Bowls is a mental and dynamic game says junior state champion Stella Palmer
There is no doubt that Stella Palmer from Roma Bowls Club has made her mark in the world of junior bowls. Her achievements in 2022 and more recently at the 2023 Junior State Championships have cemented her place in bowls.
Stella and Reid Grant were runners up in the 2022 Secondary Schools’ Cup, representing Roma State High School. Stella also competed in the Qld vs NSW Test Series U18s in October. However, the icing on Stella’s 2022 bowling cake was winning two personal golds in the National U18 Championships: a pairs gold with Chloe Runge and a fours gold with Sophie Kiepe, Dekota Brindle and Corinne Stallan.
Stella’s introduction to bowls was through her parents. “I originally started playing bowls at five years old, just randomly picking up the bowl and throwing it down the green. There were no greens hurt in this process,” she laughed.
“When I was about 13, I started playing competitive carnivals in Charleville. At this point, I was still playing rugby and doing State athletics but then bowls began weaving into my daily routine.”
Stella remembers her first experience playing in the Junior Qld State Championships in Caloundra when she was 13. Although she didn’t get selected that year, she made many long-lasting memories and friendships and was determined to get selected the next time she competed.
Stella’s training pattern depends on any upcoming events. “If there’s a major event happening, I’ll train up to four or five times a week and sometimes on the weekend. Although, if there are no events, I’ll keep the training down to a minimum and train once or twice that week so I can focus more on schooling,” she said.
“I don’t play any other sports or work, just because the workload can be slightly overwhelming (I found this out the hard way, ha-ha!). So I, along with my parent’s guidance, made the decision that school and bowls were going to be my main priorities.”
Mature beyond her years, Stella realised that higher level bowls involves much more than just rolling a bowl down the green and hoping it goes to where you want it to.
“Bowls is very much a mental and dynamic game that requires a lot of practice, as I’m sure most people realise.”
Stella shared that the most frequently asked questions from her friends is why she chooses to play lawn bowls and what keeps her motivated.
“It’s about me being passionate about the sport and the drive I have to someday wear the green and yellow and represent Australia. My belief and trusting in my hard work, as well as staying committed makes me feel like I’m getting a step closer every day to achieving my goal,” she said.
Stella is the first to recognise that it takes more than just passion and determination to win medals and she very much appreciates her back-up team. She would like to thank the people who have helped her along her journey. Stella would firstly like to thank her parents.
“Thanks mum and dad! From when I first started picking up a bowl to now, you have both been my number one supporters. Thanks to mum for cheering on the sidelines and to dad for coaching me and giving me the skills I have today. Without you I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
Secondly, Stella is very excited to begin working with mentor Lynsey Clarke in 2023.
“And, of course, thirdly I want to thank Bowls Queensland for the support and opportunities so far,” Stella said. “They have put a lot of spark and fun into the State Junior Squad, and they have made my journey as a Queensland bowler really enjoyable and less daunting.”
Stella said the Bowls Queensland camps were highlights in her journey. “I’ve developed strong friendships and cheeky memories and honestly, I think of everyone as my extended bowls family!” You can tell Stella is speaking from the heart when asked how she would encourage young bowlers to play this sport. “You’re able to be outside, make friends and are challenged in several different ways. I would love to see more young bowlers on the green and hope that by my story being out there, it will encourage more players to give it a go. It has been a very rewarding journey for me so far.”
We can only wonder what the future is going to bring for Stella. What we can bet on, though, is that she will give everything she competes in her best shot and continue to enjoy her chosen sport along the way.