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The Commonest Bowls Shots Explained

Bowls can be rather confusing for the beginner, with a wealth of new terms and rules to get to grips with. The types of shots you can play are among the things you need to learn.

Bowls World supply equipment and accessories for all forms of the game – including indoor and short mat bowls and all the outdoor varieties – to players in the UK and across the world. We have compiled this simple guide to six of the commonest shots played in the sport.

The Draw

This is a conventional shot where the player tries to deliver his bowl so that it ends up closest to the jack, or to a point on the green dictated by the state of the end, or by tactics and strategy.

Draws can either be played on the forehand or backhand side. For a right-handed player, a forehand is played on the right-hand side of the rink, green, or whatever type of surface you are playing on. The bowl’s bias will bring it back towards the centre. This type of shot is referred to as a ‘finger peg’ in the Crown Green form of the game.

A bowl played on the backhand side is delivered to the left-hand side of the target (again assuming you are a right-handed player), with the bias also facing the centre line. This is known as a ‘thumb peg’ in Crown Green bowls. In the case of left-handed players, all forehands are played to the left of the target, and the backhands to the right.

The Drive

This is one of the most spectacular shots that a bowler can deliver, and it is usually played if you are behind in the end – that is, your opponent is lying two or more shots to the good. The bowl is delivered at high speed, so the bias does not have much time to take effect.

The objective is usually to remove one or more of the opponents’ woods from the end, or to take out the jack by removing it from the rink (such as by ensuring that it ends up in the ditch.) Depending on where the jack ends up, the end may have to be replayed. This type of shot is also sometimes known as a ‘fire’ or a ‘strike’.

The Yard On

This is not played as fast or as hard as a drive, but in many respects it requires more skill. Players deliver their wood with enough strength to carry it about a yard past the jack or another target in the head. This is so it has enough power to move or ‘trail’ the jack into a more advantageous position, or it enables the player to knock out one of the opponent’s bowls from the head – often to be replaced with the wood you have just played.

The Running Shot or Ditch Length Shot

This is similar to the Yard On, but it is played with more strength – so the jack is more likely to end up in the ditch, or your opponent’s bowl or bowls may be removed from the head completely.

The Blocker

This is a more negative shot, but it requires a considerable degree of skill to be played effectively. If you play a blocker, you are trying to make it as difficult as possible for your opponent to play a certain shot on a defined line.

So, your wood can be played short of the head, in line with the jack, so that the rival competitor would find it difficult to play a drive without hitting the blocker first. This type of shot is also known as a ‘guard’.

The Wrong Bias Shot

This is caused by the competitor delivering his bowl with the bias taking it away from, rather than towards, its intended target – and often off the end or rink entirely. This is often because they are concentrating so hard on another aspect of the game. Bowls etiquette dictates that you should commiserate with the player concerned rather than laugh at them.

Bowls, Clothing and Accessories from Bowls World

Bowls World supplies a wide range of bowls, accessories and clothing to customers all over the world – and for the beginner as well as the highly experienced player. We stock a variety of games, such as New Age Kurling and Petanque, which offer young players an ideal introduction into the sport of bowls. We also have a range of coaching aids, including books, to help you get into this fascinating sport.

Whether you want a short mat bowls game delivered to an address in the UK, or the latest professional product such as Henselite Tiger Pro Bowls sent overseas, Bowls World can meet all your bowls needs. To view our latest range of stock, follow this link.


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