Coaching is a very important part of any Sport and Bowls is no exception. Not just International level, but at all levels from the Beginner to the Top. Ideally there should be an Instructor or Coach in every Club able to teach the wide variety of people who play Bowls.
ARTICLE FOR VALENCIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS MAGAZINE
When I became a Coach some 20 years ago, little did I know what path it would take me.
Within a year I became the Hampshire County Coach. I also became part of the English Bowls Coaching Scheme Seminars, which took me all over England. So you could say that I have some experience. I came to Spain in 2001, I decided that I was just going to be a bowler the same as everyone else and enjoy my retirement. You know how it goes. Someone asks you how long you’ve been playing bowls, what County did you bowl for, have you won anything etc...... Then someone from your County recognises you and that’s it. It doesn’t take long to get around. So, when I was asked to do some Coaching in my Club, I couldn’t refuse. Not that I would anyway. I eventually became the Spanish National Coach in January 2008. Since I have been in Spain I am amazed at the diverse perception of this game of ours. People put so much emphasis on the Jack & forget the wider picture. You need to build a head for all eventualities. Look at what you’ll lose if it goes wrong. Don’t be greedy. It looks good holding five shots, but what have you got covering the back? A skip against you with the last Bowl of the end is a dangerous person. A heavy bowl through the head and you’ve just lost five shots. NO back bowls!!! Bowls is like a game of Chess, you need to watch every move and be prepared for the unexpected. A lot of people ask me to teach them Weight and Consistency. These are 2 things you cannot teach. Practice and concentration are the key to consistency and Weight control. In practice you should set up two or three jacks at different lengths. Short, medium and Long. Bowl to each length alternately using backhand and forehand. What works for me may not work for you. Everybody has different ways of delivering and standing on the mat. A few suggestions are: Take a smaller/longer step. Take your arm back further for the longer jack. Speed up your arm swing to give more momentum for a long jack and slow it down for a short jack. All these things can be practiced until you find something that works for you. When you have found it, stick with it and practice it until it becomes part of you. Concentration is a personal thing. Some people will stand and take deep breaths, others will have something that triggers them. Nobody can concentrate for a whole 18 ends. So long as you are concentrating when it’s your turn to bowl that should be sufficient. You should also be watching the progress of the game. Most people get the 9/10 end slump in a game. This is due to a few factors. Dehydration, lack of concentration, lack of energy, too much chat. The best thing to do is take a toilet break. Refocus on your game. A Banana is a good source of quick energy, also sweets like jellies are a good source of sugar.
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