Can anyone bowl Survivor?

Absolutely! Here is a world where everyone has a chance to compete with bowlers of their same skill level on a challenging lane condition. All that matters in the first half of the league is how bowlers compare to the other bowlers of their average tribe. Any bowler of any average is welcome!


In the second half, drafted teams compete. Every bowler has a fair and equal chance at the prize fund offered in the second half since these teams are, by their nature, balanced.


I noticed that Sport Bowling is part of this league format. Does that mean Sport conditions will be used? You bet! This is not your cozy, comfortable soft standard league condition. This is roughing it. What else would you expect from Survivor?


Survivor league format example.


Survivor is a short-season (14 weeks) multi-format bowling competition on USBC Sport Bowling conditions. There are no restrictions on averages in Survivor; all bowers are welcome. There will be 10 minutes of warm-up.


  • Survivor will bowl on USBC Sport Bowling conditions, so bowlers will be eligible for all Sport Bowling awards. There can be many different lane conditions used during Survivor or just one. The two tournaments will have one pattern, and each six-week session can have multiple conditions (Three weeks each).
  • Bowlers use a composite entering average of all their leagues bowled last year. This entering average will be used for the first three games bowled, and weighted at 9 games. After bowlers complete their first three games, those series will be used, and six games at their entering averages will constitute their nine-game averages. This continues until bowlers have nine games bowled. This will allow averages to begin to adjust after three games, and not have a sudden move when bowlers have nine games in Survivor.
  • Individual matches are bowled between bowlers in each average tribe. Four points are available each night; one point per game and one point for totals on each individual match.
  • Team Survivor will use a match play points system in which each game is worth two points, team totals three and each individual match and individual totals worth one point. Total points available each match is 21 points.
  • For the first six-week format, bowlers will be divided into four tribes each week based on their current averages in Survivor. These tribes – named for the suits in a deck of playing cards – will have bowlers ranked based on their winning percentages. In the case of a tie in winning percentage, the bowler with the most games bowled will have the higher rank. If a tie still exists, the bowler with the higher average will have the higher position. Matches each week are based on position within tribes.
  • The prize fund for the first six weeks is individual. There is no team prize fund for the first six weeks. Each division has its own prize fund and all divisions have equal prize funds. This will allow fair and even competition among bowlers of all skill levels. Bowlers are only concerned with how their performance is relative to the other bowlers in their average tribe.
  • After the sixth week ends, the winnings of each bowler are tallied based on their position within their average tribe. This concludes the first format of Survivor.
  • The seventh week bowlers in Survivor compete in individual match play championships. This head-to-head match play tournament begins with the four tribes first battling to determine a tournament champion, then the four champions battle for the rights to be the tournament's Ultimate Survivor.
  • To prepare for the last seven weeks, the Survivor bowlers have a draft and the tribes split. The league-leading average bowlers become team captains and draft the remaining players. The first draft pick goes to the team captain with the lowest average and this process continues until all bowlers have been drafted.
  • Weeks eight through 13 drafted teams compete for a team prize fund, and the title of Survivor Team Champion.
  • The league uses a 21-point system as stated in Rule 5. There is no handicap between drafted teams as they are by their nature very balanced. Teams may use a substitute should one be needed provide the subs average is equal to or less than the bowler they are replacing (Since the teams are drafted). If a bowler is absent, the team can use the absent bowler's average less 10 pins if no sub is available.
  • One bowler will constitute a legal lineup. If there is no opponent, the team must bowl within 10 pins for the individual matches and 30 pins of team average for the team points. (Bowlers bowl match play against their own average less 10.)
  • In the 14th week, Survivor bowlers start team match play championships. This is a head-to-head, Baker system match play tournament between teams. This format has bowlers from each team bowling alternating frames. Matches are bowled until we crown the Ultimate Team Survivors.
  • Survivor could have cash awards for 300 games and 800 series (i.e. $250 for 300 and $500 for 800). The league will be certified through USBC and will use Sport Bowling compliant lane conditions so that bowlers will be eligible for Sport Bowling awards.

Long and short oil

One of bowling's biggest challenges is competing on a pair of lanes dressed with one short pattern and one long pattern. The beauty of this format is the ongoing challenge of playing a long pattern inside while being forced outside to play the shorter pattern.


Format: Scratch 
Number of games: 3, 4 or 5 
Length: 36 weeks, each quarter would be 9 weeks (8 weeks of bowling with one week for roll-off). Each teams winning a quarter would bowl at the end of the last night's roll-off in a special championship round.


This could be very exciting with one team earning a berth into the championship with a great performance on the last night. The championship round would have a simple eliminator format: All four teams bowl one game. The two remaining teams then bowl one game. The league pays off each quarter with a special fund for the final event. This can easily be adapted to an 18-week season. Lane conditions: One idea is to try 35 feet for the short pattern and 45 feet for the long patter. This is similar to what is used in international championships.


Points: One point per game and three points for total Submitted by Joe Slowinski, a USBC-certified Silver level coach, USBC-certified Level I Coach Instructor and Director of Coaching and Coach Certification for the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress.