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Waldegrave Park, Aldwickbury Crescent, Harpenden AL5 5SA


Free coaching is available to all new and existing members and this can be done on an individual basis or at planned coaching sessions arranged throughout the year.

For newcomers, equipment, in the first instance, will be provided and all that is asked is that if possible you bring along a pair of flat soled shoes or trainers for wearing when playing on the green. Introductory coaching sessions for all new bowlers are scheduled.

Outdoor bowlers who are bowling indoors for the first time have to modify their technique. The coaches offer a 2-hour “familiarisation” session to help them adapt.

The club has a number of coaches who are all qualified English Bowls Coaching Society or Bowls Development Alliance coaches, who can assist both beginners and experienced players who wish to improve their bowling skills. All our coaches are certified against the National DBS database. The coaches are:

Linda Burfot  

Janet Hart        
Bob Pomeroy 

Graham Martin

John Turkentine

Trevor Clark

Ann Chaplin.

To arrange coaching sessions, contact any of the club coaching team directly. Contact details are on the Coaching notice board.

Bad bowling habits are easy to pick up but very difficult to get rid of

This video demonstrates both grip and delivery technique. For Indoor Bowls reduce the backswing and step forward to adjust weight for the conditions.

This video demonstrates how to work out the aiming point for your bowls. With experience this becomes automatic.

This video shows a number of common faults we all experience at some time and is where our coaches are of great help to remedy these faults.

For showing video in full screen click on bottom right hand corner of picture. To return to normal size click 'Esc'


Better Bowling
Position in Team



Non-observance of the Laws of the Sport – such as rink possession, bad manners and poor etiquette – not only reflects on the players concerned but also on our Club.


To assist members with the Law on Rink Possession (sometimes referred to as possession of the mat) here are a few simple guidelines:


Possession of the rink belongs to the player or team whose bowl is being played; possession moves to the other player/team when your bowl stops. Please remember that when your bowl stops you should get off the mat and go behind it; if you are at the head end you must step back to a position well clear of the head (you are only allowed to go into the head to mark a toucher). If you have chased your bowl down the rink you must arrive behind the head when your bowl stops.


No information by word or signal should be transmitted from the head to the mat end after your bowl has stopped; neither should any communication take place prior to your opponents’ bowl coming to rest. You should not step onto the mat until your opponents’ bowl has stopped – even if they have vacated it.


Breaches of the Law frequently occur when players swap over during an end – such as the three and skip in a rink. If it is not your turn to bowl next you should not go into the head or have a conversation halfway up the green. It is perfectly acceptable to wait at the head until your opponent has bowled and the bowl has come to rest.


On the subject of bad manners and etiquette players should refrain from making negative comments about their opponent’s bowl – such as “asking” for it to hit an unintended bowl; “calling” it through the head or expressing any satisfactory comment that its objective failed. It might be alright to think but it’s not alright to say it.


One of the worst examples of bad etiquette is to say “thank you” if an opponent’s bowl knocks your team in for a shot or in any way gives your team an unexpected advantage. Saying “bad luck” is okay if you mean it; if you don’t then say nothing.


Spectators and persons not engaged in the game should not advise players either by word or action. (Law 58 CME)


Having a bit of fun in a rollup or gala is one thing but when playing in competition or against another club  then observation of the Laws, good manners and etiquette is essential to retain the respect of the bowling community.


Good examples of etiquette are picking up the jack or mat for your opponent, complimenting an opponent’s good shot or for a lucky wick, keeping very still and quiet whilst your opponent is bowling.


As a winner it is also good etiquette to observe the custom and practice of buying your opponent a drink after the game (tea, coffee or something stronger), equally extending the marker the same courtesy in a singles game (even if the marker was asked to mark by your opponent).



Better Bowling

Guide to Better Bowling



A “draw” shot is a bowl that uses its bias to finish as near as possible to its target. The target need not be the jack – it could be another bowl, or a specific position on the rink.

“Trailing the jack” is a shot played to take the jack back a specific distance by using more than a simple dead weight draw.

A bowl “played with Weight” is played with a specific increase in weight to target the jack, specific bowls, or to disrupt the head. The amount of extra weight added depends on the situation – for example if the object is to move a bowl by 1 metre, the added weight should be 2 metres.

The “Fire” is a bowl delivered with a lot of speed to reduce the amount of bend and to force its way into the head, usually to move the jack. Only used occasionally. This type of shot poses several questions, for example (a) What do I stand to gain? (b) What do I stand to lose? (c) What are the chances of a successful shot? (d) Is this the right time to play it?

Note that you should advise your team and your Opponents that you are about to fire so that they can be ready to avoid being hit by the bowl or by other bowls that have been hit. You should also advise your team and Opponents and players on adjacent rinks to watch out for, and pick up any bowls that are hit off the rink which could otherwise disturb the head on the next rink.


Be sure that you are able to recognise the bowls of the other players in your team. Always watch to see where your team-mates bowls come to rest; this should enable you to identify Opponents’ bowls and to know who has shot bowl, and will help you in selecting your next shot.


To have consistency in their delivery, most bowlers use “aim points” so that their line should be correct. These are usually based on the rink markings at the other end – for example, a common aim point in HDIBC is the number on the next rink. To achieve this consistency your body should be aligned to face the aim point, shoulders across the line, feet pointing towards the aim point.


When delivering the bowl, it may be physically difficult for you to look at your aim point all the time, and sometimes it seems easier to look at your feet when delivering the bowl. Unfortunately a small error here makes a large error at the other end!  In this case you should consider looking at the aim point and then drop your gaze to a convenient point on the rink closer to you but on the same line.


Another common mistake is to align yourself towards your aim point, but look at the jack during the delivery – don’t do this!  Look at the jack initially in order to assess your weight and line, but then focus on your aim point. Once delivered, it is recommended that you stay on the mat and watch your bowl until it comes to rest, to check if you need to correct weight or line for the next delivery.


When you are on the mat about to bowl, always check to see if the bowlers on the next rinks at either end are about to deliver their bowls. – If you both bowl together, there may be a clash in the middle, as bowls regularly travel out into adjacent rinks. Good etiquette would be to step off the mat until their bowl has passed the point where it would interfere with your delivery, and then return to the mat and reset yourself to deliver your bowl.



1)  Place the mat correctly by using the dots on the rink surface for alignment. The mat should be centred across the dotted line, with the front of the mat being at least 2m from the edge of the ditch.  (i.e. On or beyond the T.)

2)  Try to deliver the jack to your Skip’s directions. The Skip will normally stand where he would prefer the jack to be so as to give the lead a target guide. If the team is being more successful on a certain length then it is important to try and keep the jack casting of length as consistent as possible. If the team is uncertain of what length is most beneficial then cast the jack to a length that suits you. Most Skips will be happy at the start of a game to let the leads decide a length for themselves. Remember that to be “legal” the jack, when centred, must have travelled a minimum distance of 23 metres down the rink. This is measured from the front edge of the mat to the nearest point of the jack.

3)  Bowling the jack. – Stand on the mat with both feet pointing straight up the green, slightly apart, hold the jack in the fingers and deliver the jack as you would a bowl.

4)  If your opponent has drawn a bowl very close to the jack, do not panic and try to disturb it, just ignore it completely and pretend it is not there. It is very unusual for a Lead bowler to change hands. There are still many bowls to be played so just try and get as close as you can. Later bowlers should have a range of shots to deal with the situation.



1)  They are sometimes asked to play any type of shot, often not the ones they may wish to play themselves. They should bear in mind that the Skip is building the head and has a better view of how it is shaping up, and therefore what type of shot is required.

2)  They should advise the Skip if a head is altered – indicate the position clearly and point out any dangers to him. Don’t tell him what to play if the head has not changed. He may, of course, ask you for advice!

3)  They need to mark any touchers with chalk or spray, and identify touchers or jack in the ditch with the hanging discs.

4)  Measuring of woods in a head, if the need arises, is done by the number 2 (Triples game) or the number 3 (Rinks game). The other team players should stand well away and not interfere with this process.


1)  The Skip should use the trial ends (if played) or early ends to learn the bias of other team members bowls (and also the Opponents’ as well) to help him make decisions on what shots / hand he requests from his team. For example, if the best shot would be a wide draw into the head, but his next player has narrow bias bowls, this shot may not be feasible.

2)  The skip should try to be positive - praise good shots, do not criticise bad ones. Always encourage those who are having a bad game. (Everyone does from time to time!)

3)  All verbal instructions should be clear and if needed, use appropriate hand signals.


1)  A lot of bowlers just set a jack and practice drawing to it. In fact this has several drawbacks!

a)  This is one shot type only – what about all the others!

b)  Practicing can be tiring and counter-productive – after a while you will start to get worse.

2)  What makes more sense is to practice several types of shots, forehand and backhand, for (say) 15 minutes each, and stop after one hour. Don’t forget to practice jack delivery as well.

3)  There are many possible things to practice e.g. jack delivery, draws to different lengths, draws to offline jacks, drawing to the edge of the ditch, playing with weight, and so on. The best advice is to identify your own shortcomings and build your practice sessions around these.

If you want further advice talk to a Club Coach, who will give you ideas about what to practice. For the serious experienced players a Coach can work with the player to identify the types of training appropriate to the position the player normally plays, and also identify with the player things such as a time plan with set objectives.


Position in Team

Positions in the Team




Lead Bowler:

•  Places the mat correctly, as preferred or to Skip’s instruction.

•  Delivers the jack as preferred or as directed by the Skip. Checks that the jack is centered  before playing the first bowl. A good lead should be able to deliver a jack to any desired length.

•  Delivers his/her bowls close to the jack, ideally with one on the jack and one at the back

•  Hands the mat and the jack to the opposing lead when they have won the previous end.  This is not only courteous and good etiquette, it also speeds up the game.

 Number Two:

•  Delivers his/her bowls as directed by the Skip. It is important to watch for directions before bowling and to wait on the mat after bowling for feedback

•  Records the shots after each end, for and against, on the card provided. Opposing Twos should compare cards throughout the game, but accepted practice is to compare after 5, 10, 15 ends and at the end of the match (NOTE: In Outdoor Bowling this is done by the Skip).

Number Three:

•  Delivers his/her woods as directed

•  When at the Head, becomes Acting Skip, providing information & advice from the Head to his Skip on the mat (observing Rule 13 about Possession of the Rink – see below).

•  Agrees with the opposing Number Three the number of shots scored at the finish of each end. Normally, the losing Three does any necessary measuring and removes any bowls in the count. The same player should ensure that the head is not disturbed until both sides have agreed the total shot count.


•  Takes charge of the team, directs play (observing Rule 13 about Possession of the Rink, - see below) builds the Head and decides on tactics.

•  Instills confidence in the other three team members, encourages them & sets a good example, especially when things are going badly for the team. Avoids showing displeasure, remembering that no-one ever bowls a bad wood on purpose.



Lead Bowler:  As for Rinks Lead Bowler

•  Number Two:  As for Rinks Number 3 Bowler, but also keeps the Scorecard

•  Skip:   As for Rinks Skip

Rule 13: Possession of the Rink

A brief summary of this rule is that when side A’s bowl has come to rest, possession of the rink passes immediately to side B. Until the bowl of side B comes to rest, the only side that can communicate with each other from the mat to the head and vice versa is side B. When side B’s bowl has come to rest, possession of the rink passes immediately to side A, and so on.





1. The Marker has several responsibilities in a singles game including: ensuring the rules of the game are being met (e.g. the jack has travelled at least the required 23m), acting as the eyes of the Players, and when requested, giving information about the state of play, measuring, and filling out the Scorecard.

2. You should have the following with you: a Scorecard, a spare Scorecard, a working pen, chalk or chalk-spray, a cloth, a measure, wedges, and a coin to toss.

3. Before the start you should check the Players’ names, identify who is the Challenger, and fill in the details on the Scorecard. The Challenger is in the HOME column, and the Challenger uses the HOME side of the Scoreboard, irrespective of who wins the toss.  Note if there is any Handicap to be applied, and whether the Match is the full 21 shots, or on ends played or on a timed basis.

4. Identify each Players bowls, and agree the following with them: that you have their permission to remove dead bowls from the ditch or adjacent rinks, request they both tell you if they are going to fire, and advise them you will mark touchers before the next bowl is delivered.

5. Apart from when the rules are being infringed (e.g. mat is not correct, jack is not 23m), inform both Players you will only communicate with them when they ask for information.  You must remember to be alert, decisive and unobtrusive at all times.  Markers should be seen and not heard.  Do not show any reaction to shots played. Only measure when asked to do so.

6. Toss a coin to see who has the mat on the first end.  If the Match is timed, note the start time.

7. If there are trial ends, indicate the length of each bowl and remove the bowls once they come to rest.

8. During play, stand well behind the jack and to one side. Stand still while a player is bowling but you may move when the bowl is in motion e.g. to check if an incoming bowl may be a toucher that needs marking with chalk, or to prevent a wayward bowl disturbing the head on the next rink.

9. You must keep the Players informed of the score and alter the Scoreboard when you are at the Scoreboard end. The Players may agree to alter the Scoreboard when they are at the Scoreboard end to save time.

10. When asked a question about the head you should give the information requested in reasonable depth:  e.g. if asked “Am I holding?” You might reply “No, you have second bowl, (pointing to it) but this (pointing to the Opponents’ bowl) is the shot bowl.”  If you have any doubt, indicate that a measure is needed.

11. Mark any toucher quickly before the next bowl is delivered.  Remove any non-touchers that go in the ditch and any bowl that stops off the side of the rink.  If the jack and/or a toucher go into the ditch, place the coloured discs directly behind them on the bank.

12. If asked to measure use the wedges to prevent bowls falling and changing their relative positions. You are not allowed to remove any bowls from the head – if you need to remove a bowl which is in the way of your measuring or wish to remove bowls which have been agreed by the

 Players, ask one of them to do this.

13. If it is a very tight measure and the Players cannot agree on the shot, either call in an Umpire or an experienced player from another rink to re-measure. The Players and the Marker should stand well away from the head while the Umpire is measuring.  The Umpire’s decision is final.

14. You must wait until the Players have agreed the shots before marking the Card or leaving the head.

15. At the end, put the final score and the time the game finished at the bottom of the Scorecard and ensure both Players sign the Scorecard.  Place it in the appropriate box on the Concourse and update the Competition Sheet.