Can You Talk to Your Bowls on the Green?

  • By: Kitty Driver
  • Date: November 13, 2023

There is no rule in lawn bowls saying that you may not pass comment once you have delivered your bowl. There is also nothing written down about encouraging a teammate’s bowl to land where it should. But continuously talking to the bowls – or commenting on your own delivery – is boring for other players. It is also a sign of an inexperienced bowler.

Some of the silly comments people make to the bowls include: “Come on you useless piece of….”, “Nooooo!” and curses of every degree.

Talking to your bowls incessantly shows that your concentration is lacking. You should be digging deeper into your sub-conscious to get “into the zone” where every nerve in your body is attuned to the game. Being “in the zone” means you are much more likely to deliver your bowls correctly and achieve your aims.

Why talking to your bowls entrenches bad thoughts

In addition, if you express disappointment with your bowl such as saying: “You rotten piece of bakelite!” or “You b***d!” you are really telling yourself that you are a bad player. That is not an idea that you want to cement in your brain during a match.

Get out of the habit of talking to your bowls. Stand just in front of the mat until just before your bowl comes to rest. Learn what you can from it. Then forget about the bowl and watch the next bowl being played. Get on the mat refreshed and incorporate what you learned from your previous bowl.

Can you talk on your teammates’ bowls?

It’s only natural that sometimes you will shout “Come on!” or “Hurry, hurry!” as your watch a teammate’s bowl travelling towards the head. That’s fine, but don’t make a habit of it. Bowls themselves can’t hear you, and other players on the green find that repeated exhortations to an inanimate object gets old after while.

Can you comment on the opponents’ bowls?

No. You should say nothing about your opponents’ bowls. It is extremely poor etiquette to cheer when an opponent’s bowl gives your team the shot accidentally, or when the bowl does not achieve what the opponent intends. Keep quiet, don’t talk – just as if the opponent had not played the bowl at all.

When describing the head to a player at the other end of the green, don’t refer to an opponent’s bowl as anything but “this bowl over here” or “this pink bowl”. Don’t even call it “their bowl”. Just indicate that the bowl is against your team by placing your hand on the top of your other hand and holding it out in front of you.

The best policy is to keep quiet, watch the game carefully and try your best. Clap for a good shot, no matter whose it is. That’s quite enough comment for any game of bowls.

Read World Bowls Beginner’s Guide for more information