Listed below are some common faults which are regularly encountered when coaching.  They assume a right handed player using the athletic stance.



Possible Reason







I bowl with an inconsistent line

Swing the arm around the body causing the bowl release point to become very critical.

Learn to bowl with the pendulum action in line with the bowling line so that the release point is not critical.


I can bowl forehand but I not bowl backhand

Wrong position on the mat or not moving your feet.  If you bowl forehand with your feet pointing at the jack then your bowling line is at an angle away from your body.  Now when you try to bowl back hand you have to bowl across the front of your body and you find you’re your body and feet get in the way

Learn to bowl with the pendulum action with the feet, body and shoulders at right angle to the bowling line (i.e. the direction you wish to bowl).  This means your feet will be at a slight angle to the line from the mat to the jack.  To bowl back hand you then need to turn the bowl over to change the bias direction and move your feet so that they are now in line with bowling line for the backhand.


I regularly bowl narrow

In the norm you bowl in the direction you are looking. If you are bowling narrow then you may be looking at the jack and not down the intended bowling line.

Try to look at a point on the bank or on the green that is in-line with the bowling line you require.  You need to look at the jack to gain length information but then you must look down your bowling line to find a point to bowl at.  That may be on the bank or a different colour grass or similar item.


The bowl regularly wobbles

The bowl is being placed on the green to one side of the bowl running line. 

a)     Check the grip is correct especially the middle and little fingers,

b)     Check the arm and hand are aligned at the point of release.  Often the hand is not square with the arm.  Re-align the bowl in the hand to correct for any arm hand misalignment.


Unstable set up and too upright stance before delivery.

Bowlers often stand too erect and find it difficult to initiate the bowling action.  An unstable set up position causes you to be unbalanced as you bowl causing erratic deliveries.

Place the left hand on the left knee.  This causes your weight to move on to your toes.  It also gives you a much more stable and accurate launch position as it stops the shoulders turning as you bowl.  Also if you stand with your feet a few centimetres apart, you will find you are much more stable.



Incorrect bowl starting position.  Possible inconsistent delivery

Often bowlers hold the bowl in front of their chests sometimes with both hands on the bowl.  This means the bowl is not in-line with the shoulder and the pendulum action is difficult to achieve.  The bowl goes around the body with the shoulders turning.  The return path is then along the same line with bowling hand ending up in-front of the chest

At set up point the bowl should be held out in front and to the side with the arm square to the shoulder.  Then pendulum action can be achieved by the bowl going straight back passing the leg and out to the rear all in line without a bend.  Then bowl should then come straight forward along the same line to the point of release by the leg.  Not round the back followed by the arm coming forward around the chest.


Difficulty with achieving consistent length

The distance the bowl travels is dependent on the speed it leaves the hand. The speed of delivery is dependent on 3 main factors:

a)     The size of the pendulum swing

b)     The amount of force applied to the bowl from the arm muscles

c)     The amount of forward and downward movement of the body

Learning to achieve controlled length is the hardest activity to learn in bowls as there are 3 main factors affecting the distance.

1)     Try to use the same muscle force and body forward and downward movement,

2)     Control the distance by varying the forward position of the pendulum swing.  Higher and more forward for greater distances, lower and less forward for shorter distances.

3)     Keep your left hand on your left knee and keep your shoulders square to the direction of delivery.  Do not swing your shoulders to increase the force applied to the bowl.


Difficulty holding the bowl,

The bowl falls out of the hand at the point of delivery

Difficulty holding the bowl is caused by 3 main reasons.

a)     Poor grip

b)     Bowl too large and/or heavy

c)     Bowl very slippery

A good comfortable grip is essential for a good delivery.  The grip must not cause any tension in the arm as this will upset the pendulum swing and constant muscle force. 

a)     Check you are using the most comfortable grip for you, either cradle or claw.

b)     Try a smaller bowl

c)     Use a glove or use a gripping compound


Unstable or uncoordinated with Athletic Action


Try Static Action but remember to maintain the pendulum arm action.


Lack of smoothness, consistency and a good follow through

To achieve a consistent result it is essential to remove any jerky or random movements.  Try to achieve a follow through in line with the direction of delivery.  Do not swing the arm around your body so the hand finishes up by the left side of the chest

The pendulum action with a good follow through is the recommended action. Your left hand should be on your left knee to keep your body and shoulders at right angles to the direction of delivery.  The bowl should be held with a semi stiff arm in front of the body at right angles to the shoulders.  This then allows the arm with the bowls to swing smoothly back to a comfortable position at the rear passing the right leg all in line and still at right angles to the shoulder.  Then to return along the same path to the released point by the leg and on to a position out in front still at right angles to the shoulders.
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