are advised to check their
bowling rules, that utilize the handicap system to evaluate "points & scores competition
teams with varying abilities."
surprising number of
leagues do not
use the handicap
format correctly. Every
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"
January 1, 2005.
file updated: Mar
2, 2017 (Sec 6: "Prize List
File" has updated link for USBC's Prize
List PDF available )
2016 (This website updated information for 2016-2017
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may discover interesting aspects that they had not previously realized
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
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.
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
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
important information in League Rules, Sanction Kits and the
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
SEPARATE TIERS .
visualized as a PYRAMID . constitute the bowling world.
The broad base contains the
largest portion, the handicapped
leagues that use
Designed to allow
equitable competition between teams with widely varying abilities
Full involvement in all opportunities
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
5%, maybe 10%.)
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
trio, doubles and singles formats.
Over the years, "simultaneous participation" in
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
during the process. Don't beat yourself.
an 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 handicap system?
The league standing sheet shows all
statistics (points won, scores, averages for teams and
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
for team and personal satisfaction.
The points race for
league championship may involve a small percentage
Adopting the CORRECT handicap method should help
every team does have a
REAL OPPORTUNITY to be involved in
the competition for
league awards available.
The "2x2 RULE"- -
is the Key
that Improves Competition for Handicapped Leagues:
LEAGUE determines its own
criteria (which should be set properly)
Use two parts (percentage
allowed and the same basis for
covering the two aspects of
competition, points & high
scores. BOTH are IMPORTANT.
Prizes should be awarded to those who
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
figure of _____ (base or
set higher than the
highest average in the league)
When figuring handicap or averages, fractions are to be
dropped. (see Rule 100g Handicap)
Handicap shall not be limited, unless
otherwise provided by
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,
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,
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
might be set as often done
bowling tournaments, as a function of team size,
Leagues may set it closer to
the league’s actual ability by setting the value:
than the HIGHEST AVERAGE for the league,
ALLOWANCE added to provide for improvement (estimate 10 pins for
finally rounded up to a CONVENIENT NUMBER for ease of use.
team average 720, five-per-team (add 5x10=50) yields 770,
A league may rule a negative
handicap be used, if any Average Exceeds the Basis
such as 80%, 90%,
Tables filelinks for USBC & others
sets percentage at 100%, unless otherwise provided by league rule.
Percentage) Many years ago, ABC and
WIBC analyzed statistics for a four-year
the impact of
the team points accumulated towards
winning the league championship.
The study included numerous leagues sanctioned at that time -
women's and mixed formats.
The results showed that, even at 100%, the higher average
bowlers have a decided edge.
A handicap of 116% was found to be needed to even out the
competition to a 50-50 probability.
Team with Average Below
Median in the League
Team with Average Above
Median in the League
0 out of 100
out of 100
0 out of 100
out of 100
0 out of 100
out of 100
6 out of 100
94 out of 100
89 out of 100
76 out of 100
70 out of 100
has this Handicap Information (See Myths #21, #22, #23)
(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
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.
handicap tool that should help keep all teams involved .... is not
being fully utilized.
Rules & CAQ 118a to 118e): Various aspects to
Guidelines for Entering
Averages (as noted in the Operations Handbook - Sample Adult
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,
on 21 games or more.
3. Current average from another USBC league, based on 21 games
4. Bowlers who do not have a qualifying average outlined in
establish average the first time they bowl.
BOWLING LEAGUE RECORD
(also called a bowling Recap
Sheetfor each scheduled session)
show how to fill it out:handicaps used,
scores & how
As games progress,
boxes indicate scratch and handicap scores to the current
HANDICAP METHODS (Individual / Team / Combinations)
"FOUND TO BE USED BY LEAGUES:"
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.
handicapping is used in many magazine articles for examples, because it
Best means to get everyone involved in
all aspects and the fun
opportunities for teams & individuals to get recognition for their
The team handicap is then calculated
as the sum of the
individual members' handicaps.
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:
of handicap based on "Difference
Between Team Averages" of
"Team and Opponent"
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
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
deserving recognition are overlooked.
Team Games and
Total Series Scores: Will
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,
"Team & Opponent" Averages for Points &
The true team handicaps
would best be calculated by adding the individual handicaps
for a team total.
The WORST 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.
of HANDICAP LEAGUES"only
using scratch scores" (NO handicap scores posted).
Some handicap leagues only post "scratch
scores" for team high
This severely 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
of this issue: All special prizes should be
awarded on a handicap basis.
Leagues can add
prizes, if covered by league
rules or prize
(Use the recommended handicap methods
where every team has
handicap for every game and series.)
YOUTH LEAGUES(that do not use the recommended
YOUTH HANDICAP LEAGUES also are
questionable practices, including:
using "team and opponent" or "difference between team
only posting "scratch scores" for team
series honors in their HANDICAP leagues.
Kids trust that their leaders are
teaching them correct bowling
procedures, but miss that opportunity.
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.
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
a game 100 pins-over-their-average, for this example.
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.
POA Needed for
"League High 853"
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
receive a handicap for every game, during the league schedule. League
scores are just
like a tournament.
Important NOTE Rule100g - CAQ (100g /3) average
is Not Recommended.
(A "pins over
average" POA tournament is not a different format, it
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:
Handicap Explanation Sheet (PDF format 2
to aid league
discussion of methods.
Rule 122: Rules shall be adopted at a meeting
to the start of the league schedule by the
board of directors, unless the league elects to have its
by the membership.
After the league schedule begins, a change in the league rules and
prize list can be made
only with the written consent of every team captain or designated
(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:
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 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
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
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 & understand.
Team Positions: Points Won/Lost/Unearned. (Scratch&Handicap Total
Highest Game & Series)
Members: Bowler's Average (+Handicap), Number of
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,
An interesting singles format was the Peterson
Points system. In
addition to points awarded for winning
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
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.
used a Division format that also awarded points for both Scratch &
Comments about historical items (including recap
possible changes "Bowling
of the Future"
REFERENCES FOR INFORMATION regarding 2016-2017 Season: You can obtain
materials to sanction (USBC
new term is certify/certified) your league
membership cards) from local representatives. If there is no
posted on the
bulletin boards, ask someone
on the bowling center staff, or contact USBC at 800-514-BOWL
.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:
(2016-2017 Version) (PDF has
(print version is no longer available)
Contents (Page 2) show topics - - (as indicated below)
Page 3 -
Page 4 -
Successful Leagues (See Handicaps
comments on Page 9)
& ResourcesUnited States Bowling
Congress (USBC) information links, items such as,
Successful Leagues, Directors Duties,
Rules Samples for Adults or Youths, Guides
for League Issues, Mythbusters,
Sport Bowling Information (Resource Center) Unique
League Formats (Survivor, etc), Guides for Officers
Treasurer), League Officer
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 email@example.com.
Other files for
categories that have been reported. State
Oddities for Honor Scores and Miscellaneous Categories.
A Member (Must Login for Links:
find Memberships, League Averages, Achievements)
averages here, NOT TO BE USED as official. Verify Official
- - - (1997 book by Charles Martin, PhD)
ISBN 1-57034-060-9 (pbk)
Covers numerous Competition
aspects. (Find Bowling's Team
Concept in preferred search engine.) International
Museum and Hall of Fame at Industry's Joint Campus, Arlington
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
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
1989 - - USA Bowling - United States Tenpin Bowling Federation (USTBF)
1986 - - Team USA
1982 - - Young America Bowling Alliance (YABA) combined AJBC, YBA and
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) 4666
2013-14 Season ( found at
3400+ BPAA centers (2014 BPAA Member Guide) 11.) " StatCounter.com
have been a great tool
for adding content to this
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
(over 8 Seasons of
USBC administration): 88.34% viewers located in the
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,
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).
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,
checked over many years, tended to be
consistent, with only slight
You can see: Statistics
regarding bowling search keywords
(File Stats to 03-31-2013)
Now, some search engines
block showing keywords
(Earlier data was more revealing.)
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
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
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