NOTES FOR BEGINNERS
Delivery of bowl
Adopt a relaxed bowling action.
Important to be balanced at point of delivery (placing the non-bowling arm on the leading
Action should be smooth and consistent.
Aim to deliver the bowl close to the ground – try not to bounce it.
Eyes should look along the line the jack has taken.
Delivery arm should be like a pendulum – smooth and straight with an open palm follow
Stand on the mat and watch the jack, and bowl, until it stops.
Deliver the jack with the same care as the bowl.
When bowling the jack have your bowl in your non-bowling hand.
If bowling a right hander, stand behind his/her right shoulder so you can carefully watch the
line of the jack (left hander stand behind the left shoulder).
TAKE YOUR TIME
Choosing a mark
Two options. Either choose a mark off the green (e.g. bush, edge of bench etc.) or on the
green say four or more yards from the mat.
Mark off the green- advantage: not likely to forget
- disadvantage: can’t be sure if you hit the mark
Mark on the green - advantage: clearly see if it went over the mark or not
- disadvantage: may forget the mark when bowling
The choice is yours so try both.
It is very easy to get in to a habit of predominantly bowling thumb, or short marks, or
straight marks, or to particular parts of the green. So it is important when practising to bowl
- straight marks and round marks
- finger and thumb
- short marks (minimum 19 metres) and long marks (corner to corner is approximately 50
- up and down the sides of the green
- across the green – although probably to initially avoid going exactly over the crown and so
bowl 5+ yards to the left or right of it.
Tips on bowling
Choose a mark
- Choose where you want to bowl – not just a space because it is unoccupied.
Get in first
- concentrate on getting a good first bowl. If your first bowl is not good learn from the error
- what went wrong and adjust for your next bowl.
Change the mark
- If your opponent has had success at a number of previous ends and then you win the
jack, change the direction and length.
Follow the jack line
- Face and follow the line the jack has travelled and not your opponents bowl.
Beat the last bowl
- If your opponent’s last bowl is a leading shot you win if you beat it so concentrate on
beating it rather than trying to get your bowl as near as possible to the jack.
Find the pace of the green
- Establish the fast and slow parts of the green.
Try not give your opponents two’s
- Scoring two’s at each end soon rattles up the points so if your opponents has one bowl
near the jack and one some way from it, make sure that you beat at least the furthest away
Know your opponent
- Do they like - long or short marks
- Straight or round marks
- To go along the edge of the green or over the crown
- Do they like going corner to corner?
A few Laws of the Game
A mark is set by the bowler bowling the jack to rest on the green a distance of at least 19
A bowl to count must be delivered a minimum of 3 metres (and rest on the green).
At the start of the game the mat must be within 3 metres of the entrance of the green and
one metre from the edge.
The player bowling the jack must allow the opponent to see what bias – finger or thumb –
has been chosen (many of us also verbally inform our opponent).
Scoring – the winner of an end is the player whose bowl is on the green and nearest to the
jack. One point is scored for each nearest bowl.
The bowler winning the end has the jack for the next end.
If the jack is impeded or stops on the land of other players it must be returned (bowlers
shout ‘jack-up’). If two jacks are bowled near the same place the one which stops last is
Verbal objection to a mark must be made by the opponent only after the jack and first bowl
has been bowled. If the mark is less than 19 metres or the jack is bowled off the green the
opponent is entitled to set the mark but the first bowl is bowled by the bowler who failed to
set the mark.
A player’s foot must be on the mat when delivering the jack or bowl. A player playing the
right foot on the mat must play with the right hands (left foot on the mat, play with left
If a bowler bowls a bowl out of turn it must be returned to be played in its proper turn.
If a player delivers another players bowl it must be returned and the offender forfeits his
A bowl bowled before the jack (or preceding bowl) has stopped shall be forfeited.
A moving ball if impeded shall be returned to the bowler sending it.
If a jack is knocked off the green by a bowl, the end is dead. The mat shall then be placed
one metre from where the jack went off the green.
All bowls bowled off the green, even if first hitting the jack, are dead and cannot count.
If a player touches or moves a still jack before the points for that end have been agreed
then all the bowls of the offenders are forfeited.
When an end is being measured all players must stand away and not interfere with the
No persons other than the measurers when required to measure are allowed on the green.
Scorers must sit together and agree the score every three ends and at the end of the game.
Most leagues require scores to be agree every five ends and do not insist that scorers must
Jacks shall be ‘2 full bias’ and be black or yellow and retested at not more than 7 yearly
WHAT MAKES A DECENT PLAYER?
A little talent.
Lots of practice, concentration and consistency.