Top 10 Mistakes in Lawn Bowl Delivery

  • By: Jack Toucher
  • Date: August 31, 2023

Improve your lawn bowl game immeasurably by identifying your faults and correcting them. Here is a list of the 10 most common delivery techniques with solutions. I recommend that you tackle one mistake at a time, starting with your worst fault.

1. No planning

MISTAKE: Without even looking at the head or your fellow players at the other end of the green, you shamble onto the mat and deliver your bowl.
SOLUTION: Stand just behind the mat and think about the bowl you are about to roll. Communicate with your teammate at the head. Decide mutually what shot you are going to attempt. Only then should you initiate your delivery routine.

2. Anchor foot wrongly placed

MISTAKE: You step onto the mat any old way.
SOLUTION: Your anchor foot (your right foot if you are right-handed and your left foot if you are left-handed should be placed on the mat first, directly in line with the path your would like your bowl to take. It doesn’t matter what happens to the other foot, as long as you feel comfortable once you are on the mat.

3. Non delivery hand too heavy on upper leg

MISTAKE: You lean so heavily on your upper leg with your non-delivery hand that your shoulder hunches.
SOLUTION: Lean lightly on your upper leg. You are doing this just enough to balance yourself. Slide your softly down your leg as you go down to deliver your bowl.

4. Stepping forward too early or too late

MISTAKE: You step forward before your back swing has begun, or you stay with both feet rooted to the mat while you deliver your bowl.
SOLUTION: Your anchor foot should stay where it is while you deliver the bowl. The moment your back swing starts, step forward gently with your non-anchor foot.

5. Taking a massive step forward

MISTAKE: You take such a giant step forward with your non-anchor foot that you nearly fall over
SOLUTION: Take a gentle step forward. The purpose of the step is simply to balance you, not to take you anywhere. Once the bowl has left your hand, your anchor foot joins your other foot off the mat.

6. Throwing your bowl out too far

MISTAKE: Your bowl makes contact with the green too far out in front of you, making it bounce and divert from its path.
SOLUTION: Your bowl should make contact with the green a couple of centimetres in front of foot you bring forward to balance you.

7. Not locking your elbow

MISTAKE: Before you have completed your delivery, the elbow goes limp, resulting in a delivery that is more like a tennis swing than a bowling delivery.
SOLUTION: Lock your elbow so you deliver your bowl directly into the desired line.

8. Not staying down

MISTAKE: Leaping up before you have completed your delivery.
SOLUTION: Stay down by bending both legs (as per the photo above).

9. Not following through

MISTAKE: You don’t complete the forward swing, doubtless because you don’t have confidence that your playing the appropriate shot.
SOLUTION: Commit yourself to the line and weight you are playing. Stay down and follow through with your delivery arm so that it is pointing at the aiming point as your bowl proceeds down the green.

10. Giving up the mat too early

MISTAKE: Taking your eye off your bowl and leaving the mat just after delivery. Often players do this in disgust at having delivered a bowl badly. That’s unfair – the rest of the players have to watch your bad bowl so you should too.

SOLUTION: According to official Lawn Bowls Rules you do not have to move away from the mat area before your bowl has come to rest. In other words, your team “has the mat” for duration.

You should stand still and watch your bowl move down the green so you can learn from the result. Just before the bowl comes to rest, calmly take a further step forward and move left or right in an arc to resume your place well behind the mat.