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Thread: Figuring progressive handicap

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bltuneup View Post
    Really? After reading what I just wrote, you still believe capping handicap is interesting and a ton of people would love it? Given my example of what capping handicap does, please explain why anyone would ever consider this good. Do you think that people here despise bad bowlers and want to make certain they will fail miserably if they ever have the gall to join a league?
    I never said I agreed with capping handicap, I just know a lot of people in our bowling center that are anti-handicap and would totally get behind capping handicap. I think a more effective solution is to cap the team average from the beginning to prevent "stacked" teams. For example, on a social 4-person team league there could be a team cap of 825. It doesn't totally solve the problem but it would prevent four 215 average bowlers from coming in on the same team and dominating the league from the outset. Obviously, the cap can be adjusted based on the typical participants of the league. Higher average bowlers are more likely to bowl their average (or higher) consistently. Lower average bowlers are not as likely to bowl way over their average on a consistent basis, which makes it tough for them to overcome stacked teams.

    There are also a lot of bowlers that freely admit to keeping their averages down so they receive handicap. They feel it is the only way they can compete on handicap leagues against lower average teams. For the first few weeks, they bowl way below their ability. They get a strong start to the season with 9-12 wins, and then "manage" their average as the season progresses. Is it an ethical strategy? Well, no. But unfortunately it is being done and with regularity.

    Many leagues in our center are now requiring handicap for the first 3 weeks of league to be based off of your highest house average, or highest sanctioned average if you do not have a house average. This is to discourage bowlers from keeping scores low at the beginning. Then after 9 games, handicap is based on the average the bowler has established at that point in that league. It doesn't necessarily discourage "average management", but it is a valiant attempt.

    I prefer scratch leagues, just because the handicap issue is kind of frustrating. I also find I bowl better on scratch leagues as it forces a bowler to compete at a higher level since it is truly score vs. score and there is no handicap to rely on to eek out a win. You either win or you don't.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryster View Post
    I never said I agreed with capping handicap, I just know a lot of people in our bowling center that are anti-handicap and would totally get behind capping handicap. I think a more effective solution is to cap the team average from the beginning to prevent "stacked" teams. For example, on a social 4-person team league there could be a team cap of 825. It doesn't totally solve the problem but it would prevent four 215 average bowlers from coming in on the same team and dominating the league from the outset. Obviously, the cap can be adjusted based on the typical participants of the league. Higher average bowlers are more likely to bowl their average (or higher) consistently. Lower average bowlers are not as likely to bowl way over their average on a consistent basis, which makes it tough for them to overcome stacked teams.

    There are also a lot of bowlers that freely admit to keeping their averages down so they receive handicap. They feel it is the only way they can compete on handicap leagues against lower average teams. For the first few weeks, they bowl way below their ability. They get a strong start to the season with 9-12 wins, and then "manage" their average as the season progresses. Is it an ethical strategy? Well, no. But unfortunately it is being done and with regularity.

    Many leagues in our center are now requiring handicap for the first 3 weeks of league to be based off of your highest house average, or highest sanctioned average if you do not have a house average. This is to discourage bowlers from keeping scores low at the beginning. Then after 9 games, handicap is based on the average the bowler has established at that point in that league. It doesn't necessarily discourage "average management", but it is a valiant attempt.

    I prefer scratch leagues, just because the handicap issue is kind of frustrating. I also find I bowl better on scratch leagues as it forces a bowler to compete at a higher level since it is truly score vs. score and there is no handicap to rely on to eek out a win. You either win or you don't.
    Our league uses the highest average from the previous season for the first 3 weeks also. I think I like the idea of limiting a team average. We have a couple of teams that are stacked. Not that we can't beat them we just know we have to bowl our best against them.
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  3. #23
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    Last year in our fall league the top average team had a combined team average of 1059 (5 man teams). 2nd highest was 1037. 3rd was 1043. After that there is a decent gap to 4th at 976. Our team was 935 and we were 5th highest of 16 teams.
    The highest average team was 9th place of the 16 teams, 2nd highest was 11th place, 3rd highest was 16th of 16, 4th highest was 15th of 16, and we were 12th of 16. The 1st and 2nd place teams were roughly about 10th or so highest averages. These are all taken from the 3/10 sheets, the last day before we shut down for COVID.

    Didn't seem too bad. Lower average teams are still competitive in our league.
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  4. #24
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    In our center's largest handicap league, just prior to shutdown, there were 30 teams broken out in to four divisions. Div 1 Team with the 2nd highest team average was leading Div 1. Div 2 team with highest team average was leading Div 2, and had already won their Division in the first half of the season. Division 3 team with the highest team average was leading Div 3. Div 4 team with the 3rd highest average was leading Div 4.

  5. #25
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    Here is a screenshot that shows the standings and the total scratch pins and total handicap.

    The top average team is Team FEI, then Sims Lanes, then Mikes Pro Shop, then Hill House, then my team Sims Bar. You can get a good idea of who the better teams are by looking at the total scratch pins and then see what place they are in.

    EDIT: just realized that total wins are in there too so you can see where each team stood for the whole season. Looks like the team with the most wins at that point was Sims Lanes who was the 2nd highest average. The 2nd most wins was Marshall who has a pretty low average. 3rd was a tie between 2 lower average teams also.

    Last edited by boatman37; 09-15-2020 at 12:24 PM.
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  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by bltuneup View Post
    Really? After reading what I just wrote, you still believe capping handicap is interesting and a ton of people would love it? Given my example of what capping handicap does, please explain why anyone would ever consider this good. Do you think that people here despise bad bowlers and want to make certain they will fail miserably if they ever have the gall to join a league?
    There are people, probably not too many in this forum, who do despise unskilled bowlers. A while back I came across an ABC rule book from the late sixties. One of the suggestions was that leagues should be formed of bowlers with similar skill levels. For example, bowlers with averages less than 140 would be in a beginners leagues, 140 - 180 might be the next league and the top league might be 180 and up. I have never seen leagues set up like this. There just don't seem to be enough people interested in league bowling to do this. What happens is that you have low level bowlers thrown into the mix with bowlers who can average quite high on the typical house shot. Cap or no cap, the high average bowlers freak out when they see that they're spotting someone 80 pins, or that their team is spotting the other team 150. If a league is set up with a suitable Team Average cap a cap on the handicap is not necessary.

    Where I can see the point of a cap on handicap would be an open tournament. Say a new bowler enters with a 120 average over the first 7 weeks of the season. He or she is a newbie who was shooting 80s and 90s the first couple weeks but is now shooting 130s and 140s fairly often. Our local association tournament uses 100% based on 240. If our newbie has a real good day and flirts with 200 they might very well walk off with the title.

    The real questions are; What is fair? And do we really want fair?
    John

  7. #27
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    Just got home from league. I pre-bowled because I was supposed to be out of town so end up being a cheerleader tonight. We were spotted 62 pins a game tonight. The other team isn't a great team, probably mid-pack. First game we were about 50 over our average and lost by 44. Their one bowler had a 198 average and took a 300 into the 10th and opened for a 267. Game 2 we won by 5 and were about 40 over our average. Game 3 we lost by about 65 but we were below our average. I was 35 below my average so it was a tough game.

    What was frustrating was we were over our average by quite a bit the first 2 games but still lost the first game and barely won the 2nd. What was odd was we were about 50 over our average and the other team only about 40 over their average in game 1 but we still lost by over 40. I think the reason is we are still using last years averages so it made it harder.
    Arsenal "15# Brunswick Uppercut" "15# Brunswick Ignitor" "15# Radical Squatch Pearl" "15# Radical Conspiracy" "15# Brunswick Kingpin" "15# Hammer Black Widow Gold" "15# Brunswick Rhino Black Pearl" "15# Brunswick T-Zone"
    Rev Rate about 325 @ about 16 MPH at the pins* High Game: 279 - High Series: 657
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  8. #28
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    A few comments from the posts:

    (A) You have to be really careful about capping averages for a team - I am not against the concept and bowled in a capped league but what ended up happening is that teams were built around that cap number and then in subsequent years some of the more influential teams were able to get this moved up. What then occurred was a mad dash to restructure teams to better align with this average cap and pushed out the equivalent of 4 teams of bowlers in the first run and then ultimately killed the league in three (it was a 40 team full league with a waiting list at the start of this).

    (B) The average % is a direct result of people getting caught up with adding pins to an already high score. In most handicap leagues I have bowled in my team has been the high average team in the league - this is just a function of who my friends are and the day we are all available, not a goal to stack a team. In almost all situations I have been fighting to increase the average percentage up to 100% and in other situations have had to try and fight to raise the score that handicaps are based off of. Every time I have made this argument (and I have gone as far as proving out the math on dry erase boards) the response is immediately "you just want to have handicap to make it easier for you to win". It really is a simple concept when you look at the numbers but people are stuck on the fear of high average bowler getting handicap.

    (C) The only place the 100% vs. 85% argument really works in my opinion is when considering the team that has multiple bowlers who have never bowled before. This would be someone who comes into the league, establishes at 80 and then starts shooting 120 consistently. Calculating off of 220, this bowler would have either 140 or 119 handicap. Taking two bowlers at the 100% (handicapped and scratch) - the scratch bowlers in the 100% have to shoot 260 or 239 in the 85%. The two observations, is first a 239 for a 220 bowler is not anything spectacular while the handicapped bowler would be shooting 50% over average - secondly, if the sacrifice is I lose a game to make it more enjoyable for the newer bowler that is not a problem (look at the league environment Pre-COVID...it wasn't great, we need more bowlers). Also, if you are complaining due to the potential earnings you miss out on in a mom and pops league then you should either join a league that better matches your financial goals or find something else to gamble your money.
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  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Anderson View Post
    There are people, probably not too many in this forum, who do despise unskilled bowlers. A while back I came across an ABC rule book from the late sixties. One of the suggestions was that leagues should be formed of bowlers with similar skill levels. For example, bowlers with averages less than 140 would be in a beginners leagues, 140 - 180 might be the next league and the top league might be 180 and up. I have never seen leagues set up like this. There just don't seem to be enough people interested in league bowling to do this. What happens is that you have low level bowlers thrown into the mix with bowlers who can average quite high on the typical house shot. Cap or no cap, the high average bowlers freak out when they see that they're spotting someone 80 pins, or that their team is spotting the other team 150. If a league is set up with a suitable Team Average cap a cap on the handicap is not necessary.

    Where I can see the point of a cap on handicap would be an open tournament. Say a new bowler enters with a 120 average over the first 7 weeks of the season. He or she is a newbie who was shooting 80s and 90s the first couple weeks but is now shooting 130s and 140s fairly often. Our local association tournament uses 100% based on 240. If our newbie has a real good day and flirts with 200 they might very well walk off with the title.

    The real questions are; What is fair? And do we really want fair?
    I have been a long-time proponent of the USBC mandating this type of league format.

    NOTE: I have also been the ONLY person who has been a proponent of this.

    The reason is quite simple. Handicap is HORRIBLE and it really ruins the fun of sports wherever it is used. Thats why its not used in any professional sports. It's really only used in golf and bowling...two sports that have trouble fielding large enough leagues without it.

    IF we were to get rid of handicap....if the USBC were to MANDATE it...it would look something like this:

    - ALL USBC sanctioned leagues would be scratch.

    Division A: 191 and above
    Division B: 176-190
    Division C: 150-175
    Division D: 0-149

    - Each division would bowl on harder patterns. Division D would bowl on the easiest USBC pattern (although, still a pattern that is tougher than a THS shot). Division B would bowl on the toughest USBC pattern. Division A would bowl on challenge or sport patterns and their averages would be adjusted accordingly.

    - For logistics reasons (carpooling), a person from one division lower MAY join one division higher...but there is no handicap (so, they would be a competitive liability). However, no player may join a division 2 levels higher and no player may join a division lower.

    - A player is moved up/down divisions after a 3-year composite USBC average shows their average has changed. In other words, a lucky season doesn't bump you up a division and a bad season (or sandbagging season) doesn't bump you down.

    - Every USBC sanctioned center must offer at least enough leagues to accommodate one league per division that would take up the entire center's lanes on one night.

    - Every PBA bowler must bowl in at least one Division A USBC sanctioned league to remain eligible to bowl PBA events.

    The advantage to this system, once implemented, is that everyone is bowling against people that bowl like they do. They are all learning together. It's an opportunity for people to "just have fun" without going up against serious bowlers that get annoyed every time someone makes a noise. It also allows serious bowlers to watch other serious bowlers and work on skills like reading other bowlers shots and ball reactions...rather than watch some 99 average girl throw a house ball up the middle of the lane and do a funky chicken dance because she just beat her previous high score of 123. And guess what? NO SANDBAGGING! All the 200 average whiners that claim they only lose because everyone sandbags...well, can't sandbag in a scratch league...so go bowl and shut up.

    And it offers a lot of possibilities. D Divisions could offer beginner clinics to interested bowlers to help them get to that next level (for bowlers that want to do that). Coaches could target B and C divisions where there are obviously bowlers who aren't just "messing around" and probably would like to eventually get to that A Division. And it mandates patterns...it brings scoring down...but in a way that makes sense. Better bowlers should be challenging themselves. That doesn't mean you make weekend warriors bowl on a sport pattern. Divisions allow you to separate those folks out.

    Will this ever happen? Never...in a million, zillion years...ever.
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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aslan View Post
    I have been a long-time proponent of the USBC mandating this type of league format.

    NOTE: I have also been the ONLY person who has been a proponent of this.

    The reason is quite simple. Handicap is HORRIBLE and it really ruins the fun of sports wherever it is used. Thats why its not used in any professional sports. It's really only used in golf and bowling...two sports that have trouble fielding large enough leagues without it.

    IF we were to get rid of handicap....if the USBC were to MANDATE it...it would look something like this:

    - ALL USBC sanctioned leagues would be scratch.

    Division A: 191 and above
    Division B: 176-190
    Division C: 150-175
    Division D: 0-149

    - Each division would bowl on harder patterns. Division D would bowl on the easiest USBC pattern (although, still a pattern that is tougher than a THS shot). Division B would bowl on the toughest USBC pattern. Division A would bowl on challenge or sport patterns and their averages would be adjusted accordingly.

    - For logistics reasons (carpooling), a person from one division lower MAY join one division higher...but there is no handicap (so, they would be a competitive liability). However, no player may join a division 2 levels higher and no player may join a division lower.

    - A player is moved up/down divisions after a 3-year composite USBC average shows their average has changed. In other words, a lucky season doesn't bump you up a division and a bad season (or sandbagging season) doesn't bump you down.

    - Every USBC sanctioned center must offer at least enough leagues to accommodate one league per division that would take up the entire center's lanes on one night.

    - Every PBA bowler must bowl in at least one Division A USBC sanctioned league to remain eligible to bowl PBA events.

    The advantage to this system, once implemented, is that everyone is bowling against people that bowl like they do. They are all learning together. It's an opportunity for people to "just have fun" without going up against serious bowlers that get annoyed every time someone makes a noise. It also allows serious bowlers to watch other serious bowlers and work on skills like reading other bowlers shots and ball reactions...rather than watch some 99 average girl throw a house ball up the middle of the lane and do a funky chicken dance because she just beat her previous high score of 123. And guess what? NO SANDBAGGING! All the 200 average whiners that claim they only lose because everyone sandbags...well, can't sandbag in a scratch league...so go bowl and shut up.

    And it offers a lot of possibilities. D Divisions could offer beginner clinics to interested bowlers to help them get to that next level (for bowlers that want to do that). Coaches could target B and C divisions where there are obviously bowlers who aren't just "messing around" and probably would like to eventually get to that A Division. And it mandates patterns...it brings scoring down...but in a way that makes sense. Better bowlers should be challenging themselves. That doesn't mean you make weekend warriors bowl on a sport pattern. Divisions allow you to separate those folks out.

    Will this ever happen? Never...in a million, zillion years...ever.
    I agree that this isn't very likely, but I do like your idea. The only exception is that I would let divisions overlap a bit. D would stay the same. C would run from 140-180. B would cover 170-205, and A would be 195 and up.
    John

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