Administration/Intramurals - A Way to Address Competition Blowouts

Administration/Intramurals -
A Way to Address Competition Blowouts

Dick Moss

Lop-sided victories are a problem in any league. Such "blowouts" are not fun for the losing players and do little to boost their self esteem or enjoyment of sport.

But, the reality is that there will always be blowouts. Most coaches do their best to avoid humiliating opponents by playing their second stringers once the game is under control. But even that may not enough to keep the score from being run up.

Lead-Limit Solution
Here's one way to handle such games. It's an approach that has been used by a number of high school leagues, particularly in Canadian hockey.

Establish a standard point difference for your sport, beyond which no additional points are tallied.

For example, in hockey, once a team gets an eight-goal lead, that team can score 10 more times, but none of those goals are recorded. The losing team, however, can continue to score.

Positive Outcomes
One positive result from this strategy is that the final score in these games seem closer when reported in newspapers and on school PA systems. This reduces the embarrassment of a lopsided score. Another result is that once the limit is reached, the winning team usually plays a more defensive style because there is no advantage to scoring additional points. This gives the losing team a better chance to catch up.

"No fair!" you might hear from some coaches. "What if we lose?" The fact is, any team that can't protect a huge lead probably deserves to lose. And if they do lose, it will be a lesson learned.

Use in Other Sports
This concept can be applied to other sports and also to intramurals. For example, 40 points in basketball, 30 points in football--whatever your league feels is appropriate.



1. National Intramural Recreational Sports Association, Campus Recreational Sports,  Kindle Edition, Amazon Digital Services, Inc, 2012.

2. Dave Makela, "Blowouts no right in youth sports." Sudbury Star, April 9, 2004.


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