​​​Joondalup Lawn Bowling Club

Coaches Tips

Bowls is a simple game

Bowls is a simple game…get more bowls closest to the kitty than the opposition and you win!

There are a few ways to achieve this:

                        Draw close to the kitty

                        Move the kitty closer to your bowls

                        Move the opponents’ bowls

In 95% of these scenarios, a DRAW shot is played.

A good team leaves his/her skip with options to play to win the end. Any end in which a skip stands on the mat with only 1 bowl close to the kitty is a potential loss. How often do we hear those 5 dreaded words “you can do it, Skip”

So to alleviate the pressure on the skips, the preceding players need to get bowls into position.

Between them, leads and seconds should aim to get 2 bowls close to kitty and 1 about a metre behind the head. As long as you hold at least second shot, the head is very much yours for the taking.

At this stage, the skip has to decide what the third should do: draw shot, draw another shot, attack an opponent’s bowl or play for position behind. I am not a great fan of playing blockers- they have to be perfectly placed to be effective. If they aren’t, then a bowl has been wasted. A covering bowl behind can be within a metre of the ideal place and still be effective. Remember, if you are down, seconds and thirds MUST NOT BE SHORT!

It is the Skip’s job to direct play and complement his/her team mates. Call for play on the most reliable hand as often as you can. Know your team mates strengths and weaknesses and call accordingly. Be prepared to accept 1 down to alleviate the risk of going 3 or more down. Be prepared to change the mat position and length to keep your opponents on the back foot.



All players in a 4 need to develop trust in, and support for, one another. If the Skip calls you on a shot, trust his/her judgment and play what has been called with confidence. No skip needs to hear “I can’t play that hand “or “my bowls won’t draw in that far”. Trust the Skip. He/she is far closer to the head than you and is most unlikely to call you on a shot that you can’t make. In line with this, skips need to be clear and concise with what they want played. “Just draw” is not precise enough.” Play through the head” is not enough. The skip needs to say what weight on what hand with a stated objective, For example, “Play the forehand with 1 metre weight to sit out the red bowl. It’s jack high”.


Applaud & acknowledge good bowls as this will boost confidence. Do not fall for the trap of “talking up “ poor or mediocre bowls. Your team will not give their best if mediocre is good enough and accepted.



The following guidelines provide a self analysis for skips. If you are putting these principles into effect, chances are you are winning more games than you are losing. The trick here is to brutally honest with yourself and your performance!



Skippers notes


            What is my game plan?

                                    Have I explained it to my Rink members?

                                    Do my team members understand and agree?

                                    Does it change from home to away games?

                                    Has it achieved desired results, if yes how and if not, why not?


            Do I communicate well?

Are my instructions clear?

                                    Do rink members understand “what bowl result I am requesting”?

                                    Am I concise or do I invoke indecision by giving to many options?

                                    In my communication am I inclusive or closed?

                                    Is my body Language and “tone of voice” acceptable?

                                    Do I acknowledge, encourage and support both rink and other team members?



            What are my expectations of each rink member’s position?




                                    Have I communicated my expectation to each person individually?

                                    Have I communicated my expectation to SELECTORS?


            Do I evaluate?

                                    Not only my own game performance but that of each rink member?

                                    Do I question tactics used and the results?

                                    Am I honest with my evaluations?

            Do I provide the necessary feedback to selectors which may assist them in their efforts to evaluate and develop a stronger selection process?


            Am I a Captain?

                                    Am I seen as a strong player?

                                    Do I contribute?

                                    Can I build better relationships with team members?

                                    Do I lead by example?

                                    Do I do the team things, not only for my rink, but also for the entire division?

                                    Do I encourage rink practice?

            Do I encourage team members to get coaching to address specific inconsistencies?





The 5 "C's" of successful bowlers



COMMITMENT:           Commit to becoming the best bowler you can be.

                                     Commit to helping you team mates and club achieve success


CONFIDENCE:              Have confidence in your own ability

                Have the confidence to play the shot your skip asks  for: - he/she has a better view of the head and is unlikely to call you on a shot he/she knows you can’t  play



CONCENTRATION:   Give every bowl absolute concentration – it will help with the Commitment and Confidence.

                                      Don’t dwell on the previous bowl….this one is the important one!


CONTROL:                  Have control over what you do; especially on the mat…..once the bowl leaves the hand, it’s too late to change anything.


CONSISTENCY:         Getting the first 4 C’s right will give you the consistency to achieve success. Every bowler  is capable of delivering a world class bowl- the best                                             bowlers simply do it more often!




Get these right and……………. COUNT ‘EM UP






The 5 "C's" of successful bowlers

Grouping Skills Training.
This drill is used to improve consistency.
Procedure - Roll a bowl to the length of end you wish to practice.
Place it on the centre line.
Play the remaining 3 bowls as close as you can to the first bowl and
measure each bowl where it finishes,
2 Points for drawing within 400mm.
1 Point for drawing within 750mm
Mark those bowls which don’t finish within 750mm with reason why,
W = wide or N = narrow,
First Bowl Delivered, place on the centre line
Then group bowls 2, 3, & 4 as close as you can to your first bowl.
Play 20 ends and keep your score: be honest with yourself!
Grouping Skills
Player: Date:
Bowls F/H = /30
Bowls B/H = /30
Short Ends = /30
Long Ends = /30
2 Points drawing within 400 mm
1 Point drawing within 750 mm
W = Wide, N = Narrow
“L” should be between 30 and 36 metres
“S” should be between 22 and 28 metres
Contact Geoff Stevenson for any queries