Where Should the Skip Stand When Others Are Playing?

  • By: Jack Toucher
  • Date: June 8, 2023

The skip can stand wherever in the rink she likes, as long as she “has the mat”. In other words, when it is her team’s turn to deliver a bowl she can move anywhere in the rink.

When the opposing team has the mat, the skip should stand well behind the head (the 1 metre circumference around the jack), behind the opposing skip and even behind the very back bowls until the mat is hers again.

Where the skip usually stands

When the opponent’s bowl has come to the rest, the skip then has the mat. She generally moves right into the head to explain to her player what has changed in the head and what shot is required.

Here in the top photo you can see a well-engaged skip who is right up among the bowls, explaining exactly the situation and the kind of shot she requires from the player at the other end of the green.

Once she has explained herself, she either stands well back from the head or, if she feels it necessary or the player asks for it, she “gives a foot” to help the player gauge where to aim.

Sometimes a skip gives a foot with just the heel touching the ground as in the photo, or flat on the ground. The player might ask the skip to move the foot closer to the jack or the shot bowl or wherever would give her a better chance of getting the shot.

You also see skips showing where the jack lies, as in the photo, and then remove her foot straight away and stand back. It all depends on the skip’s style and the requirements of the game and the player.

How far inside the head can the skip go?

The skip can be as far inside the head as she likes when the mat is hers. Here you see the skip leaning right over the jack indicating to the player where to bowl. She is indicating the preferred line the player should strive for, and also pointing out which are the position bowls.

For instance, she may explain how far the jack can be moved without making the situation worse rather than rescue the situation. Whatever information is required the skip can give without, of course, touching the jack or any bowl or otherwise interrupting the head.

What if the skip stands in the wrong place?

World Bowls Rules say the following in Section 13 on the matter of mat possession, which relates to where a skip can stand:

13.1 Possession of the rink will belong to the player or team whose bowl is being
13.2 As soon as each bowl comes to rest, possession of the rink will transfer to the
opposing player or team after allowing time for marking a toucher as soon as it
comes to rest.
13.3 If the umpire, either by their own observation or on appeal by one of the skips or
opponents in Singles, decides that the players in possession of the rink are being
interfered with, annoyed or distracted in any way by their opponents,
13.3.1 the first time this happens the umpire must: warn the offending player, while the skip is present; and tell the coach, if they are present, that the player has received a
13.3.2 on each occasion after this, the umpire must have the bowl last played by
the offending player or team declared dead. If that bowl has disturbed the
head, the opponent must choose whether to: replace the head; leave the head as altered; or declare the end dead.