Whether you are a beginner, social, Club, or high-performance bowler, coaching/practicing/training helps enhance your enjoyment of this wonderful sport. Consequently, our coaches are trained through the Coach Bowls National training programme, approved by Bowls England. One key role of a coach is to demonstrate how to improve your game through practice. We take anyone from basic principals through to advanced levels, incorporating the use of video analysis appropriately.
Throughout a bowlers life, they experience a loss of form from time to time. They have a performance issue or want to learn new elements and techniques, subsequently, coaching can help. Therefore, as part of the membership package, each member has the opportunity to work with a coach working on a one-to-one basis or in a group, or on a team basis.
Coaching and purposeful practice
Training is a vital part of any sports persons programme to improve performance, achieve good results and compete at a high level. To assist our members to gain greater consistency and improve their game, the following exercises have been designed. Regular practice is recommended.
The length of practice depends on the individual. 20 to 30 minutes per exercise followed by a 5 minute rest, rehydrate, taking sustenance if necessary, then to a change different exercise. To illustrate your improvement whilst training, measure your performance using an accuracy-based points system. Aim for higher points score each session.
Exercises to help you improve
Exercise 1 – The Lead: Rolling the jack (3 or 4 jacks req’d)
Hold the jack in the tips of the fingers with your thumb resting on top. By placing the thumb on top it reduces the chance of spraying the jack about. Centre your mat then centre a second mat at the other end no less than a minimum distance, 23m.
Concentrate on bowling the first jack using the same delivery action as you do with a bowl, then make adjustments with the other jacks, once you can bowl either onto the mat or very close to it, then alter the length. Move the target mat, say 3m. Repeat the exercise.
This exercise should be practiced with the delivery mat at various positions, and most importantly, fully up the green with the target mat placed at 2m from the far ditch.
Exercise 2 – Second player (1 Jack + 2 spare bowls)
Centre the jack and place one bowl 0.75m in front of the jack and one bowl 0.75m behind. Practice drawing all four of your bowls between the two bowls without disturbing them or the jack. Aim to avoid jack-level bowls. Again practice this exercise at various lengths and various mat positions. Once you can get all four bowls between the two target bowls then reduce the distance of the bowls from the jack by, say .15m and keep doing this until there is a 0.45m distance of bowl to jack. Alternate, forehand/backhand deliveries.
Exercise 3 – Trail the Jack
Set two bowls on 23m length 10 cms from either side of the jack. Place 3 woods about 0.5metres behind the head close to each other. Start practice with the delivery mat on the T. Object to trail jack to back woods using controlled weight. Measure your performance by awarding yourself the following marks: 3 for gaining 4 shots, 2 for 3 shots, and 1 for trailing the jack and having no result.
Increase the difficulty by using both hands and increasing the distance between mat and head until maximum length. Also, with head at furthest, move the delivery mat up the rink, at say 2m stages, until 26m from the head.
What is a routine?
It is carrying out a sequence in exactly the same way every single time, such as delivering a bowl. Without a delivery routine, it is unlikely you will deliver many bowls the same, and it all starts with picking up the bowl.
Every person will deliver a bowl in their own particular way, therefore you need to adapt a routine that suits your style. So let’s go through a typical delivery routine:
- Pick up the bowl, if you use a polishing cloth now is the time to use it.
- Decide which hand you are to bowl.
- Take a firm grip on the bowl.
- Now is the time to start thinking of the shot you are about to play.
- Walk onto the mat at an angle pointing down the line you are going to bowl, if you are right-handed the right foot should be the first one on the mat pointing down the line, it will be the opposite if you are left-handed.
- Get into the delivery stance, and sort your delivery mark/aiming point.
- Now, look at the target you are going to be bowling at, this is to let your brain know how much weight you will need, follow this by taking a deepish breath through your diaphragm and hold it. By holding your breath it will help to keep
- your body and head still on delivery.
- Still holding your breath, looking back at the aiming point deliver the bowl, and stay down still holding your breath until the bowl has travelled about 6 or 7 metres down the green.
- One way to know how long to stay down is to say under your breath one and two and three and four, which will be approximately 3 to 4 seconds.
- Now release your breath.
- Watch the bowl all the way down the green until it stops even if you know it is poor delivery, you can learn just as much if not more from a bad delivery.
Providing that you don’t over tire yourself, finishing your session on a high is ideal.
Always practice to improve
There is no glory in practice—but without practice—there is no glory