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Advice from World Bowls


World Bowls is an International Organisation which promotes our sport.

Its' Bowls Introductory Manual is a must for all bowlers.

Images from the world Bowls Handbook

The manual contains a host of information for the novice bowler and lots of excellent reminders even for our more experienced colleagues. The manual can be downloaded directly from the World Bowls site as a PDF. Click on either the World Bowls Logo or the screenshot image to go directly to the website. Click on the 'development' tab on the home page to find the download link for the manual. Some excerpts from the manual are reproduced below.

image from World Bowls


1.7 Short Bowls


Never be consistently short. Short bowls are the scourge of the game and are the biggest single factor determining the outcome of the game. Short bowls lose games.


1.8 Touchers


Respond to an opposition toucher by tryng to get your next bowl as close as possible. It will reduce the chances of your opponent scoring another shot,and it will increase your shot options.


1.9 Positive Play


Do not be negative. Whilst it is unwise to play heavy bowls all the time, it is better to be positive than to be too cautious, particularly when playing at the back end of a rink. If it is possible to draw do so, but do not be too tentative. If the hands are blocked or difficult to negotiate, make sure you attack the head.


1.10 Decisions, Decisions .  . . . . . 


Do not be caught in two minds. Work out your shot options, select the best one and play positively. If you are still deciding whether to draw or drive you will play an in-between shot and miss your line.


1.11 Keep it Tight


If both hands are equally true then choose the tighter hand, it should be easier to play


1.12 Trial Ends


Make the best use of trial ends in competitive games. Watch and learn from all the bowls being delivered. Stand and watch from behind the centre line if you can.

1 Playing the Game


1.1 Preparation


Work out a personal strategy for your preparation before a game so that you are relaxed, focused and positive. Whatever that may involve, make sure that you are always arrive in good time before a game and that you never have to rush onto the green to play.


1.2 Keep It Simple


Do not complicate things. The easier shot is usually the right one.


1.3 Reacting on the Day


Plan to play to your strengths and your opponents' weaknesses, learn to react to the circumstances and conditions on the day. You may find that you are scoring at certain lengths simply because your opponent is worse than you, the bowls may not be close, but you are finding it better than him. Try to keep that length. Remember that playing a mediocre game and scoring is better than playing well and not.


1.4 Scoring with the Draw


Master the draw shot - the vast majority of scoring shots are drawn to the jack. Do not become addicted to the driving shot. It has a valuable role to play and must be used with discretion.


1.5 Watch the Back


Do not lose silly shots by ignoring the position against you at the back of the rink. Always try to cover any accumulation of opposition bowls.


1.6 Build the Head


Always ensure that you have more than one bowl in the head. Build the head early. This will increase your shot options later.

2.2 Avoid Criticism


Never openly criticise your teammates. Never turn your back on any of their deliveries as a mark of disgust, and do not provide unnecessary or gratuitous information such as "you're narrow", "you are not up" or " you're heavy again". These are the biggest turn-offs in the game.


2.3 Hide Your Feelings


Never allow the opposition to see that you are worried or rattled. Be careful that your body language does not give you away. Miserable faces and frustrated gestures can inspire opponents. The game, as they say "is nver over until the fat lady sings". Quite often she may just be clearing her throat and also quite often she can be prevented from singing at all by a spirited fightback.


2.4 Work as a Team


A good four / triple / pair know each others' strengths and weaknesses and play the appropriate tactical game to suit. If the situation allows it let the player play the shot he fancies.


2.5 Communication


Always communicate instructions and information clearly and concisely. Support your vocal advise with hand signals to indicate distances, which hand to play and the number of shots held.

2 Team Spirit


2.1 Support Each Other


Show open and full support for your playing partners. Engage in positive encourgement and appreciation. Shaking hands, a slap on the back, and a word of encouragement such as "you can do this" can be great motivators.

3 Bowls Environment


All clubs rely heavily on the quality of their greens and it is the resposibilty of players to ensure that the work of the greenkeeper is not detrimentally affected by any players action during practise or play

1.13 Etiquette


Some of the common etiquettes for the sport of bowls include:


  • Wear approprite footwear (flat soled shoes)

  • Avoid dumping bowls

  • Avoid leaving the rink for long periods of time

  • Avoid resting on the plinth

  • Avoid straying onto neighbouring rinks

  • Hand bowls to one another when convenient

  • Avoid distracting  neighbouring rinks

  • Share the task of kicking bowls 

  • Avoid distracting players whilst a player is on the mat preparing for a deliver


  • Refrain from interfering with the head until the result of an end has been agreed upon

  • Shake players hands at the start and end of the game

  • Collect all mats and jacks and return them to the usual storage area

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