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United States Bowling Conference - USBC Youth

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United States Bowling Congress Mission Statement:

The United States Bowling Congress, as the national governing body, ensures the integrity and protects the future of the sport, provides programs and services and enhances the bowling experience. --from the USBC Web site

History of USBC Youth:

Youth bowling began in the late 1930s as the American High School Bowling Congress. In 1964, the organization split into 2 separate organizations after a disagreement over operations. The 2 organizations continued to talk and merged back together in 1982 as the Young American Bowling Association. On January 1, 2005, several bowling organizations, including the YABA, merged to form the USBC, which is now the national governing body for bowling from youth through adult.

Age Level:

All children under the age of 21 or authorized as mentally challenged may join the USBC as Youth Members. In addition, the United States Bowling Congress sanctions high school interscholastic leagues.

Costs:

  • The United States Bowling Congress Youth national membership fee is $9.50. In addition, state associations may charge up to $1 and local associations up to $10.

  • Fees vary by the league. Expect to pay a one time "sign up" fee and a weekly participation fee which includes shoe rental, lane fees, and perhaps end-of-league awards.

  • Tournament entry fees vary by the tournament

  • Balls start at around $25 or $30, plus drilling costs of $30+. You can spend a lot on balls, however, as a beginner you child will probably be using a house ball. Also, you may find your bowling center has a trade in policy as your child grows.

United States Bowling Congress Youth League Bowling:

League bowling is the most basic team bowling event. Teams consist of at least 2 players and compete one team again another team. Individual scores and averages, plus team standings are kept. A "handicap" is figured into the score, so that children of all ages and abilities can play together.

In a good league, the coach will be generous assisting the children during the league play. Some leagues may be youth/adult, giving you a chance to bowl with your child -- it's a lot of fun!

Competitive Events:

The USBC sanctions several national youth bowling tournaments including the Pepsi Championships, Junior Gold, Youth Open Championships and the USBC Team USA Trials. The USBC also sanctions many state scholarship tournaments. Local bowling centers may also sponsor smaller tournaments.

Awards:

The United States Bowling Congress is careful with the awards they give to students so as not to risk their high school interscholastic eligibility. Awards usually consist of merchandise under $500 (such as jackets or trophies) and scholarships. Actually, the USBC offers quite a lot of scholarships to their youth bowlers at both the state and national level.

Find a USBC Youth Program:

The best way to find a USBC bowling program is to check with your local bowling center. You'll find that most have USBC sanctioned leagues.

Why USBC Youth:

Pros:

  • Leagues are easy to find at local bowling centers
  • A lot of scholarship opportunities exist
  • Bowling is both a team and individual sport which can be enjoyed well into adult life
  • At league level (and some tournaments) handicaps are figured into the score which evens out the competition a bit
  • Siblings, even those of vastly different ages, can participate in the same league saving on driving and time
  • Parents may be able to participate with their children in a youth/adult league
Cons:
  • Beginners can outgrow their balls rapidly and often as they gain strength and skill
  • Costs are ongoing, rather than a one-time/season fee
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