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Last Updated 19/10/18

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Etiquette and Sportsmanship

1. Good sportsmanship in bowls is simply, the practice of good old-fashioned etiquette.

2. Read the “Laws of the Game” and be conversant with them.

3. Start by shaking hands with your opponents at the beginning and end of a game.

4. When playing in Pairs, Triples or Fours and you are not the Skip, always remember it is a team game. There is only one person in command, so mould your play to their wishes. Pay attention to the Skip’s instructions. Four players, no matter how good, playing their own games will never be a really successful side.

5. Skips and the third person should also remember that it’s a team game and involve the Lead and Second.

6. Having delivered your bowl, do not wander onto the adjacent rink in order to watch the progress of your bowl.

7. When playing Lead or Second in a four, encourage your third person and Skip, but do not let your enthusiasm run away with you to the extent of becoming a nuisance. Remember the third person and Skip are in control and other players should keep well back where they can still take an interest without interfering and confusing the issue.

8. When the third person is measuring for shot, the first and second players should stand well back and refrain from comment unless invited to do so by the third person.

9. When an Umpire is called on to measure, as an expression of good manners, move away from the head and back to the bank. Remember, as the Umpire’s decision is final, any distraction can only make his task more difficult.

10. No game is so important that it should prevent you from congratulating both your own players’ and opponents’ good shots.

11. Never applaud an opponent’s bowl, which unfortunately gives away shots, or fails to achieve its intended objective.

12. When walking down the rink always keep to the centre. Consider bowlers on adjacent rinks.

13. When walking alongside an outside rink, consider the possible distraction to the bowler on the mat. Stand still until he/she has made their delivery.

14. Stand still at the ‘head’ when a bowler is on the mat.

15. When it is your turn to bowl, be ready. Do not remain seated until somebody reminds you that it is your turn, this delays the progress of the game and can infuriate other bowlers.

16. Keep an interest in the progress of the game at all times. When it is your turn to bowl, don’t have to ask your Skip, ‘Who is holding shot?’ or ‘Where is the Jack?’ etc.

17. Luck in bowls is fairly evenly spread, but it may not seem so on some occasions. If you have a lucky ‘wick’, never pretend that a bowl finished where you intended — when it didn’t.

18. Never, ever, distract your opponent with movement or noise, or in any other way when he or she is on the mat.

19. Never criticize, to others, the performance of your playing colleagues either during or after the game.

20. When the bowl of a member of your team has come to rest, your opponents have possession of the rink and all communication should cease between your team member and the person controlling the head. If you wish to give or seek information or instruction, you should do so when your team next has possession of the rink.

21. The skip and/or third person should stand well clear of the head when their opponents have possession of the rink to allow them to examine the head and instruct their players.

22. All persons not engaged in the game, or rink that is being played, must confine themselves to the bank and preserve an attitude of strict neutrality. Applause should be reserved for good bowling.

23. Be a courteous winner and a good loser. If the result is a loss, accept defeat graciously.

24. Make sure you are gripping the wood correctly — A wobbling wood cannot be consistently accurate.

25. Check to ensure that when you adopt your stance on the mat, you are facing the shoulder of the arc of the hand you wish to play. Remember to be perfectly balanced and relaxed — with knees slightly bent if bowling from an ‘athletic’ position.

26. Make sure your whole body flows through with your delivery, from the hand, which delivers the bowl, to the back foot that lifts gently off the mat. Be sure there is no stiffness in any part of it.

27. Be very aware of the ‘pace’ of the green and the general conditions, because they will govern your arm and leg movements. The faster the green, the more ‘alive the bowl will become, and the more sensitive the touch required. On heavier greens the wood should be held more firmly but on faster surfaces it should be caressed by the fingers, and the whole mechanics of delivery are more delicate. The movement is slower, the back swing shorter and with long, graceful follow through the delivery becomes a gliding movement.

28. Having estimated ‘weight’ by looking at the jack, keep your eyes firmly fixed on the shoulder of the intended arc when delivering the bowl. Keep your head down until after the wood has been released.

29. Practice, practice, practice and try to become proficient in all the shots in the game. Remember there is a perfect weight and green combination for every shot attempted, and nothing gives more satisfaction than to apply it successfully. Mastery of this combinations is the hardest part of the game, but ability to play shots with perfect weight and ‘green' is a great asset.

30. Always be positive when you step on the mat. Be sure of the shot you wish to play.

31. Always stand well back from the mat when your opponent is in play. Never be over eager to play your wood. Take your time and fully assess the position before you bowl.

32. Remember to use the jack and mat intelligently. Have a sound reason for every tactical move you make.

33. When in trouble remember that it is better to play for second wood. Your opponent cannot get far on singles only.

34. Watch your opponent’s game for weaknesses, which you may be able to profit on later.

35. Take pride in building up deep concentration and will power, but remember it is only a game, and do not let the result get out of perspective.

36. Remember that few bowlers succeed in top class play unless they have excellent temperaments. Set out to be an example to others on the green. SPORTSMANSHIP COSTS NOTHING. A player who is a true sportsman will always be an inspiration to his team, and the serenity and coolness that accompany him, will be conducive to better play, with his partners being completely relaxed and still concentrating.

37. Never throw the jack. Take your stance on the mat as if you are bowling a wood and endeavour to bowl the jack to the distance at which you hope to obtain maximum advantage.

38. Don’t run of the mat when delivering a bowl. Take your time.

39. Too many bowlers green 75-80 per cent of their woods narrow! Don’t be one of them; a slightly over-greened wood is invariably better.

40.  Don’t let your eyes wander when bowling a wood. Keep them fixed on the shoulder of the intended arc.

41. Don’t let yourself be distracted by shadows or movements, wait until everything is still before you bowl.

42. Don’t relax when you have built up a big lead. There will surely come a time when you will regret it

43. Don’t be too hasty in deciding which shot to play. Study the head carefully; there are usually more possibilities than are apparent at first glance.

44. Don’t fire unless you have studied the head carefully and are absolutely sure no better alternative exists. indiscriminate firing when the position is against you can, and often does, cost the match.

45. Never let your opponent think he has you rattled. Whatever the fortunes, appear serene and cheerful and concentrate your thoughts on how to pull those shots back and reverse the mental pressure.

46. Don’t let your opponent dictate the pace of the game. You cannot rush a game of bowls and give of your best. You should play at your speed and let your opponents play at theirs.

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