To assist you in your early games at Sorrento…..

 You will play LEAD in the team of four, joined by a Second, Third and Skip (4th) player

 As Lead you need to place the mat (ask your Skip where to place it before you start the match).

Stand on the mat to deliver the jack -no bias here! – aiming it straight along the centre line of the rink – your Skip will stand to indicating the preferred length.

If you happen to bowl it over the boundary or into the ditch, your opponent Lead player will then deliver the jack (the mat can be moved at this point if your opponent prefers).

Your Skip centres the jack and play commences.

You step up to the mat to deliver your first bowl – making sure you have the correct bias (small emblem in the centre of your body – bigger emblem outside).

To establish your “line” or direction, bowl towards the outside orange boundary peg to the right of the rink to allow for the bias of your bowl – future deliveries can then be adjusted from that point as you get to know the conditions that prevail . Wait and watch where your bowl stops so you can plan your next delivery.

Your opponent lead will then take the mat to deliver a bowl – while you prepare for your next turn – (good time to check  the bias  is correct!)

As a beginner it is best to deliver your bowls using the same hand (forehand or backhand)  Later on,  experience will enable you to change your hands at the Skips’ request, but as a Lead player your objective is to deliver your bowls as close to the jack as possible – and if not, then just behind the jack.

You are not encouraged to hit and move the jack  – leave that to the more experienced team players.

 At the conclusion of each end, the Skips will decide which team has won the shot (being closest to the jack) and indicate with their hand  – “2 shots up” or 1 shot down”.

 If your Skip indicates your side is “down” (lost the end) you are required to immediately rake up all the bowls on the green and relocate them at least one metre behind  – and to the right – of the mat (which your opponent Lead will be placing in position to deliver the jack).  You should also collect the jack and hand it to your opponent.

If your team wins the end, then you take the jack and place the mat and then deliver the jack as close as you can to where your Skid is standing .

 For safety always ensure that bowls on the green will not trip up any player  – and replace the rake up on the bank.  Often your teammates will assist you raking up the bowls and take the rake to the bank for you).

 Next you return to the green and prepare to deliver your bowl immediately your opponent has left the mat.

 Some other general guidelines:

  1. Know the rules regarding mat placement
  2. Remember where you last placed the mat
  3. Watch skipper for direction on mat placement and delivery of jack
  4. Watch skipper for direction on hand to play – although as lead you can usually choose yourself.  Don’t change hands – stay on the same hand throughout unless conditions such as extreme wind suggest otherwise.

Remember that the windy side is the wide side – you need to take more grass  while the narrow side obviously needs less.


  1.  Practise rolling the Jack

6.   Practise drawing  “on or just past” the jack – short bowls get in the way       

7.    Ignore opponents bowls and how they travel – your bowls are unlikely to perform in the same way!

 8.    Play the same side of the green – this will most likely for forehand when you are a beginner until you learn a backhand delivery.

9.    Take your time when you are on the mat – and focus on the key issues – line and length and remember to waltz – not fox-trot!

10   Remember bowls should be a fun, friendly game and every bowler will admit that no two games are the same.

Judith Mordech

Club Coach 









Latest tips from John Unmack. 


It’s time to talk about the elephant in the room.

…a distraction that most Bowlers just cannot handle.

It’s called, “I don’t like my role.”

When most Bowlers don’t like their role or don’t get the position they want, they fold.

They get frustrated and angry, lose their confidence, and implode.

By ‘implode,’ I mean they perform way below their potential.

On the surface, imploding seems dumb.

Why would you re-inforce the selectors poor image of you?

Because secretly, you want to punish them.

You’re hurt, and you want them to hurt too.

And the easiest way to do this is play bad and show no interest in the game

You guilt trip the selectors and help the team lose at the same time.

We human beings are funny creatures.

We’ll cut off our nose to spite our face.

There IS a better way to react to this distraction than sabotaging yourself.

It’s called excelling in your role, learn from the experience, try to think out-side the box


And remember two things:

1. Out of sixteen players on a team, usually only one or two are supremely happy with their role.

2. The only way to get promoted is to excel at your current role.

When you show your selectors, “I got this, ” then they will consider you for more.

Not before.

Yours in Bowls

Jack Unmack



A lot of bowlers cripple their performance by being TOO positive.

What do I mean?

Because they’ve been told by coaches, and parents, to ‘be positive’, they go into a game, expecting it to unfold well.

This is a BIG mistake.


TOUGH competitors expect to win and deliver peak performances, but they also expect major bumps along the way.

Take Slovenia’s Tina Maze, who bagged her second Alpine skiing gold of the 2014 Winter Games as she won a thrilling women’s giant slalom, just seven hundredths of a second ahead of her Austrian arch-rival Anna Fenninger.

There was a driving rain for most of the day until it turned into a blinding snowfall. Then a fog rolled in to turn a soggy day into a soupy one.

Eventually, the temperature dropped and it started to sleet.

But this didn’t faze Maze. She said: “I have learned that I don’t care if it’s rainy or sunny. I ski. And today, I knew I had to risk everything in the first run to get the lead, then try to hold it.”

The simple act of steeling yourself and being PATIENT — about circumstances, opponents, conditions – even your performance — will allow you to quickly and easily re-focus and still bring the aggressiveness you need to deliver a peak performance and win.

Using this mindset, you will be able to bring the aggressiveness you need to deliver a peak performance and win. This remains true in Bowls also. Fond regards, Jack Unmack.

Bowls Australia release new coaching accreditation video to become part of the new Coaching Reaccreditation Scheme.
The Coaches Den 
As part of its revised coaching reaccreditation policy for both introductory and club coaches nationwide, Bowls Australia have developed a new suite of online videos, entitled
‘The Coaches Den’. The Coaches Den video series, hosted by national coach Steve Glasson OAM, aims to provide coaches with an…
Pennant a Team Sport – by Pamela Bryant 
Pennant is a team sport where each member of a Team strives to achieve the goals of a Side!
There are a number of must have’s if you wish to compete at the optimum level.
Firstly – A Liberal amount of Individual and Team practice.
Achieving success requires you to come to the team or indeed any game, armed with an
ability to play all shots which, in your position you might reasonably be called upon to play.
This means that when you play a “shot” you should be able to play it with confidence
knowing you’ve played that shot umpteen times in practice and have been able to visualise
that shot every time you’ve played it.. not just “giving it a burl and see how we go” I
You should also know your percentage of success in accomplishing each and every shot in
your repertoire and only then can you bring out the “right tool for the right job”.
Can anyone tell me how many bowls they can draw within a Mat Length with say 40 bowls?
Or the percentage of direct hits on a drive?
If your practice is a social hit up, that’s the standard of play you bring to the team and your
opposition will be on to it in a flash, i.e. can’t play the forehand, can’t play shots, can’t
manage the narrow hand, can’t reach on long ends, can’t manage synthetic, can’t find a line
when the mat is moved up the green etc, etc.
It’s good if you have the dedication to practice your skills alone, and of course it’s good for
you. You will stand out as a valuable team member and bring confidence to the Team and
Side. However, if you still only want to practice in groups of 2 or more, that’s OK too, just as
long as you get out of your comfort zone and try all lengths, hands, sides, shots etc. and
learn to measure your improvement. Ideally you should be keeping a written record. If
you’re not improving, you are wasting your time.
It’s your job to work on all aspects of your game if you wish to be of value to the team.
Secondly – Good Communication
The next most important attribute in a winning team is good communication.
We all have 2 ears, 2 eyes and 1 mouth. But
It’s the Skip who has the “rite of passage” in the latter!
The Lead, Second and Third should use their eyes and ears to maximum advantage.
The Skip needs to be encouraging, positive, personable, supportive, clear, concise and
confident NO MATTER WHAT!!! Words ending in “n’t” have no place on the green (find
another way to convey it). Instead of shouting in fear “Don’t be narrow!” calmly indicate a
road into the head saying, for instance, “safe to come in here”.
Skips worth their salt should be able to draw a picture in the mind of their players and have
the trust in and of the player, to pull it off. You need to get what you ask for so take the
time to maximise the odds. (Be aware that your opposition has also been blessed with 2
eyes and 2 ears and never give too much away. i.e. “We’ve got nothing back here”, or “if
that shot goes….!”) Use your head find another way of dealing with it.
Thirdly – Confidence
Confidence really takes some work too. Expect to win as a team, not as just as an individual!
If you think you can, you will, if you think you can’t ….well you might as well be painting
your nails, because you won’t.
The Skip at the head is the only one who knows how a bowl or a jack in a head will react if
contacted and the relative distances between the bowls in the head. It is therefore
imperative that you trust your Skip’s call. If you have doubts visualizing the call, ask for
guidance. It’s no good saying after a failed shot…”Well I just couldn’t see it that way”.
The seeing and the doing of any shot should be a joint effort between the Skip and Player
or if you like the Sender and the Receiver/Exponent.
Trust and Loyalty within a team is invaluable, it builds confidence and makes the
impossible, possible.
If it isn’t happening for your team on the day and it’s simply due to Opposition’s good
fortune in experiencing a “purple patch” or “day out” (we all have ’em and the opposition
earns them too!) you still have to work vehemently to minimize the damaged to the SIDE.
Turning yourself inside out and looking for blame in your midst…won’t get the result the
other Teams in your Side deserve. Stay calm; united and confident….you never know, it
might ruffle your opponent’s feathers.
Playing a gun player should be “no sweat”, if you remember that they’re not a gun player
every day and you are not alone. Play the bowl, not the persona. There’s no reason to play
poorly just because you think you might be outclassed. Play with confidence, never dwell
on bowls that didn’t quite meet your expectations and never doubt your ability to turn it all
around with your next. Every player has the ability to influence an outcome at some time
during a match; the next moment might be yours!
The result at the end of the day is entirely in the hands of the players. All 24!
Make sure the 11 you are with have your confidence, loyalty and trust and you’ll be off to
a jolly good start!
Today we will deal with the last two Communication and Confidence!
Be aware of your position, options and how to use your players to best advantage bearing
in mind that;
The team holding shot has the following options:
• Adding another shot
• Blocking an opponent’s preferred approach to the head
• Placing a bowl in anticipation of a rearward movement of the jack
• Nudging the Jack into a less exposed position
• Dislodging one or more of an opponent’s shot saving bowls
The team not holding shot has the following options:
• Drawing for shot or to save
• Wresting shot bowls out of the count
• Movingthe jack to save or to score
• Killing the end
Find the best way of achieving the best outcome in light of the above. In short;
Be clear, concise, motivating, encouraging and guiding to whatever level may be req’d at
any given point in a game. I.e. Step up when the situation demands, or you are with new
players who haven’t quite had gelled to the team experience. Talk Player’s thru’ the shot.
Subtly impart the line, length and weight you require, as req’d thru’ a game. If you don’t ask
you won’t get, and if your player just doesn’t get it ….then neither will the scoreboard.
Think for a moment on the last time a Skip went to the head and asked you, the third to tell
her who all the bowls belong too? She doesn’t ask that does she? So why do thirds insist on
telling her? Simply they are deaf, befuddled or incapable of visualizing the position.
Train yourself to listen! Train yourself to read a head!
In this first example
“Where is fourth shot?” is being asked?
Why does the Skip want to know this/what is she planning?
In the second example
The skip should not change the leads hand, as the team is trying to dominate that hand.
There are many options available w/o changing hands. What are they?
In the third example
A good Skip if needing 2 for a draw, 3 for a win would look at this head and salivate.
What should she plan to do? What could go wrong?
In the fourth example
How many options do you have here?

Seeing & Hearing – By Pamela Bryant

The quotes “Hearing it so, can make it so”, “If you think you can, you can” and “Think it, see it, do it” are particularly relevant to the game of bowls. Skips should always explain what they require of their players. While it may be ok to wave an arm out to the left or right in some situations, it is not, in a tight situation. Players need to know, “am I trying to turn a bowl in, out, through, if so by how much or is it the jack I’m going for?  Is the bowl I’m looking for a bowl in front, a bowl behind or is it Jack high? Is the Jack touching the bowl or in fact 10 inches behind? One can’t picture a shot without having some idea of what’s up front, and where exactly he/she should be focusing their attention.

This however doesn’t mean the skip should go off drawing an entire landscape picture to confuse or delay the player at the other end. A simple “You are looking for an inside edge, a foot over” would do. The player then has a good idea of what is required and has something to visualize before stepping onto the mat. Thus “seeing” and “hearing” it, can make it so. Magic happens. PB 27/07/13

Getting the Jump….avoiding the slump! – By Pamela Bryant


-Set goals for performance in singles events, team games and pennant.

-Have an efficient and measurable improvement regime for practice.

-Have motivation to achieve a signature shot, and dominate as a draw bowler.

-Have the ability to visualise and perform the above with absolute confidence, at any time, in any conditions.

Tactics for Singles

-Play to your own strength.

-Be aware of your opponents weakness.

-Get second shot!

-Don’t lose your head (wasted shots won’t be in the count)

-Always choose the narrower hand if true, in wind consider the kindness of that wind.

-Always play the shot most likely to score.

-In tight situations (close to boundaries or ditch) just beat the oppositions bowl. (Remembering you may have to use the mat and/or narrow your line on unused grass or if playing on a ditch rink)

-Play their hand, when confidence tells you, you can.

-Play safe according to the scoreboard.

-Think it, See it, Do it!  Play the shot you have confidence in, and that which provides the best outcome or set up. 

The first thing a bowler must do in facing a new green or a new opponent is to plan and prepare for your game, before you arrive at the club.

Have some practice swings (with or without a bowl) and visualise your shots at home with confidence in the comfort of your favourite chair.

Know your strengths and weaknesses but deny the doubt.

Once at the club, observe the following;

  • What surface is it, what grass is it, and what stage of growth is it at? (Carpet runs slower in sun and heat, sand based plastic runs faster watered and slower dry)
  • The locality, where is the nearest, largest body of water?
  • What is the direction of play? (n-s, e-w or something in between)
  • What are the prevailing weather conditions?
  • In which area of the green could those conditions affect play?

Once on the green note the eccentricities of the green, and during the roll up, tick box in your mind that which you determined above before you stepped onto the green.

Next, note

  • the lay of the green (are there patches, moss, runs or edges not cut and rolled to their extremities. Learn to recognize and avoid these areas.)
  • the weather conditions, and more especially what is the truest hand, the narrow or the wide, and what makes it so.

Is it:

  • A body of water.
    • Wind/Shade/Buildings. (Special to the club).
    • Rain/Cloud/Sun. (Some patches retain more water, cloud on grass slows your bowl, cloud on carpet quickens it, grass faces the sun.)

During the roll up, observe the angle of your aiming line from the centreline say at 10ft out, it might be in the middle of the painted lines (which you can observe from both ends) or you might take it from the bank, drawing your eyes back to a 10 foot visualisation point. (You may have to visualise an imaginary centre line if the mat is up.) If you decide for instance that, 10 feet out, where the mat is behind the “T”, the angle is 1 foot; this line will remain constant for every bowl drawn to the centreline, regardless of where or how far up the green the mat is. Any movement of the mat makes looking at the bank useless.

How do I find an aiming line? (Pace)

  • 13Secs, 16Secs (See attached)
  • Draw your eyes back
  • Make sure you are comfortable. Not straining your neck.
  • Note constant angle all the way up the green.

Visualize your shot relax (take a breath) exhale and deliver. Watch your bowl right through to its dying stages, REGARDLESS OF WHERE IT FINISHES!  (Also watch the angle your opponents bowl travels (and their position on the mat) in the first ten feet, and note where it finishes. Its line may be different to yours after the first ten feet, so where it travels is of no interest at this stage.

No matter what bowl you chose to use…the first 6-10 feet of grass you take will be identical to that of any other bowl! Scary isn’t it? So if in doubt, if your opponent has it over you, and they’re finishing in the right area, watch the line their bowl takes in the first 6-10 feet! It’s a good start in clawing your way back.

(Generally – play the narrow hand as the less distance a bowl travels the less the margin for error. A bowl is more likely to finish in a favourable position, in front or behind a jack on the narrow hand but would finish wide or narrow on the wide hand. With strong cross winds on 16 second plus greens it might be expedient to play the wide hand.) (The bowl is easily blown away from the jack on the narrow hand, but on the wide hand, if you concentrate and take the correct line your bowl will travel in towards the jack)

If playing the narrow hand in strong cross winds (under 16 secs.) stand to the wide side of the mat (against the wind). I.e. if it is a left to right wind, stand to the right of the mat and vice versa.

In strong gusty winds it is sometimes better to play the wide hand or around the clock

To become a master of the wind you must practice in it, learn the effects cross winds, up and down winds, diagonal winds and gusting winds have on your pace and arc of delivery in each direction. Always play the truer hand.

Local knowledge is a good tool to have and if playing away on a very windy day BORROW YOUR OPPOSITIONS TOOLS! See what hand they choose across the rinks. How much green they’re taking, where they’re standing on the mat, and where they’re placing the mat.

I would also strongly suggest that you avoid changing your hand if you have dominated it. Get the opposition to change their hand.


 bowls etiquette