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Lawn Bowls for the Blind

Lawn bowls has long been a sport for all ages and abilities. Lawn bowling is not only played by able bodied and sighted people, but is also a popular sport for wheel chair users, the blind and partially sighted.

The game is played on a grass or synthetic surface called the bowling green. The object of lawn bowls is to throw bias balls so they stop as close as possible to a smaller bowl which is called a jack.

Although lawn bowls for the blind or partially sighted is not classified as an Olympic sport, the game is played world-wide with many high profile tournaments across the globe including the World Blind Bowling Championships, held every four years.

The last world tournament was held in Melbourne, Australia, and the next will take place in Worthing, England, in July 2013. Scotland, England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Zimbabwe will be among the countries completing.

Bowls World offer a complete range of indoor and outdoor bowls and equipment for players of all ages including men, women and juniors. Our lawn bowls clothing range includes bowls sunhats, rain hats, visors, gloves, bowls shoes, jackets, gillets, tops, blouses, shirts, T-shirts, shorts, skirts and trousers.

We also sell a complete range of lawn bowls and equipment by leading names Taylor (Glasgow, Scotland) Henselite (Australian) and Drakes Pride (Liverpool, England). This includes markers, tape, grip wax, measures, measuring aids, rink twine, grip wax and gift vouchers.

Lawn Bowls – click here to buy online.

History of Bowling for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Lawn bowls for the blind and visually impaired was introduced at international level by a South African doctor called Julius Sergay in the 1970’s. He raised funds for the first game in South Africa to be played on a Johannesburg green in 1963 which had six players. Less than 15 years later he founded the International Blind Bowlers Association and which now has more than a dozen member countries.

Bowls is not only a great game to take part in socially; it also helps improve confidence and general fitness of players.

In Scotland, bowling for the blind and visually impaired has been in existence since the 1950’s and the country’s first players were the Scottish Bowlers for the War Blinded, based in Edinburgh.

Visually Impaired Bowls England was founded in 1975 and is made up of more than 50 clubs and has around 600 members. Globally, there are 5,000 blind and partially sighted members of the International Association, which makes lawn bowls the largest outdoor activity for the blind in the world.

Lawn Bowling for the Blind – The Rules

Bowling clubs for the blind and visually impaired cannot take place without fully sighted volunteers, so there is always a call for people to help at local clubs and it is well worth inquiring if you want to become a volunteer.

It is a very skilful game and involves the use of the same green and also uses the same lawn bowls, clothing and equipment as fully sighted players.

Bowling for the blind and visually impaired follows the laws of the English Bowling Association, although there are some variations to the game.

One of these variations is that it involves the use of a thin strip or string that runs from ditch to ditch down the centre of the lane, so the bowler is better able to judge the angle according to the distance required.

When the jack (smaller ball) lands it is moved across to this string and the helper must inform the player of the distance of the jack to the mat.

Once the bowl has come to rest, the distance of the bowl to the jack is given in yards, feet and inches. The helper must also tell the player the position of the bowl in relation to the jack, using the hands of the clock; for instance, 12 o’clock would mean that the bowl was behind the Jack.

All players are to stand behind the jack or the mat so as not to distract the bowlers and observers must maintain silence. The game also specifies that, other than the centring strings, no other mechanical visible aids should be used.

Experienced blind and visually impaired players are extremely accomplished. Certainly, the world’s best are a match against even the best club level sighted bowls players.

Bowls World

Bowls World sell a wide range of equipment to bowls players world-wide including a variety of lawn bowls equipment, clothing and accessories. We also sell clothing, mats and equipment for indoor bowls, carpet bowls and short mat bowls.

Lawn Bowls – click here to buy online.

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