Beginners Hints & Tips

The following checklist is intended as a reminder of the key points from your coaching course and is broken down into the main skills elements of bowling

Grip • Cradle or Claw? – whichever is most comfortable

• Support the bowl with the thumb and little finger
• Maintain a positive grip without tension (a grippo product may help here)
• Check fingers are in line with the running surface of the bowl
• Check the bias; fat side (small circle) should face the inside /centre of the rink


• Decide whether bowling forehand or backhand
• Maintain a comfortable relaxed stance; weight evenly distributed
• Feet together on the mat and in the direction of the line of delivery
• Shoulders square to the line of delivery
• Eyes focused on the point of aim Delivery
• Knees bent and relaxed
• Step forward towards the point of aim
• At the same time extend the bowling arm backwards to prepare for delivery
• It can help to place the non-bowling hand on the forward knee to give support
• Back leg should be relaxed and balanced
• Deliver the bowl with a long straight pendulum arm action
• Follow - through (exaggerate action) and extend the arm straight - along the line of delivery
• Finish with the fingers & hand pointing towards the point of aim
• Hold the position for a few moments and watch the bowl all the way
• Avoid swinging your arm across the body and towards the jack
• Have faith in your woods – they will turn towards the jack if delivered correctly

Adjusting Line

• Did it go along the line of aim?
• Did it finish where you wanted it?
• Adjust the POINT OF AIM accordingly for the next bowl (remember you will have 4 points of aim - 1 each for forehand and backhand in each direction) !

Adjusting Length / Weight To Bowl Longer - ‘higher and faster’ - particularly on Slow and heavy greens

• Take a longer step
• Extend the length of the pendulum arm swing
• Increase the arm speed and length of the follow-through - body weight pushing through and forward
• Avoid turning the wrist - flicking the wrist, however, can increase the speed and length

To Bowl Shorter - ‘lower & slower’ - particularly indoors and 21 on fast outdoor greens

• Bend the knees lower
• Take a shorter step
• Slow down the arm action
• Reduce the length of the pendulum swing
• It’s all about ‘feel’ – try to adjust your ‘weight’ and delivery accordingly Green Conditions
• The weather and condition of the green can significantly affect both line and length of your delivery
• A wet/damp green will slow the woods and require more effort to deliver to the required length
• A wet/damp green will also cause the woods not to turn as much and a narrower line may be required
• The converse is true if a green is dry – woods run quicker and the bias is more significant
• A green which hasn’t been cut recently can have similar effects to a wet green

Rink Conditions

• Even on the same green, rinks can play differently according to their unique undulations and characteristics
• Knowing how a particular rink ‘plays’ can be a considerable advantage
• When playing a game, look at the line being taken by other players woods - it will give an indication of how a rink ‘swings’ or not as the case may be

Final Thoughts

• Above all keep practicing and enjoy your bowling. Remember if it doesn’t seem to be quite working for you, don’t give up – just go back to basics and make sure you’re not developing any bad habits.
• If you’re not sure what you’re doing wrong, have someone check out your delivery etc. Paul and Vic ALWAYS pleased to help when available.
• Even top professionals have their own coaches to do just that!


When you have been playing a while then you will, we are sure, wish to purchase a variety of clothing and equipment e.g.
• Polo Shirts (White or Team Colours)
• Trousers / skirts (Grey) White for Finals Days or representative matches
• Shoes - flat & smooth soled (can buy brown, white , grey - personal choice)
• Bowls measure • “Grippo “- several forms of this with varying names
• Waterproofs (White) - worth spending well here as playing in the rain is not pleasant so a good set is a good investment


• Bowls are the most difficult and most expensive item to purchase (£180 - £300 new)
• Do not rush into buying your own until you have tried several sets ( borrow from fellow bowlers for a few roll-ups)
• Decide on best, most comfortable size, weight, grip, bias & colour (coloured bowls cost an additional £30 - £50)
• There are several main bowls manufacturers (they all have good web sites) and each one has a choice of sizes from 0-0 up to size 5
• Each manufacturer also has a wide choice of Bias a bowl takes (personal preference and bowling conditions may dictate choice) Many people own 2 sets - one for outdoors and another for indoors
• Some people prefer a bowl with a narrower bias others prefer a bowl which has a wider swing or variants in between.
• Each manufacturer will have a chart showing the differing bias each of their bowls makes
• The 4 main Manufacturers ( they also sell clothing and equipment) are :-


Once you have an idea of the size , make and model of bowl which you may like then it is well worth checking out EBAY and making a reasonable ‘bid’ You may pick up some from as little as £50 to maybe just around £100 This is certainly worth considering before paying out several times more on NEW.

Bowls equipment shops are usually found by searching via ‘GOOGLE’ where you can shop around. There is a good shop in Nottingham which is competitive on prices and on guidance and advice - The Bowls Shop, Peppercorn Drive , Nottingham - They have a website Hope this helps - please ask Vic or Paul for any help at any time.

More Reading

There are many books available covering the game of bowls and greater detail of the above summary. If you are inclined I recommend a few which can of course be loaned from the Public Library (if they don't have it they can get it!)

• Bowls Magazines - BOWLS INTERNATIONAL - a monthly magazine - these are sometimes left in the pavilion for you to browse
• ‘Its Just A Draw’ by Peter Miles ( free on internet)
• ‘How to Play Bowls’ - James Medlicott
• ‘Bowl to Win’ - David Bryant & Tony Allcock
• ‘Bowl With Bryant’ Step by Step with the world master David Bryant
• Dave Bryant wrote an earlier book but not sure of title Worth a look on ‘You Tube’ for coaching tips and actual matches

———————- never stop learning, watching, practicing ———————



Most games you play will be as part of a TEAM. Teams can consist of 4 RINKS of say 3 players each rink vs 3 from an opposition Team
The team will be divided into 4 rinks with 3 players on each rink usually having 2 bowls each.. Each rink will have a LEAD, PIN (or number 2) & a SKIP

The Captains will toss a coin to decide who plays first. The LEADS from each team then play their bowls in turn - the lead from team winning the toss will deliver the jack to a length favourable to their Rink. The SKIP who is at the jack end of the rink will advise on how far or how short your bowls are before you bowl your next bowl. The LEADS then have started to create ‘THE HEAD’ of bowls.

Depending on the state of the ‘head’ the skip will advise the PIN on what shot to attempt. It may be to ‘draw near the jack, or play a positional bowl possibly behind the head or to rest on one of the opponents bowls.

When the 2 PINS have played their bowls the LEAD & PIN swap places with the SKIPS. The PIN then provides information to the skip if needed on placement of bowls if the shape oh the ‘HEAD’ has altered since he saw it.

The SKIP may need to CONSOLIDATE the position. He/she may want to draw for shot if the opponents are holding ‘shot’, or may want to add another shot or counter if already holding shot, may need to place a positional bowl, may need to play a ‘running’ ‘take-out’ bowl or even a heavily weighted FIRING shot if all other options seem less likely to get a result.

Dropping/losing ONE shot in an end is sometimes better than dropping several shots so avoid a reckless shot where you could end up removing your closest bowls and giving away a high score.


Some team games consist of 2 players on each rink (sometimes with 2 bowls each or 4 bowls each), 3 players with 3 bowls each per rink, 4 players on each rink. Games are usually played to a set number of ENDS - could be 18, 21, 25 or 31.


Games are usually played to the FIRST player reaching 21 SHOTS. A MARKER is needed when playing singles who centres the jack , answers any questions the players may ask e.g. “which bowl is shot please” or how short is a particular bowl etc etc. The marker only answers the question and not give additional un asked for information. The marker remains impartial and shouldn't clap or praise the bowlers. The marker stands well behind the Jack and to the side keeping still when the bowlers are on the mat. The marker usually measures at the completion of an END, if needed, and then advises both players who he/she feels is laying ‘shot’ - he/she must not remove the bowls (only UMPIRES in tournaments are allowed to do this as their decision on who is shot is final). The players have to then agree but may ask for a re-measure - the players can then remove the bowls to play the next end. The winning player from each end delivers the JACK for the next end. The marker then updates the score board and score card and occasionally informs both players of the score as the game progresses.


Farnsfield Bowling Club is a happy club where many friendships have been formed. Social evenings are held throughout the winter months and SHORT MAT BOWLING held every Tuesday afternoon in the pavilion - format being much like the Tuesday afternoon roll-ups throughout the summer.

There are 7 Leagues you may wish to consider when you are ready to take part in more competitive games as well as regular FRIENDLY matches which is a good place to start.

There are a range of Club Competitions which are eagerly fought over the summer months and finish on FINALS DAY in September followed by Club Presentations 2 weeks after Finals day.

So, the club & the game offers something for everyone - ENJOY ALL IT HAS TO OFFER !!!