Thursday, January 1, 2009

Team Stats: The First Five Weeks

Due to holiday travels, we have not bowled in league for sixteen days. My wrist is getting limp, and my ball is itching for some lane grease, like a junkie with a jones. In four days, we return to Bernaski competition. It will be interesting to see if how the hiatus has affected our game. In the meantime, I thought it would be worthwhile to summarize our performance over the first five weeks of the BIA (Bowling Information Age).

Average
It should be no surprise that John leads the team in average over this time period. Over 12 games, he has averaged a fat 153.9 pins, slightly over his average of 149 coming into this period. What may be surprising is that Todd is not far behind with 152.3 pins, approximately 15 pins over his average. It seems that adoption of the spin is paying dividends, as the Green Lady has been a pin killer. The division between the haves and have nots is quite clear, the latter being Geoff with 134.2 pins, and Joe with 133.9. As has been thoroughly documented, Joe has been struggling, but Geoff's average has generally crept upward. His official league average is likely to crest the 130 mark in short order.

Consistency
Consistency is measured as the standard deviation of game scores. Here's how to interpret standard deviation: roughly 2/3 of scores fall within one standard deviation of the average. The lower the standard deviation, the more consistent a bowler's scores. We all have very similar levels of consistency, shown as the error bars in the graph below. To date, Todd leads with a standard deviation of 18.5 pins, meaning that I have had relatively consistently high scores. Joe is 2nd on the team with 21.8 pins. While consistency is a good thing, for our cleanup man, this means that not only has Joe's average been low lately, but also that his game scores have been consistently low. John ranks third in this category 22.5 pins, and Geoff is last with 23.1 pins, likely attributable to this being his first season on the tour.
Marks
John has averaged a stellar 6.9 marks per game followed by Todd with 5.9. Geoff is marking slightly more than half of his frames with 5.1 per game, and Joe rides the caboose with 4.9.

Strikes
Todd leads in strikes per game with 3.13, but John is only slightly behind at 3.07 per game. Joe's first toss has brought him an average of 2.4 strikes per game, while Geoff records on average 2.0 strikes per 10 frames. It is tempting to postulate that this can be attributed to throwing a straight ball, but at this point it is little more than speculation.

Spares
John is the team leader in spares with 3.9 per game, but perhaps surprisingly Geoff is second with 3.1. It should be noted, however, that because Geoff throws the fewest strikes, he also has the most opportunities to pick up spares. Todd and Joe are last in this category with 2.8 and 2.5 spares per game, respectively.

Pickup Percentage
John heard the call for a 50% pickup percentage and quickly pulled his average above 50. He currently stands at 52.3% of spare chances converted. He dominates in this category with Todd at a distant 2nd with 40.0%. Geoff's relatively high spare mark can be in part attributed a 38.2% pickup rate, and Joe finds himself in the basement once again at 31.9%.

Strike:Spare Ratio
Obviously, strikes bring higher scores than spares, and marks are better than open frames. The ratio of strikes to spares speaks in part to whether a bowler throws a better first or second ball. On the team, Todd leads this category with a ratio of 1.12, meaning that I have recorded more strikes than spares over the first five weeks. Joe is second a ratio of 0.97. John comes in third at 0.79, a relatively low mark, which can be attributed to his uncanny ability to convert spares in comparison to the rest of us. Geoff is last at 0.64. He throws relatively few strikes but picks up a fair number of spares.

Single Pin Conversion %
There are few things more frustrating than looking at a single pin at the end of the lanes and throwing an air ball. Two things may be worse... missing a putt from inside 3 feet and hauling in a fish to the edge of the lake only to have it flop off. John has been converting single pin spares at a respectable 57.1% clip, speaking to the accuracy of his 2nd throw. Joe is 2nd in this category at 48.5%. Geoff comes in third at 44.4%, and Todd is easily the worst, converting only 34.5% of single pin chances.

A few more thoughts
It is difficult to know to what extent these data are representative of our respective strengths and weaknesses. My hunch is that much more data (say 10 weeks worth) is needed to truly gauge where we stand on many of these stats. There are a couple of anecdotal observations that suggest that these numbers will change dramatically. Since we began recording these data, Todd has had something of a fluorescence, Joe has struggled, and Geoff and John have shown slow improvement. Given our largely undocumented history, I expect to see Joe making a move upward, and Todd slipping a bit, but only time will tell.

As for the big questions on everyone's minds... are we improving as a team, and does beer consumption positively or negatively or not at all affect scores, we will probably have to wait another five weeks to accumulate the data to definitively answer these pressing issues. Stay tuned...

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