Large or small leagues?

Posted by: Dennis Michael

Large or small leagues? - 04/21/14 10:48 PM

Just taking a poll of what others think about the size of leagues.

I bowl in a 20 lane house in a 16 team league. I also bowl in a 40 lane house in a 34 team league.

The 16 team league is much more competitive, especially given the fact that you are guaranteed to bowl each other team at least twice. The 34 team league used to be competitive from top to bottom when is was smaller. but, the house has added teams to grow it to 34 by closing the Tues and the Wed Mens leagues and combining them with the Mon Mens league. This league is now so large, that we haven't even bowled against every team, and won't. We bowled against 1 team 3 times (including a position night), and have not bowled against 4 other teams at all.

Also, the type of teams that have been added don't measure up to the competitive nature of the original league. Some teams that have been added don't belong with the others because they carry a huge handicap and often, can't compete. They get upset, losing weekly, and end up quitting. This has happened the last 3 years where many bottom teams just don't come back.

It doesn't help that the payout is skewed to the winners and the losers go home broke. But, that's the way it is.

The 16 team league is competitive, but also, the payout is pretty flat, and many teams come back year after year.

So, which do you prefer? A league where you bowl every team twice or a league where you don't bowl all teams?
Posted by: champ

Re: Large or small leagues? - 04/22/14 12:03 AM

The best leagues I've bowled in have been 12 to 16 teams. With fewer teams, you get to know each other, get to see each other, you get to watch big scores happen, and pat your friends on the back when they do well. The teams bowl each other more often developing rivalries within the league. They can still attract enough good bowlers to have side action, but it isn't a big enough environment to have too many intolerable egos.

The bigger leagues I've bowled in (as many as 40 teams) just seem impersonal. Technically they've been more competitive as there is much more money in the pot, and they draw hoards of "top" bowlers from the city, but in general I don't like the environment.

I'll also say I vastly prefer trios leagues to any other team size, but they aren't too common around here.
Posted by: Joe Bowler

Re: Large or small leagues? - 04/22/14 06:24 AM

I really like how my PBAX scratch trios league is set up. There are currently 20 teams, but the bowling center could accommodate more. The 32-week season is divided into 4 quarters. The standings start over each quarter, each with its own payout. The patterns change every 2 weeks, and each second week is a position round.

Some teams might not get to bowl other teams. However, with all of the position rounds, it is very competitive. Top teams have to bowl other top teams to maintain their position. Each team seems to find its own level of competition and face those teams more frequently, so rivalries do develop. Different patterns give different bowlers an advantage, so it gets interesting.

The league could reduce the number of teams by going to 4 players per team, but my preference is to keep it 3 bowlers x 4 games.
Posted by: SteveH

Re: Large or small leagues? - 04/22/14 07:12 AM

Our mixed leagues are 13 teams and 20 teams. Both leagues were organized decades ago, and many have been there since day one. Our 20-team league expanded from 16 teams last year, mostly due to a center closing last May. From age 17 to almost 80, we have it all. In the smaller league we bowl every team twice, plus two position rounds.

No question the 13 team league is closer, and you get to know people a lot easier. I'd agree with Dennis that expansion leads to teams that really don;t belong there per se, and they usually drop off. But we added a team this year in the larger league, and they've already sewn up first place, same with the 13 team league.

I'd like to get more consistent this summer and join a more competitive men's league. Get to meet more bowlers, and have a more competitive league. I'm certainly not at their level bowling-wise, and I'm double many of their ages. But I'd like to have one week of more serious bowling during the week next year, and they lay down more oil volume for them as well.
Posted by: Calvin Pistorio

Re: Large or small leagues? - 04/22/14 09:13 AM

I've been bowling in a league for the last 6 years that has had no less than 44 teams with several years of taking up the full 48 lanes. The last few years we went from 4 position rounds to 6. We usually end up bowling against some teams 2 or 3 times due to the position rounds, most teams once and a few not all and that would happen even without the positions rounds. Those teams we do bowl multiple times we do develop a friendly rivalry with. Now this league came about by the unofficial merger between two leagues, one was around 30 teams and the other 14 or so.

Prior to that most of the leagues I bowled in were probably in the 10-16 team range. Normally bowled each team twice at the minimum and some three or four times with position rounds.

I actually prefer the smaller leagues. The average gap disparity usually isn't huge. There might be 100 pins between the highest and lowest average team but most of the teams are normally close. These were 4 person mixed leagues. In the huge league, which is 5 person mixed, I am in now there are several teams averaging in the 700s and several others in the upper 1000s. With the present handicap those teams at the low end of the average range just can't compete in that large of a league. The prize fund isn't really much different than the smaller leagues at least overall for first or last, it's the step down to that point that is different.
Posted by: Dennis Michael

Re: Large or small leagues? - 04/22/14 09:52 AM

When I joined the Mon league, there were 2 rules that intrigued me.

1. The 4-man team average was capped at 850. So, if a team had a 220 bowler, they had to have a 170/80 bowler on the team to bowl. This kept the team average fairly close.

2. There was a handicap maximum. That specifically was that no bowler could have a handicap that was higher then a 165 average bowler. Again, the intent was to keep the league competitive and as even as possible.

When the house merged two other leagues into this one, both rules were abandoned to accommodate the other leagues. And, the league Officers went along with the house rather then maintain their integrity.

So, we went from a 24 team league, added a 12 team Wed league, and an 8 team Tues league, plus some other teams from centers who have closed.

We now have 34 teams, so many teams have disappeared.

Sure, it was easier on the Desk staff to run a larger league. But, in doing so, they chased bowlers away.
Posted by: Fin09

Re: Large or small leagues? - 04/22/14 06:16 PM

I've always liked to bowl in the biggest leagues possible, since those normally have the biggest prize funds. The key is to get the prize fund voted on early enough that many teams still feel as though they have a shot to finish high enough to bring some money home. Wait too long, and the league starts to settle into where everyone is going to be for the season. Then, the prize fund that pays last the most gets voted in, and the teams fighting for first get screwed.
Bigger leagues have the opportunity to try different formats. This year, we decided to divide our Wednesday league into 3 divisions of 8-9 teams. The league is divided into 3 12 week thirds, so each division will have a winner each third. This means that at the end of 36 weeks, three teams from each division plus a wild card from each (team from each division with the highest overall win total that didn't win a third) go to a rolloff. Each division will then send a team to the overall rolloff, plus the overall win leader for the league (assuming they didn't already win their spot into the final rolloff- if they did, the spot goes to the next team on the win total list that didn't win their division rolloff). Those 4 teams then roll 3 games for the league title, and $10,000 ($2500/man).
Can't really do that with 10-12 teams.
Posted by: Dennis Michael

Re: Large or small leagues? - 04/23/14 07:37 AM

I have decided not to bowl in my larger league in the Fall. Unless, they adopt some format changes like have been suggested.

First, I suggested they split the league in half and run 2 separate leagues on the same night.

Second, if they keep the total number of teams, then a division split should be considered. But, bowl the teams in your division twice, and fill with other teams randomly through the year. Similar to how the NFL is set up, with 4 division and a playoff at the end of year.

If the format changes, I may reconsider and join.
Posted by: Doogie

Re: Large or small leagues? - 05/22/14 03:47 PM

I prefer the smaller leagues. I have bowled in leagues with as little as 6 teams. (six lane house) and as big of leagues as 31 teams. (32 lane house) While I like being around the better bowlers on the larger league I like knowing the people on the other teams more.
Posted by: Smooth Stroker

Re: Large or small leagues? - 05/22/14 11:21 PM

I've done both big and small. I've done leagues that take up the whole house or close to it, and now I'm in the smallest league I've ever done. I'm in a 16 team trio's league. I like the trios league the most. I like the size of the league. I like the faster time bowling in a trios league. I like the camaraderie of the smaller league. This league isn't looking to become a huge league so they limit the size of the league. I've done cut throat. I prefer to save that for tournaments.
Posted by: BOSStull

Re: Large or small leagues? - 05/24/14 09:38 AM

Very happy with my 26 team league. It is more the quality of the league than the size. Majority of the teams return year after year so over time I know most of the bowlers.