Fundamentals to improve your lawn bowls consistency



Achieving consistency game after game is something even the elite of the elite bowlers are constantly trying to improve upon or retain.  Playing the correct line and weight repeatedly is more than likely a huge factor in determining a winner in any format of the game. 

If you find yourself having one of those games where a few wayward bowls are sandwiched between some ‘game winners’ then take a look at the following 3 fundamentals to reduce those wayward bowls to a minimum and produce more game winning shots consistently.   



1              –              ROUTINE

Routine can be split into two types of routine, a pre-game routine and a pre-shot routine.  Both are equally as valuable and important to improving consistency.

The principle behind a pre-shot routine is to help a bowler perform to their potential under stressful conditions.  A repeatable pre-shot routine will focus your attention on performing the shot you are about to play and reduce the chance of focusing on outcomes, distractions or negative thoughts.

Pre-Shot Routine – this should be personal to you and can constitute something as simple and straightforward as picking the bowl up with a certain hand, checking the bias of the bowl and placing your feet on a specific spot on the matt.  Alternatively, a pre-shot routine can be elaborate and complex, take for example tennis star Rafael Nadal, who goes through a complex pre-shot routine.

Regardless of complexity a pre-shot routine should be the same for every bowl you are about to play regardless of shot type or game situation.

Pre-Game Routine having a pre-game routine can be overlooked but can play a vital roll in helping to minimise anxiety, help to focus the bowler’s mindset on the game and remove distractions.

2              –              RELAXED

Relaxation or the sense of being relaxed is a psychological strategy used to help manage or reduce stress-related emotions ie. Anxiety.  Being relaxed also helps to reduce physical tension and increased heart rate, which both can contribute to inconsistent bowls by disrupting your ‘flow’ or ‘rhythm’.  We have all herd the expression ‘they have had a rush of blood to the head.’ 

Simple measures such as being on-time to a game, or taking a few deep breathes before playing a shot can help to make you feel more relaxed and confident in your ability.

3              –              FOCUS / CONCENTRATION

Focus or concentration is simply the mental effort you put into each game/delivery.  The fundamental principal of concentrating is to focus on the task at hand and remove as many internal and external distractions as possible.

Some examples of internal distractions are; thinking about a previous end or bowl, thinking about the next game, thinking about the opponent and expectations from yourself or others.  External distractions playing bowls can be such things as mobile phones and spectators.

Being pro-active and purposefully trying to remove as many distractions as possible will enable you to assign more metal effort to each delivery and narrow the focus to the shot you are about to play.

‘Consistent actions create consistent results’


Analyse the last game you played, not by the outcome or result of the game but how you performed in utilising these 3 fundamentals.  By not just practicing the technical side of bowls ie. Performing types of shots/deliveries, but also dedicating time and thought into the above psychological fundamentals, you can raise your consistency on the green.   

Simple adjustments like arriving to each game relaxed, having a pre-shot routine and removing as many distractions as possible will certainly help to take your game to the next level.    

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Author - Simon Lyttle

Author - Simon Lyttle

Simon is the founder of The Bowls Academy. He represented Ireland before permanently moving to Sydney and establishing himself at one of Sydney's strongest clubs, Taren Point. He has won multiple state pennants, zone and club championships and is a current zone 13 representative.

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