues,  Directors Duties,  Committees,  Meetings,  Finances,
League Rules Samples for Adults or Youths,  Guides for League Issues,  Mythbusters,
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. (Central),
Monday through Friday, at 800-514-BOWL ext. 8955 or by email at
League Standing Sheets        (Link for leagues that post their weekly competition results.)
Check Season Scores 2005-2019  (Top Team Scores Reported)  (Select: Men, Women, Mixed, Youth)
USBC Records & Stats   Official Records (Individual or Team),  and other unoffical scores reported.
Other files for numerous categories that have been reported. State Records: Individual/Team
Participation & Leadership, Oddities for Honor Scores and Miscellaneous Categories.
Find A 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.
Bowling's Team 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)
History of Bowling in the U.S.  - - - Interesting tidbits, ancient to contemporary times.

Bowling League Secretary - BLS   League software available from CDE Software.
League Secretary   Another  web site for  leagues to post their team standing sheets.
Perfect Secretary   League software available from Treasure Software.

Bowlers Journal International   2013 was this magazine's 100th year. 
(Issue 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.
Canadian Tenpin Federation  web site for the Canadian Provinces.

Bowling Organizations (historical timelines):
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 bowling,
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 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 States11.46% 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, and  NJ
(Note: the real locations can be distorted by the way that service providers route their connections.)

Learning what 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  (Sept 2004).
17% of 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 bowling topics.

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 regarding bowling search keywords     (File Stats to  03-31-2013)
Now, some search engines block showing keywords utilized.  (Earlier data was more revealing.)
(Therefor, this analysis was not continued.)

StatCounter places a cookie, just to determine which viewers may return to the site at a later date.
StatCounter does not store personal information. Viewers' geographical location is the main interest.
It blocks recording loads done by me for any of the files, so statistics are not inflated.
If you entered the URL address directly yourself, that is shown as "No referring link."
If you have saved the URL, I hope the information that you found here has helped you to enjoy bowling!!!

Appreciated using Fetch 5  Macintosh program for Mac OS X to transfer the files to the Internet server.