Coaching a bowler or a bowls team

Physical fitness is not generally thought of in our game, it is important but not that of a 100m sprinter, but that of a player with a slow heart beat ensuring "no rushes of blood" affecting the mind. In our game, the mind wins more games than fitness or technique, the ability to think and play under pressure is the mark of a winner, especially when contestants are of equal ability, some players have a good mindset, others have to work at it. The coach should be aware of this and work accordingly. All bowlers have strengths and weaknesses and while it is important to improve, it must not prevent the strengths to be even better and more consistant along with the mindset. The mindset allows for match preparation, reading the green, the ends and the result. The really good player has this ability, that is why they are good. Therefore your approach to them is different, perhaps more conversational, one to one. A closed mind is the most difficult to coach, and a feeling of trust and confidence has to be established over time, which observation and patience are the key. If this applies both ways improvement will occur. All players are different, so a different approach is required for each one. Get to know them, find what makes them tick to use as a tool. One of the most difficult parts of coaching is picking some bowler or team up after a heavy defeat, regaining confidence is difficult, but easier when a structured approach is used. You are the leader and now is the time to use your coaching abilities, preparation, think before talking, at the proper time, in the proper place. Do not linger on the wrong things, but work with the positives and deal with one problem at a time, check at the next session before going on. Enjoyment in winning is good, but winning with skill is better, encouraging your team-mates is good, but to use any form of gamesmanship I neither condone or participate in, we all have a responsibility to our sport, so let us make it something to be proud of.

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