Acquisition of Skill – Study in Motion

by bqmedia

By Dennis O’Toole, BQ Coaching Committee

Understanding speed is a most important element in all sports. To teach and develop speed without compromising skill and technique, we must use the principle: Get the technique correct first then correct the speed.

Speed is dependent on the ability to relax rather than just effort. Therefore, the faster you want to go, the more relaxed you must be. The types of speed will vary, for example speed on the mat, speed of the step and speed of the arm swing.

It is important for a coach to observe an athlete’s flexibility and understand that it could be hindering the way a skill is performed. Range of motion can be a limiting factor in the execution of a skill.

  • Flexibility gives us joint range – we move further.
  • Strength gives us stability – we move better with more control.

Athletes are encouraged to use body weight as their training loads for body strength. Try the big five: chin ups, push ups, dips, squats and sit ups.

Stretch or flexibility exercises maintain and improve the joint range, or amount of movement joints are capable of.

The rules associated with exercise are:

  1. Perform all exercise with smooth, steady rhythm
  2. Co-ordinate movement with breathing
  3. Be aware of what is happening in different parts of the body as you exercise
  4. Never force any joint, especially a problem joint
  5. It takes time to learn and then reap the benefits of any exercise program, so take it gently
  6. Constantly relate the exercise to your bowling delivery and technique.

As always, check with your doctor before starting or adapting an exercise routine.


Dynamic flexibility is the range of motion that is used when the body is moving.

Dynamic Stretches

  • Arm Swings
  • Side Bends
  • Trunk Rotations
  • Leg Swings

Use the above Dynamic Stretches as part of your warm-up and make sure the body is thoroughly warm.

Static stretches

Static flexibility refers to the range of motion which a joint or muscle can be taken and then held by a slow and forceful movement. Here are some general guidelines to bear in mind when following the Static Flexibility Program:

  • You should be thoroughly warmed up before performing these exercises
  • Stretch to just before the point of discomfort
  • The feeling of tightness should diminish as you hold the stretch
  • Breathe out into the stretch and avoid holding your breath
  • Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds
  • If tightness intensifies, or you feel pain, stop the stretch
  • Shake out limbs between stretches
  • Complete 2-3 stretches before moving onto the next exercise.

Areas to concentrate on are:

  • Shoulder Stretch
  • Triceps Stretch
  • Standing Quadriceps
  • Standing Calf

Body balance

These can also be used for people with arthritis or vertigo:

Side Sways: Legs shoulder width apart, transfer weight to the right, feeling sensation on calf, feet and lower legs. Then transfer the weight to the left.

Forward and Backward Sways: Notice the gripping action of the toes and the sensation of the work in the calves and hamstring.

Circular Sways: Stand with legs shoulder width apart. Begin in a clockwise circular swaying action, starting with a small swing then gradually develop a larger circle. Be careful not to lose your balance. Then change direction.

Standard delivery action

You can make this part of your exercise program. Ensure your routine is positive, fluid and relaxed. Time the process of your routine to ensure all aspects are correct. Remember to breathe properly during the action.


Please contact Cath at Bowls Queensland (07) 3354 0777 if your district would like to book any of the following courses: Introductory Coach Course, Club Coach Course, Re-accreditations or Skills Day (including armed bowlers).


Treat players how you would like to be treated. Acting with integrity, respect and empathy means you can bring out the best in your players and set the foundation for the development of a good working relationship.