Coach's Corner - Issue 25
A message from the Coach
With Nathan Bush
This week’s coaches corner is on game style- out with the old and in with the new. The days of draw, draw and draw are over in competitive bowls. No doubt the draw shot is still the most used/ performed bowl in our game and still of course has importance to the overall score of a game. After all the aim of the game is to get close to the little white thing. BUT playing in a conservative rink can be frustrating to say the least, I'm not saying to go out there driving at shadows but I believe we can focus on some guidelines towards a proactive game style.
First of all leaders- your probably thinking how can you play a proactive game style with a lead- the job a lead is to build a head. For instance, on the weekend I seen on two occasions the lead drawing for second shot because on the hand they were playing they could not possibly draw shot. Does not matter if your lead is playing well on that hand play for shot, switch them over and let them try and get shot. Another example is if your lead has a good second shot and the shot bowl is jack high to call your lead on a confident draw. Let them reach with a yard over- if they miss they are in a good area and the bowl isn’t wasted.
Second- This is the versatile player for mine. I like seconds to have used all the clubs in their golf bag, draw, drive, swing or reach. We saw on the weekend a leader on his game but was crucified by the second and third converting with weight. In div 2 a second must be able to execute all shots. Div 4 and 7 I expect skips to call seconds on up shots when the head presents. If the opposition have a couple near it, the second has to reach or make connection. If the jack is the near the six foot mark and the opposition has a jack high bowl beside the jack- I call my second to put the jack in the ditch.
Thirds- One of the biggest roles of the third is to clear the shit! You know those heads where the bowls in front of the draw line and the only option is one draw line. I will often call the third to clear the head out. A great sign of a third is when they are playing swingers they will often play on the tighter side to clear out the head than being wide and not disturbing any bowls. I also think if the skip is in two minds about getting the third to drive or draw always drive, if your good enough the skip has two left to minimise the damage.
Skips- This may come as a surprise but the skips role is to make it harder for the opposition to score or to convert. Sometimes I will play 10-15 short bowls to be a nuisance. If we have a good lie, one more in the head can prove too many and make an easy conversion for the skip. Your team works hard to get the bowls in the head so protect it! As a skip the most important bowl is called the free throw. In basketball a free throw is the "AND 1" referring to a free shot at point. Same as bowls the skip has the bowl in hand- make it count, add the one! On the weekend early doors my boys really converted well and I was down a little on confidence but was able to not have an impact. From the 9th end to the 12th end we were down on the head and I elected to drive each end, I hit a couple and from there my confidence on the draw appeared. The golden rule for a skip is to reach when down. The skip also has to have the game style mentally- have the confidence in calling the shots.
This week’s question from Chris Reilly is about where do we need to improve for this season?
Two areas I believe we need to work on and that is;
Practising- I still want to urge players to practise how they play. Apply pressure on yourself when practising, practise all the shots. It’s scary to think some skips, thirds and seconds will only possibly have a hand full of drives per practise session, why is that? When you’re driving your usually in the shit or trying to make a number so for mine it’s a bloody important shot to have. Also with practise I think with our age group its providing difficult for players to get there on regular basis, two nights a week will improve yourself, one night a week won’t make a difference, and no practise equals loosing.
Game style- Read above, but it’s a working progress! I’m still unsure in how to educate our skips and thirds with this. I feel terrible on Saturdays bringing it the attention of our players of calling the right shot but when else can I educate players. Any ideas will help?
To explain a few terms used on the bowls green
Confident draw- is to reach the jack or bowl looking to make contact or to go past the intended target.
Dead draw- is a term that is used when holding shots or a good head is that to use weight to just dribble into the head and if you make contact it isn’t moving such as turning an opposition bowl.
Cannon- Is a term used when two bowls sit together so when you hit the front bowl the other will project. A skip might ask what does that cannon do up the top.
Back hopper- when the bowl sits directly behind the jack within mm's
Front hopper- when the bowl sits directly in front of the jack within mm's
That’s the coach’s corner for another week, feedback and questions welcome!