Saturday, February 28, 2009

Are We Improving at Bowling? The Long Term View

This post will be a trip down memory lane. The Bowl Movements were born in December of 2006 as the brainchild of Daniele. The original Movements included Johnebob, T-Bone, JD, and the Big Z. Although I don't remember it this way, according to the USBC, I led the team with a 135 average, and Z was 2nd with a 134. How Z managed to do this is unclear. When he approached the foul line to throw the ball, he looked like a drunk bum stumbling into an alley. Baby Johnny managed a 128, and JD finished the season with a 118. See Canadian, you've got nothing to be ashamed of.

The 2nd season was characterized by turmoil after the loss of Zink. We struggled to find a consistent 4th with a never ending cast of characters who we scraped up out of the gutters of Laramie (Woody, Becker, Timmy, and Jeremiah). On top of that, I sustained a knee injury which kept me out of competition for at least six weeks. JD and JL carried the team that season in every way.

With the 3rd season, we found the Canadian, who has provided a steady and much needed presence occupying the three spot in the lineup. During the first two seasons, we only bowled the 2nd halves. This season, we have bowled both the fall and spring rounds. We have never placed very highly in the league, always in the bottom half. Hopefully this spring will be the emergence of the Bowl Movements as we currently sit in 2nd. After all, we have gone from being enigmas in the league to 10% of the Bernaski rollers actually knowing our names. We have seen at least three teams leave the league. We are now a firm fixture in the Lanes of Laramie and even placed 13th in the City Championships by handicap. We have improved. There is no doubt. In this post, I describe that improvement. I begin with the BIA, the last thirteen weeks of data. Then, I look at the last two years.

The graph to the left shows the progression of our league averages over the last thirteen weeks. The City Championships did not count toward our averages, so those data are left out. At the start of the BIA, JD led the team with a 150 average, but despite a stellar start to the season, he has struggled lately and has dropped to a 145. Johnebob's average has grown from a 149 to a 153 where he has been sitting for many weeks. I have experienced something of a epiphany over this time period, adding ten pins to my average from a 134 to a 144. Geoff bottomed out in the middle of December with a 124 and maxed out toward at the end of January at 129. He currently sits at 127. As a team, our average has grown from 139.75 to 142.25. We have been slowly improving overall.

Over the short term, improvement seems to be slow and steady for the team as whole, but when we look at it over the last three seasons, it is remarkably consistent. First, let's look at bowler averages for the four half seasons of the Bowl Movements's existence.

The graph to the right was mostly culled from data housed in the Great Archives of the USBC. The most recent average is calculated for the first eight weeks of the 2nd half of the Bernaski. Obviously, we don't have much data for Gee-Off, but for the original Movements, we can examine improvement directly. What should be immediately apparent is that Johnebob just keeps getting better. From humble beginnings, he has grown to be a good bowler. For the 2nd half of the season, he has a 160 average, something that would have seemed impossible two years ago. Likewise, JD has added nearly 27 pins to his average since the 07 season, although he has plateaued of late. I started well but declined last spring. I'd like to blame my injury and the adoption of the Green Lady, but let's face it, I had a CRAPPY season. This year, especially lately, I have been going nuts, and I have averaged 157 for the 2nd half. For his first season, Prince Edward Islander is right where he should be, and it should be clear where he is going. Now the part that is truly remarkable.

If we examine the team average for Joe, John, and I, an incredibly steady rate of improvement is evident. Looking at the graph to the left, it may appear that we have been improving rapidly in recent weeks, and we have. However, if we look at the growth of our team average by half season, our rate of improvement is remarkably constant. In fact, our team average has increased 8 to 10 pins for every half season we bowl. This makes me wonder what we would be bowling now if we had bowled the full 06-07 and 07-08 seasons. This should also give Geoff a clear idea of what to expect for the future. As bad as we are at bowling, we are a hell of a lot better than we were two years ago, and we should just keep getting better.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.