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By Mary Blake

I’m writing this on February 9th. That’s 2 full weeks before you’ll see this in your mailbox, which means things may have changed.

At this point, it’s still a slower process than many of us were hoping for, but we are getting vaccinated and there truly is a chance we’ll be able to shape a new normal. With that in mind, I thought I’d talk about bowling technique. Colourup Uniforms describes lawn bowling as a “diplomatic game that tests one’s abilities.” Pretty cool to think of ourselves as “diplomatic”!


We’ll start with the basics that most of you already know:

We play on a bowling green. Each lane is a rink.

The objective is to get the most bowls closest to the jack.

If you hold the bowl in front of you (yes, “bowl” not “ball”), you’ll see that it’s not symmetrical. One side is slightly more pointed than the other. Moving fast, the bowl goes straight. As it slows down, it’ll lean to the pointed side, causing it to curve. Throwing the bowl hard means it slows down and starts its curve later. There’s a logo on each side of the bowl. The bigger logo is on the flatter side. The smaller is on the pointed side. So, the bowl will curve towards the smaller logo. This curve is called the bias. Some bowls are designed with more bias than others.

Your first few throws will help you learn the condition of the rink, how much the bowl curves and how fast it’ll move. Then you can adjust the direction and distance as you learn the rink. Throw both forehand and backhand in both directions to understand the conditions you’re facing. We’re playing outdoors on natural grass, so conditions change from day to day and as the day warms up.

Mary Blake

There are several ways to adjust how far the bowl goes (and when it slows down to begin its curve). You can adjust the length of your stride, how far back your arm goes and how fast it moves. For example, if you want to take out an opponent’s bowl, make your stride and swing both long. The bowl will move fast and straight. Of course, if you miss the opponent’s bowl, you’ll likely end up in the ditch!

Your trainer will have worked with you on the best delivery technique for you. Some of us can get down lower than others. I can get down to one knee – it’s getting back up that’s proving difficult.

The key elements that have proven important to me are (1) to have a consistent mat position, (2) to point my toes, my nose, my shoulders, and the bowl towards my mark, and (3) to move my arm smoothly in a pendulum towards that mark. Often when people are struggling to hit their mark, different parts of their bodies are pointed in different directions.

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