How to Play a Driving Shot in Lawn Bowls

  • By: Jack Toucher
  • Date: June 20, 2023

Only experienced players who really have to make a difference to the head should play a driving shot. And only players who have had success in driving should attempt it.

In fours the players who are likely to play this are the third and the skip. In trips a skip may play it. Drives rarely occur in pairs and singles, and in general it is not advisable.

As the World Bowls Guide “Introduction to the Game”: notes:

Master the draw shot – the vast majority of scoring shots are drawn to the jack. Do not become addicted to the driving shot. It has a valuable role to play, and must be used with discretion.

The Game, World Bowls

What is a drive in lawn bowls?

A drive is a really strong shot, so strong that if unimpeded the bowl would land in the ditch and even bounce against the bank. The aim is to “attack” the head, disrupting the bowls already lying there and moving the jack.

Why play a driving shot?

There is really only one situation that calls for a drive: it is near impossible to draw the shot and the opposition is lying shot and perhaps more than one shot and this could lead to the opposition winning the game.

The aim of driving is to disrupt, or break open, the head, perhaps lying shot after that, or smashing into the head so that the jack jumps out of the rink and out of play. That would mean the end is dead and would have to be replayed from the start.

What is the technique for playing a driving shot?

The player stands behind the mat and seeks a line. He steps onto the mat tightly in line with the desired path of the bowl. While maintaining this position he does a rapid back swing and takes a longer-than-usual step forward and drives the bowl into the head.

If you look carefully at videos of bowlers playing driving shots you will see that the bowl generally meets the green far away from the mat in a drive – sometimes close to the 25m mark. With the bowl starting its journey this far up the green there is greater likelihood that the bowl will maintain its straight line into the head.

What is shooting in lawn bowls?

Especially young men players play driving shots when they don’t have to, and even when a drive is called for they put far too much weight behind it. These shots are dangerous to the ankles of players all over the green as a ricocheting bowl may catch someone on the ankle, causing injury.

Call the umpire if there is shooting going on, or talk to the player’s skip. Such shots are not part of the game of bowls from an etiquette perspective. Worse than that, they are rarely effective.