Fundamentals of lawn bowls

by bqmedia

By Dennis O’Toole

Whether you are a player or a coach, you must have a sound understanding of the fundamentals associated with the sport of lawn bowls.

Obviously, the application of these fundamentals are different to the individual. However, all contribute to make the level of success achieved.

These important components are:

  1. Goal setting
  2. Constants and variables of the delivery
  3. Communicating not only from a coach but also from the player
  4. The methodology required in the sport

Interestingly, goal setting is the first fundamental required. We realise that all players and all coaches have different aspirations and require different plans to achieve their ambitions. These plans come under what is called “The Smarter Plan”, in other words, they must be specific, measurable, action orientated, realistic and relevant, timed and targeted, evaluated and recorded. Coaches organise a series of processes or stepping stone goals to improve the performance of the player or players. These performance goals lead on to positive outcome goals. All good coaches have a sound understanding of the player’s individual goals so that they can adequately plan, recognise and record the improvement that has been made.

The second of the fundamentals are the constants and variables and these make up the necessary requirements for the delivery of the bowl. There are five constants and they are evident in all sports. These are:

  1. Understanding the line your bowl needs to take and how to get the bowl on that line
  2. Keeping your balance throughout the delivery and be stable both at the start and at the delivery point
  3. Controlling your momentum or speed of movement throughout the delivery to assist timing and rhythm
  4. Making sure the bowl is delivered so that it runs smoothly
  5. Being sure that you are consistent

The six variables are:-

  1. Where and how you place your feet
  2. Ensure a comfortable grip on the bowl to make sure it allows the bowl to be delivered smoothly
  3. The stance should be mostly upright to give easy transfer of weight from back foot to step out foot
  4. Step normally towards the line you want your bowl to travel
  5. Bend so that you can keep the bowl along the running surface
  6. Deliver your bowl with enough force to reach the target

Acknowledging that communication is more involved than only talking is very important. Communication is a process where either coach or player imparts a point they want to make and the recipient actively listens and interprets that point. It should be concise, accurate and open to questions from either party to ensure correct understanding. Other parts of communication are demonstration, body language, attentiveness and voice tone.

Sports Methodology is a process that coaches use to facilitate the understanding of a technical or important point being made to a player or players. This point is explained and demonstrated three separate times with active questioning done to ensure recognition and understanding of the process to be attempted. The player shows by repeating verbally and kinaesthetically the process until it is learnt.

Bowls Queensland State Coaches run Skills Days at no cost for groups of players where all the fundamentals are discussed and attempted in greater depth. The committee also provides a coaches workshop which gives access to further training for those wishing to improve their own skill level.