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Introduction to Bowls


(see coaching videos at


Line up the mat with the centre line of the rink by following instructions from skip at the other end. The front of the mat must be at least 2 meters from the near ditch and 25 meters from the far ditch. (yellow markers at sides of green indicate these distances). Deliver the jack (see below) and line it up with the centre line by giving skip directions. The jack must be 23 meters from the front of the mat (again, yellow markers on the sides of the green are used as a reference or measure if necessary). The jack must also be at least 2 meters from the far ditch. If it goes beyond 2 meters short then the skip will reposition it on 2 meters before you line it up. If it goes in the ditch or is not 23 meters from the mat it is returned for your opponent to throw but it is still your turn to bowl. 

Line of delivery

Bowls have a bias which means they don’t run in a straight line, they curve as they roll. Get to know the bias of your bowls by initially aiming straight at the jack and noting where the bowl ends up. This will give you an indication of where you need to aim to reach the jack. i.e. if the bowl ends up 2 feet to the left of the jack then you need to aim at a point two feet to the right of the jack in order to reach it.

Correct Delivery 

Stand on the mat, feet together, knees and waist bent slightly

Comfortable and relaxed stance – weight evenly distributed

Feet facing the line of delivery

Pendulum action of bowling arm along line of delivery

Arm swings back along line of delivery

Forward step along line of delivery

Smooth arm action close to side of body

Follow through along line of delivery

Roll bowl along the ground making sure you don’t bounce it

Glossary of some of the terms in bowling

Green – this is the name for the complete area of grass used 

Rink – this is the portion of the green used in a game. There are usually 6 rinks on a green. They run N/S or W/E alternately in order to achieve even wear.

Aiming point – some players use a point in the distance at one side of the jack which they aim at in order to reach the jack. Others will visualise the arc of the bowl.

End – A game is divided into ends with bowlers bowling in the same direction. After each end the direction of play changes.

Head – area around the jack

Jack High – when the bowl is level with the jack 

Triples – a game with 3 players on each side

Rinks – a game with 4 players on each side

Lead – the player to place the mat, throw the jack, level it and bowl first. This player also collects woods if his/her team loses the end.

Skip – player that plays last and stands at the receiving end until it is his/her turn. Directs the other players from the head.

Player 2 – can update the score board and share the collecting of the woods at the end of an end. In Triples this player directs the skip and does the measuring.

Player 3 – in Rinks this player directs the skip and does the measuring.