Hacienda del Alamo Sports Centre

Hints & Tips

Bowling Hints and Tips

By kind permission of  ‘Flat Green’un’

10 Top Tips for Beginners:

  1. Consistent delivery = consistent outcome
  2. Slow, controlled delivery is a must.
  3. Relax and concentrate
  4. Develop a shot delivery routine
  5. Feet position and balance are fundamental on every delivery
  6. Do not cross the head with draw shots
  7. Good weight control takes time to learn
  8. Practice on your own as often as possible
  9. Always practice both hands and leave the mat in the same position to improve grass line and weight control
  10. Leave weighted shots until later

Lifting Bowls

Lifting bowls from a neighbouring rink to pass.

The easiest way to remember is to think of the rink boundaries having Double White Lines.  Under no circumstances are players allowed to go into a neighbouring rink. (See Law 36.2)

The only players allowed to lift bowls are the players at the head of the rink where the bowl from the neighbouring rink is in danger of displacing their bowl at rest.

They also have the choice of stopping the bowl and if on the correct bias to take it back to its own rink to be replayed. (See Law 28.6 1)


Our greens are built on concrete and the underlay and carpet are open to an extreme variance of temperature and weather.  It is not surprising, therefore, that there are bad rinks.

The advise given by the South African Bowls Clinic in the nineteen seventies is still true today.

“Play the green, don’t blame it.  It is, after all, the same for both sides.

If you keep talking about the problems inherent in the green you will only upset yourself and your team mates.  And the green won’t get any better.

It is true though that a bad green tends to favour the moderate bowler so, if you are any good at all, you’ll just have to knuckle down and try a little harder.”

Tips on slow green play

here are times when you will find that you have to play on slow, wet, or soft greens. Whilst it’s true that the conditions are the same for both teams two important things need coaching and application.

  1. A player’s delivery technique should be adaptable so they can play well on all surfaces.
  2. Tactics and strategy can help a team or individual succeed on slow greens. The ability of a team to play to a plan can give the skip more options and some chance to convert if he/she is down at the head.

Keep these suggestions in mind when playing on slow greens.

  1. Short bowls are the beginning of disaster in any end but on slow greens, with less draw on a bowl, they can be a real liability to your team.
  2. Stay down longer during your delivery to apply more force to the bowl therefore increasing the momentum of the bowl at delivery.
  3. Avoid a fingertip grip which is more suited to fast greens and try a claw grip for extra confidence.
  4. Aim to draw to a point 1-2 metres past jack high. This weight may give you the shot by sitting a bowl and taking its place or by trailing the jack. If you miss, your bowl will end in a very useful position.
  5. If you also have a cross wind to contend with try drawing on the wide side and play with weight on the narrow side.
  6. Be prepared for the green to dry out and to pick up some pace as the game progresses.
  7. If down at the head the perfect draw on the open hand may not be the best option. Playing onto the opposition bowls for shot, to save or for position may offer a better percentage of success.
  8. A winning plan may be to outdraw the opposition on long ends and play aggressive on the short ends.
  9. After you step onto the mat remind yourself to play with 1-2 metres of extra weight past the point you are expecting to reach. Start with a more upright stance to enable a longer, stronger delivery.
  10. Pay particular attention to your line as a little wide will often mean a wasted bowl,    whereas a little narrow and reaching  the head can be very effective.
  11. Avoid the drive in preference to a fast running shot. Weighted shots can turn more on slow greens and an alignment straight at the target will often miss on the narrow side.
  12. Play a bit more aggressive than you normally do and expect the jack to be moved 2 or 3 times each end.
  13. Often the skip has little opportunity to draw and will elect to play with weight through the head. Cover the areas behind the jack on both sides about 1-2 metres behind.
  14. A block shot on a slow green can look very big to the opposition. However, ensure you already have the back well covered.
  15. A strong smooth delivery without bouncing or hurling the bowl will give you the best chance of consistently reaching the head.
  16. As a skip, watch and study each player’s ability to adapt to a slow green. Select a length that will give your team an advantage, but be careful on long ends.  If the opposition gets the first close bowl it can be more difficult to convert, as there are usually more short bowls blocking the way. Some players may have difficulty in playing with sufficient weight on a long end when trying to disturb the head.
  17. Bowls draw less on a soft, slow green than on a hard, fast green. This is due to the increased contact area on the bowl and this tends to keep the bowl upright, resulting in a straighter run and not falling in at the end. Increase in friction applied to the bowl by the playing surface slows the bowl at a quicker rate so the bowl does not run-on as it would on a faster green.
  18. Trail, Trail, Trail. Play to move the jack about a one metre. If you miss you have great position. If you do trail often the new position is protected by many bowls that are now short of the head.
  19. If you have the luxury of a choice of bowls, wider turning bowls will have the advantage, only have narrow draw bowls then make sure you reach up to and beyond the head,.
  20. If holding be careful when drawing to add on slow greens. It is easy to add 1m too much when trying hard to be up. This can cause disturbance to the head and if you are holding you may cause the jack to move or give the shot away.

For New Bowlers

New bowlers must always practise on his/her own until he/she has completely mastered the delivery.  The moment you practise with someone your practise session will develop into a game and it will become competitive.

Rather than practising your delivery you will now be concentrating only on defeating your opponent.  This is wrong.  Remember from the beginning the perfection of your delivery should be your only aim.

Coaching – Members are available to help you improve your game by arrangement.

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