Here's the article coming out in the most recent Oakmont News. We're limited to 500 words and 2 photos so sometimes I worry that I haven't explained myself well. If something doesn't make sense, or if you disagree, let me know!
OAKMONT LAWN BOWLING CLUB
By Mary Blake
We’re getting closer and closer to real bowling! Check the lawn bowling calendar on our website for draw times and event dates.
Thinking about strategy and I found an interesting article by Rob Judson: “Basic Tactics in Lawn Bowling”.
I didn’t understand it all and I don’t think we’ll agree with everything he said. Let me know what you think!
BASIC TACTICAL CONCEPTS
Judson says “winning at all costs” focuses on destination rather than journey and assumes that losing is synonymous with failure. Putting yourself under that much pressure causes anxiety and poor decisions. You WILL lose - even pros lose more than half their games. Bowling consistently well is more important than winning. “. . . [T]he basic strategic aim should relate to ability and performance, not to winning.”
“Tactics . . . mainly involves the exercise of common sense and the avoidance of poor decisions.” Practice, experience, playing and asking your skip for insight will help you build that common sense. Usually, you’ll find the skip’s decisions do make sense – once he/she explains them.
Tactics begin with understanding how the bowls are moving on your rink, figuring out aiming angles, Is one side is better than the other, does wind affect movement? It’s possible that one side of the rink bowls straighter than the other. Straighter bowls are usually easier to play because they don’t have to travel as far and the angles are easier to work with (hmmmmm?).
If one side of the rink is kinder, remember to change hand going the other direction. (If forehand is easier bowling east, backhand may be easier bowling west.)
If you don’t have the advantage in the head, bowl long rather than short. Short bowls will block your access. Long bowls (back bowls) are your opportunities.
If your team is currently closest to the jack, don’t bowl narrow (the bowl crosses the line of the jack and ends up on the other side). There’s too much chance of it moving the jack (losing your advantage). It also leaves the other side open to your opponent.
Most bowlers don’t notice that the bowls move differently when they’re within 6 feet of the edge. It moves faster, curves more, because of the added foot traffic back there. Skips might choose long jacks to take advantage of this.
He recommends making practice successful to help build confidence. The closer you are to your target, the bigger it looks and the easier it is to aim for. So, when you’re starting out, set short jacks. A bowl is bigger than a jack and two bowls next to each other are bigger than one. So your practice might include aiming at bowls rather than the jack to get you into the head. As you get better you can set more challenging goals.