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    Getagame Gazette
    volume 2 no 7 December 2017

    Articles In This Edition
  • Do bowling arms provide too much help
  • Playing the Positions (The Skip)
  • Titles used when describing Tournaments

  • Do Bowling Arms Provide Too Much Help?

    A few weeks ago in a Brighton pennant match one of our teams played a team with both the third and skip using bowling arms. After the game that team expressed the opinion that they were hard done by because those two bowlers never missed the correct line.

    In conversation with many bowlers from several clubs since then I discovered that without exception they consider that the use of the arm by skilled players gives them too great an advantage. However most thought that nothing could be done about it because they would not like to see bowlers who needed the arms restricted in their use of them. Some bowlers suggested restrictions such as 'not allowed to play third or skip in a fours game' or 'limited to size 2 bowls or smaller'

    Bowlers generally are not aware of the requirements for use of the arm This is from the Bowls Australia Web Site

  • An affiliated member must gain approval to use an artificial device (bowlers arm) which can be completed by contacting your state/territory association.
  • A medical certificate stating that the affiliated member requires the bowlers arm to continue to participate in lawn bowls must accompany the approval form.
  • Once you have lodged your form with your state/territory association you will be provided with a means of identifying your approval status from your state/territory association. This information will then be forwarded to Bowls Australia to maintain a national register

  • I googled bowling arms and found that the matter had been extensively covered in recent editions of BOWLS PLUS , an excellent magazine which has replaced magazines produced by most state bodies.

    This included an article by The Bionic Bowler, Ian Rowan, who writes for BOWLS PLUS
    Bowling arms are a reality
    It is evident that bowling arms are fast becoming a reality for older bowlers and those with injuries or debilitating illness. For non-arm bowlers to see this as a threat or giving some advantage is sadly ridiculous. read on

    They also published an interesting letter from Geoff Mathers from MCC-Kew Sports Club
    Bowling Arm Regulation Revision
    I applaud those who get out on the bowling green using a mechanical bowling arm. It is a wonderful innovation that allows many people with disabilities to commence or continue in an outdoor sport, where, if the arm did not exist, they could be confined to being a sporting spectator, instead of a participant, for the remainder of their lives.

    However, the bowling arm is unquestionably performance enhancing. Their use is a definite advantage over the majority of able bodied bowlers, in always being able to find and deliver on the correct line required more frequently.

    Ridiculous as it may sound, over a period of around 5 years, I have witnessed arm bowlers deliver almost a 98% success rate on their line accuracy (of those experienced in their use) compared to the able-bodied line accuracy in the same matches, rating perhaps around 65%-70%. That is a huge difference, and too big a gap just to be a coincidence over such a sustained period of time. It can no longer just be ignored. read on

    I find it interesting that the comments of the bowlers in my side agreed with Geoffs statement that the arms allow users to bowl with considerably less green error. This stands to reason. The bowling arm swings in an exact line avoiding all the small variations in swing due to the human arm and to finger movement at the point of release

    If you have read the letter you could see that Geoff suggested that arm bowlers should be required to use a wider bias bowl

    In some research I did about 10 years ago I came to the conclusion that halving the width of the bowl gave an advantage which ranged from 16% for beginners to 23% for highly skilled players

    see The Mathematics of Narrow Bowls
    (There is a problem with this article - is it harder to control length with narrower bowls?)

    If my article is valid then the suggestion by Geoff about increasing the bias of bowls would certainly reduce the advantage more for highly skilled players than for those with less skill.

    I believethis idea has merit. Please send any comments on this to me and to Bowls Plus Magazine

    Playing the Positions (The Skip)

    Over the past three gggazettes I have looked at what the writers of the old bowls books have said about playing lead, second and third.

    All of these writers make similar comments about playing skip. While all say that the skip must be a complete bowler, they also all spend time on the role of the skip as the boss of the team. In all cases the books contain information valuable for aspiring skippers in many different chapters. My advice is to read them all and also read any other books on bowls you can find. Some of the YouTube video in ths index are also useful.

    R. T. Harrison Bowls the Text Book of the Game

    Harrison expects a lot out of his skips. For example

    Getting the best out of your team (page 78)

    Usually the very even, smooth going skip will be found to be the same in all things, in business, in the club in the home, everywhere and always. Very desirable too.

    It is reflected in sport, in the game of bowls partucualarly. This skip may lack kick, determination, fighting quality but rather be content to go quietly.

    Now if that kind of skip , so often pointe to a 'getting the best out of the team' is minus the knowledge, hasn't the experience or the execution then the team will fail.

    Glyn Bosisto Bowling Along

    Bosisto's chapter on skipping is a 'must read'

    A common fault with a lot of skippers is that they must try to deprive an opponent of one shot before ensuring reasonable position for their team. Many big losses can be prevented by getting a good second shot before attempting a conversion

    Two important common guidelines for skip's own bowls are
  • Always bowl to beat the opposition’s best bowl unless there is a good reason not to
  • Never cross the head when holding unless movement of the jack could markedly increase your score. When drawing for an extra shot it is sensible to have a simple understanding that the third will give you a toe on the jack high point which will give the extra shot

  • Solo practice is as important for skips as for any other player because many times in a game the skip's bowls run into the pack. Too many skips think that playing a lot of games is better than spending time practising draw bowling. Find some routines for solo practice for skips here and here

    Titles Used When Describing Tournaments

    Over the past few weeks I have listed many new tournaments at getagame. Whenever entering tournaments from clubs I have always accepted the given description of the game. However because the sponsor can be included prominently in the listing it is not included in the title of the tournament.

    There are three matters which need to be made clear in the title of the tournament.

  • If the tournament is longer than a single day the title should end with the number of days
  • How many players are in a team
  • Gender

  • Of these it is gender which is most important. Unfortunately on many tournament brochures it is not mentioned! Some clubs seem to just presume that the tournament is men or women

    OPEN is a term which can be misleading. These days it most often means open to both men and women, but sometimes means >open to all (male) bowlers in Australia. It is better to use Cosmopolitan or Open Gender which both mean that ‘men and women may play in any position and teams can be all men or all women or any combination’

    Other terms which need to be used with care and may need explanation in the listing include

  • Mixed Fours traditionally means teams of two men and two women with the women playing lead and third and the men playing second and skip
  • Mixed pairs is a woman playing lead and a man playing skip.
  • Mixed triples has a clear meaning - at least one man and one woman in each team.

  • If the tournament has any rules outside those definitions a clear explanation is required in the listing For example Mixed Triples – woman playing skip

    PAIRS needs to include somewhere in the information what type of the possible five : two bowl, three bowl, four bowl, 2-2-2-2, 2-4-2

    MEDLEY generally means two games of fours and two games of pairs which are split to make serving lunch easier. The term should be explained in the listing

    SKINS has six different definitions (see my article about skins here), so a clear description needs to be given in the listing.

    GALA DAY usually means fours women but sometimes this is not so. Hence a description is desirable