As we work our way to the start of the new season, I found some useful coaching tips from the bowls360 web site (www.bowls360.com.au).
I’m sure if we worked on a few of these between now and the start of the season, it will stand us in good stead.
COACHING CLINIC #1 – FLIPPING/DUMPING
This is a common fault among the newer bowlers and lower graders. When corrected, the bowler will improve most basics, which will make bowling more enjoyable.
The cause is mainly due to:
1 – too upright in stance and delivery (which does not allow delivery extension to take place.
2 – backswing too short
3 – delivery extension short and jerky
4 – the light fingertip grip, is negated by flipping action at release
5 – bowl is rarely grounded on its level plain.
6 – delivery weight difficult to achieve.
Grip – bring bowl back into palm of hand [palm grip], allow fingers to settle in a comfortable position. Do not worry about little finger up the side of bowl, do not allow thumb to get high on bowl, let it rest, and relaxed on or below the rings.
Set up in a lower position bending at the hips with eyes over your feet.
Now practice pendulum swing starting at belly button height, swinging close to hip, and going back approximately 2 feet in height.
Now, very important, before delivery:
1 – check ‘grip’
2 – check line of delivery.
3 – lock elbow to straighten arm. [keep arm straight throughout delivery]
4 – bend forward at waist, eyes over feet.
5 – step with your normal walking step, lowering body down and thru into the release of the bowl.
6 – extend the arm at release in line with line of delivery
Note: use a slow backswing and firm but smooth extension and release
Note: at your first practice attempt, just start with:
1 – grip
2 – lower your body at the hip
3 – start swing at belly height
4 – take normal walking step
5 -make sure you extend delivery arm, be positive.
Getting the basics right is the start for a good correction.
COACHING CLINIC #2 – Line of delivery
Last clinic hopefully helped eliminate the flip/dump. I will assume for those who tried the exercise that you have improved in this part of your game.
In this clinic I will hopefully help to establish “Line of Delivery”
By the way of explanation, there are a couple of set-up procedures to perform to help in the set-up of the angle of direction from the mat.
1 – Stand behind the mat (NOT ON THE MAT). Standing behind gives you a better elongated view along the line selected.
2 – Using the opposite end bank, select a point in line with your selected line, say 1/2 way between the rink marker & rink defining peg.
3 – Now, place your “Anchor foot” on the mat pointing at the bank mark you selected in #2. Note: To establish the line, lean your body back so the body is behind the leading foot. If you are standing on the mat, with an upright stance, this will restrict the way you look up the line you are trying to setup. Note: A 5% angle turn of foot is approx. 2 mtr distance off line at the other end
4 – Now you are set-up, make sure your shoulders are square to the line of delivery. Bring your eyes back on the delivery line to a point approximately 3 times your body height (say 5-6 mtrs in front). This becomes your ‘Stare Point’. Check your distance to target area, sight the ‘Stare Point’ again and deliver the bowl OVER this point. Do not take your eyes off the ‘Stare Point’ until the bowl is well past that point.
In other words, STAY DOWN THROUGHOUT THE DELIVERY.
I hope this helps you to establish that evasive delivery line.
COACHING CLINIC #3 – CONSISTENCY TEST
Remember: The successful team is the one that is most ‘Consistent’ and so makes the least mistakes.
Setup – Use 4 jacks or 2 half tennis balls
1 – Place 1 jack on the Tee, the 2nd jack on the centre line (say 5-10 metres from Tee)
2 – Place the other 2 jacks on either side of the centre line, approximately 20 metres from the Tee. Change the off set jacks after each end so the line changes each set.
3 – Mat is always on the Tee
1 – Draw to the back jack
2 – Then bowl to a shorter jack (on the centre line)
3 – Then bowl to one of the Off Centre jacks
4 – Then bowl to the other Off Centre jack (one on the left, one on the right)
All 4 bowls are first played on your forehand. Score according to your proximity to the jack. Thus, you are trying to achieve your best result with your first bowl, retrieve your bowls and now bowl on the back hand (from the same end).
Re-bowl any bowl outside 3 mat lengths, retrieve them and play again, this is your penalty for a bad bowl.
You cannot gauge your improvement unless you score. A normal score card can be used. Record your scores and aim to improve each time you practice. Score how many you get closer than 3 mat lengths on your first go. Don’t overdo it, bowling around 10 ends should do this one.
The difference between a club bowler and a representative bowler is “practice”. Bowls is a game where you make your own luck. This is done by practicing the difficult shots, repeatedly.
The rep bowler will practice these ‘lucky’ shots often enough to become confident when required to play them.
We must realise that ‘luck’ begins only when the bowl reaches the head or target. To practice all shots, attention must be given to the weight required to achieve the objective.
A training method for this is:
1 – Place a marker [cd / plastic cup/cotton ball etc.] at a predetermined distance on the running line then place on each side 1 mat width another marker to create a “gate way’ for bowl to pass through.
2 – Now place another marker 1 mat length behind the target. The exercise is to play your bowl through the gate, /over the marker/ but bowl must not pass the back marker
Many bowlers play this shot with too much weight. This exercise requires weight and exceptionally good line. Once you improve on this shot, your overall weight/line will improve.
My advice is to practice repeating shots that worry you most. Spend practice time on 1 or 2 shots at a time until you are confident if called to do such shot.
Leads should practice “not to cross the centre line” – you will be surprised how more times you will be closer to the jack and remember , play to get “close” – get your bowl, within 1 1/2 mat widths [450 cm] or 18 inches. If you can, you have done your job well.