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ETIQUETTE – Who needs it?

The simple answer is we all do.

If we all understand and comply with a common code of good behavior the result is a happy club of cheerful people having a good time. With the introduction of several new members to the club recently, now would seem to be a good time to remind ourselves how we are expected to behave.

We should be proud of our club and do nothing to bring it into disrepute.

We should all play our part in the smooth and successful running of the club.

Help the committee do their job when you can or have something you can offer. Remember that they give freely of their time to run the club for the benefit of all. Remember that your club survives on the subscriptions and match fees you pay and the money you and your visitors spend on the raffle.

Support your club and in return you will have many years of enjoyment playing the wonderful game of bowls.

Follow the club dress code for matches and casual play.

Be punctual for matches – 2.30pm start means that the game starts then and you should attempt to arrive some 20 minutes or so at least before the game to allow time for changing. Also this will alleviate any anxiety the captain may be feeling as to whether he/she has a full team or not.

At the start of the game skips should introduce their team to their opponents.

Make a point of trying to remember your opponent’s name and use it freely to create a friendly atmosphere.

During the game when your opponent is on the mat do nothing to distract them. Above all keep quiet and don’t carry on a conversation behind the mat.

Wait until the game is over and socialize in the pavilion or over the tea and biscuits. Stand at least a metre behind the mat and slightly to the side.

Make sure all the bowls are also behind the mat in a safe place to avoid the bowler stepping back and having an accident.

Concentrate on your own game so that you know what is happening and be ready to bowl when it is your turn.

Listen to your skip’s instructions and do your best to follow them even if you don’t understand why he/she is calling for a particular shot.

When standing at the head do nothing to distract the bowler on the mat.

Stand behind the head and to one side, not directly behind the jack.

Keep still and don’t wave your hands about or fidget and chat to people on the next rink. Concentrate on what is happening on your rink and be ready to stop wayward bowls from going on to the next rink.

Be ready to take evasive action if a firing shot is played.

Let the No.3 do his/her job in deciding the outcome of the end and try not to interfere.

Bowls is an enjoyable game usually devoid of any “agro”.

We should be courteous to our visitors acting as good hosts.

If your opponent bowls a good bowl acknowledge it in some way.

If you have a lucky bowl, acknowledge it. Similarly, don’t react badly when your opponent has a lucky result.

Remain composed and don’t let it affect your game or demeanor.


As a lead in a triples or fours game if it is obvious that you have the shot, fetch the mat and be prepared to put it down where the skip directs whilst the other bowlers shepherd the bowls back to behind the mat. You should always put the mat down where your skip dictates. Don’t decide to move the mat just for a change or the fun of it. Try to find the best hand on the trial ends and stick to it unless you are struggling for consistency. Your job is to lay the foundation of the head by getting your bowls close to the jack. Often a rink will be a different pace on each side and you may be more consistent if you just bowl up and down one side of the rink. Try to bowl the jack to the length your skip wants. Don’t just toss it down the green any old how. Casting the jack to the right length can determine the course of a game and can be more important in team games than where your bowls end up.

As number two your job is to cover for any failings of the lead or to consolidate the position. You may even be asked to bowl a positional bowl. This is just as important as bowling to the jack so concentrate and do your best to get your bowl where the skip wants it. Try and keep a neat, legible card. At the completion of each end remember to write the score down straight away, change the scoreboard and check your card with your opponent. Keep the card in your possession at all times. Don’t leave it at the end of the rink or give it to a spectator to look after! At the end of the game give your card to your skip for signing and retention.

As number three you will be one of the more experienced bowlers – your skip’s right hand man/lady. You may feel you know better or are a better bowler but you should work with your skip at all times and not fight against him/her. As a general rule give advice only when asked but convey significant changes to the head. Answer any questions clearly and unambiguously. If the skip wants to know where the second bowl is tell him/her. Don’t give a description of whose bowl is where! Remember that the skip has been standing at the head watching it build up and should know what it looks like. Don’t spend ages staring at the head trying to decide the outcome of the end. If it isn’t obvious straight away get the measure out and get on with it. Take care that you agree the number of shots with your opposite number as each bowl is removed from the head. You may find it useful to put them together in a group or on a duster or towel.

As skip you are the captain of the rink and should have a good appreciation of the finer points of the game. You should be a good man manager, know the strengths and weaknesses of your players and lead by example. Don’t fidget, go walk about or chat to the people on the next rink when you should be concentrating on your own game and giving your players every chance to bowl well. Don’t show your displeasure or frustration with your bowlers. Find something good to say or don’t say anything at all. Encourage them at all times. Let them know how far short or through they are but remember the law on possession of the rink. You shouldn’t continue giving information when your team’s bowl has come to rest.


Delivery Analysis (Coach Check List)


  • · the bowler has a comfortable and relaxed stance with their  body weight evenly distributed.


  • · the shoulders are square to the line of delivery and the shoulder of the delivery arm does not drop.


  • · feet are facing the line of delivery.


  • · the bowl is not held in the middle of the body.


  • · eyes are focussed on the line of delivery.


  • · the thumb is in a comfortable position and controlling the jack or bowl.


  • · the transfer of body weight is coordinated.


  • · the bowling arm stays close to the side of the body.


  • · the non-bowling arm is not causing an unbalancing action.


  • · the forward step is along the line of delivery.


  • · the forward step is a comfortable length, neither too long nor too short.


  • · the back leg is relaxed and balanced.


  • · the delivery arm comes straight through on the line of delivery.


  • · the bowler is not over stretching and/or over reaching.


  • · the whole delivery action is not too fast