A bounce game is simply a casual practice game arranged by a team, usually in preparation for an upcoming tournament. The skip of a team arranges with another team to play such a practice game. It is a non-competitive game played in training.
It’s quite likely that the invited team, too, is going to play in a tournament and would appreciate the practice too. In the picture above you see three team members in track suits in the late afternoon practicing for a competition.
When can you play a bounce game?
Traditionally clubs do not allow practice games during the social time slots. However, a bounce game usually is permitted to begin about an hour after the social players have begun to play. Do check with your club committee first – and especially the green keeper when planning a bounce game. He may want to assign a particular green or rink to your practice slot.
Every club’s household rules are different, and these change over time as committees and social mores change. So do check each time.
What is a good format for a bounce game?
Obviously if you are to play fours in the tournament then practice fours, and so on for trips, pair and singles. A bounce game represents a good opportunity for a skip to test players in different positions. For instance, the skip may want to see if the second would be better as a lead, or if a lead would be more comfortable playing second.
Or perhaps a skip has not played much with the third before and would like to see how well she can communicate in order to help build the head and contribute otherwise to game strategy.
What team should you practice against?
Preferably do not practice against a team that you are likely to encounter in the tournament. They might just pick up useful information that they can use against you on the day. Rather just assemble a group of friends to practice against. Players are glad just to play a challenging game. I have never invited anyone to a bounce game who refused the invitation.
How long should a bounce game be?
Don’t over do your practice game. Twelve or fourteen ends will be more than enough. Don’t try to play exactly the same game format as you will be playing in the competition. But do keep score. In doing so you will introduce a bit of pressure. It’s always useful to see how players deal with stress.
How is a bounce game different from a social game?
The main difference is that both practice teams know it’s a practice so the players can:
- Replay a shot if they don’t get it right (if the skips agree, of course)
- Chat to each other about technique and strategy in a way they would not otherwise do
- Swap positions in the course of the game to see who fits best in which position