Oct 18

What is Average Differential?

What is Average Differential?

***This stat is available on the weekly scores and all bowlers sheets.

On many of the stats sheets provided by bowlerstats.com, there is one statistical component that gauges how dominate your weekly performance is: Average Differential. Not all scores are created equally. This is a good indicator to validate your scores and see where you measure up versus the field.

The most common measurement used in bowling is the bowler’s average. Not all averages are created equal. There are many variables that can contribute to a high/low average: lane pattern, surface, number of games for the tournament, etc.  So comparing averages becomes apples and oranges.

Back in 1998, Karl Nickolai, from collegebowling.com, developed a measurement called average differential. It is “a method of comparing an athletes performance against an event field instead determining if it is an easy or difficult field. A positive number means the bowler performed better than the average bowler for the event. A negative number means the bowler did not perform better than the average bowler for the event. ”


To calculate average differential, two variables are needed:

  • bowlers series for the week
  • field average for the week

Taking the difference between field average and bowler’s average is average differential. A bowler’s season average differential is the average of all their weekly average differential.


Bowler’s average for the week:

Bowler 1 = 203 (609 Series)

Bowler 2 = 190 (573 Series)

Field Average: (Businessmen)

Week 5 = 188.62

Week 6 = 192.87

Average Differential:

Bowler 1 = 14.38 / 10.13

Bowler 2 = 1.38 /-2.87


Bowler 1: During Week 5/Week 6, the bowler’s average differential is a positive number. This means they performed better than the field each week by 14 and 10 pins respectively.

Bowler 2:  During Week 5/Week 6, the bowler’s average differential is both a positive and negative number. Even with the same performance each week, Week 5  is actually better.

Consistently performing better than the field is good indicator of performance. It also gauges how dominate your performance is. This number will vary week to week. So if you shoot a solid 630 series, take a look at the average differential. The closer it is to “0”, closer you are to the field average. The higher the number, the more dominate you were.




SOURCE: www.collegebowling.com – “Average Differential Explained”

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