LIFT YOUR GAME
Almost every bowler who ever played the game of lawn bowls has a burning desire to raise the standard of his or her current level, and why not? What’s the secret then, how does one go about raising a standard that may have existed for many years.
The first requisite is to stand back and have a good long look at exactly what you have been doing. Are you ambitious? Have there been changes to the standard, pace and type of greens on which you play the majority of your bowls? Are your current bowls adequate? Are you fit enough? How often do you practice? Is your practice organised or do you just turn up for a roll once or twice a week with whoever is available? Perhaps a minor or even radical change to your delivery or thinking may be necessary!
TECHNIQUE – HOW IMPORTANT IS IT?
Having just watched Ian Taylor (yes, the one we’ve watched on television with that queer delivery) play a brilliant game of bowls a fellow spectator remarked, “we may as well toss our coaching manuals out the window.” “Not so,” I replied,
- with a smooth rhythmical delivery he may have played even better
- He may play that way even more often (greater consistency)
- He could play top bowls for many years to come!
In Australia we are known for our good and even classical deliveries but we must learn to cultivate our rhythm, smoothness, balance and co-ordination during many hours of organised and dedicated practice so that we are “in the groove” when match time comes around.
My apologies to the lady bowlers in Victoria as I’m not familiar with the deliveries of our elite performers but I have had the pleasure of watching and playing against Australian representatives such as Daphne Shaw and Karen Murphy, two of our most successful lady bowlers and both have excellent deliveries which allow them to perform consistently at the top level.
Having played my bowls in an era where most of the tournaments were won by bowlers with orthodox or even classical deliveries like those of Bob King, Denis Dalton, Denis Katuna-Rich and Geoff Oakley. Unfortunately one can become proficient with an unorthodox delivery but I find that this only occurs in bowlers who spend upwards of twenty hours a week at practice, and that is on top of their tournament schedule.
There has been very little learnt about technique in the past hundred years so, having cultivated an orthodox delivery you must then look to changes in your mental approach to gain ascendancy over an opponent. This can be done through the utilization of the many cassette tapes and books available on the subject. This subject will be covered in greater detail later in the series.
Lastly, I suggest you indulge in a little homework. Every three or four weeks you should write a list of all the facts (good or bad) about your game, particularly with matters covered in earlier paragraphs. Having completed this exercise without referring to your previous list , you can then make comparisons. Don’t wait until you run into a bad patch of form as it is more important to study your thoughts and action when you are in good form. You’ll be surprised at the number of minor and even major points you have missed since the last appraisal
Follow the points covered and I feel sure you will lift your game and play WINNING BOWLS