Roles and responsibilities of a team – PART 2 OF 2

by jgrey on September 28, 2020

By Mal Mackney 

Previously I wrote part one of two articles looking at how a team works, the responsibilities of individual members and how they work together to make a successful team.

In this second and final article on this topic, we will focus on the third and skip position in a Fours’ team.

A team of four can be likened to a four-speed gearbox in a car.  In a car, first gear is used to get the car moving, while second gear helps continue this forward momentum. Third gear propels the car to top speed and fourth gear maintains the forward momentum. The skip is the driver of the team and has their hands on the steering wheel.  As such, all team members must endeavour to follow the directions of the skip unconditionally without negative comments.  The skip must also always try to be positive and avoid negative/derogatory comments and remember to use positive body language.

To achieve the best result for the team, each member must know and embrace their role in the team.  No team member is any more important than any other member.


The third continues the momentum generated by the lead and second.  He/she must also have a very good relationship with the skip and trust their calls and judgement at all times.  The third will often have to play “blind” and as such must be proficient at playing around, under, or through bowls and to play to hidden jacks or bowls.

A good third is proficient at head reading and is able to advise the skip of the situation and the shot that will give the best possible outcome,  always remembering the worst possible scenario. The third asks themselves “What shot will give the best percentage result?”.

Taking all the above into account, it is important that the skip and third have a very good relationship and are both “on the same page” at all times during the game. A good third knows that the skip is in charge at all times and, when asked will give advice, never calls a shot unless the skip asks or the relationship allows this to happen. Remember, when the skip has just left the head he/she is very aware of the shot they are going to play.

An old saying: A good third turns up, gets up and shuts up!

The third is also responsible for declaring the head and must be proficient in measuring and never be afraid to call the umpire.

Be Prepared: chalk, measure, personal equipment


To continue car analogy from the introduction to this article, the skip is the driver of the team.  The skip does not necessarily have to be the best bowler in the team but MUST be the best “Person Manager”.  The skip must also be proficient at all shots and be mentally prepared for any challenge: From drawing with the last bowl when 6, 7, or even 8 down asking “What happened team?”, to rolling a bowl out, moving the jack to convert, driving to kill or any other shot required.

The skip must know his team members strengths and weaknesses and how to get the best out of each of person.  Always try to be positive in all ways (verbal and body language) when communicating with the team.

In today’s environment with so many different bowls with different lines, the skip MUST know the bowls each of his team members use and the line these bowls take.

Be Prepared: chalk, personal equipment

Remember that there is no “I” in team and each member must work together for the best possible outcome for their team.