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Indoor Carpet Bowls – Tips to Improve Your Bowling Technique!

What Does the Game Involve?

Indoor carpet bowls is played in village halls and community centres up and down the country. It is played on a 30 x 6 ft carpet and involves a jack placed 3 – 6 ft from the end of the mat and an 18 inch central block placed equal distance from the carpet ends.

The block must be in a contrasting colour to the carpet and can be either rectangular, round or diamond in shape. This makes the game more skilful and entertaining as it prevents players bowling straight down the middle of the mat. Delivery is from an 18 inch area in-front of the carpet and bowlers should not stand on, kneel or touch the carpet when they play.

Why is the Sport so Popular?

Indoor carpet bowls is a smaller version of indoor bowls and is very much a community activity played by seniors, men, women and children. The bowls are much smaller and lighter than indoor bowls and there is less of a distance to bowl. This makes it a game of skill rather than strength and can be played by people of all ages and abilities including wheelchair users. As it is a scaled down version of indoor bowls, it is easier to play in areas where space is more restricted. It is portable, too, and the mats can just be rolled up and stored away when finished.

There were 1,000 clubs at the turn of the century and the game is particularly popular in the North of England, the Midlands and East Anglia. It is played competitively at regional and national level and is affiliated to the English Carpet Bowls Association.

It is not a costly game to play because players use the same size and weight of bowls which are all 4 inches in diameter and 1 lb 10 oz in weight. As all the bowls are the same size, you don’t have to have your own set when you start, and instead can use the bowls available at your local club. Indoor carpet bowls are produced by leading manufacturers such as Taylor, Drakes Pride and Henselite.

What are the Top Tips for Playing Indoor Carpet Bowls?

The game starts with a coin flip and the winner chooses when to play – either first or second. The main aim is to deliver the bowl closer to the jack than your opponent. However, there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. It is a very skilful game and there are all sorts of techniques involved. Here are some of our top tips for first time players:

It is important to maintain a stable base from which to bowl. Take care not to step too far forward with your leading leg. Instead step forward just enough to remain stable. As little movement as possible is required; this is so as not to deliver the bowl when you are off-balance. Most players bowl from a fixed stance, whereas in the full-length game players usually take a step forward, which is called the athletic stance.

Indoor carpet bowls is normally played four a side (eight players in all to a mat) but can be played three aside (nine triples) and two aside (pairs) or singles. Games last an average of two hours but can be longer for County games and competitions

Bowling balls come in sets of 16, usually eight brown and eight black, although nowadays all sorts of colours are available including red, yellow, blue etc. To play, one team picks one set of coloured balls and the other team picks another.


Scoring is exactly the same system for indoor bowls and is measured by the number of bowls you get closer to the jack than your opponents.
You get two points if you win a match, one point for a draw and no points if you lose the game. Usually games are played up to 21 points.

In scoring you measure the nearest part of the jack to the wood (bowling ball).


Other players and spectators must stand well back when a game is being played to prevent disruption to a game. The etiquette is much the same as indoor bowls, but carpet bowls is more relaxed.

How Often Do Meetings Take Place and What are the Membership Fees?

Most indoor carpet bowls clubs will meet at least twice a week throughout the winter months in local village halls and community centres. Membership feels will vary from (approximately) £20 membership and £2 a game.

Every new member will be given plenty of advice by existing club members and the skills of the game will develop with practice.

Bowls World stocks a wide range of bowls and accessories, suitable for all forms of the sport. Click here to buy all your equipment from our online shop.

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