Player Development

Player Development—tips to improve your game

Last updated 2018-11-21, naming the members of the Player Rating Committee.

On this page you will find useful links to help you improve your game and to assist you when acting as drawmaster, marker, coach or umpire. You can read through this complete webpage, or click/tap on one of the section titles immediately below to go directly to that section.

Choosing your bowls
Training and Coaching
Laws of the Sport
Lawn Bowling Etiquette
Player Rating Committee
Novices Program
Hand Signals
Notes on Measuring for Umpires. (This section is on the Club Umpires webpage.)

Choosing your bowls

Bowls come in a variety of sizes, colours and performance characteristics. Two videos can help you select a suitable set of four bowls. The first video, from South Africa, runs through the main points for picking the right bowl. The second video, from Australia, goes into more detail. Our club coaches can advise you at any point during the selection process.

The club has a number of sets of used bowls of various sizes. In your first year at the club, you can experiment with those bowls to find the right size for your hand. Other members may also be prepared to lend you their own bowls to help you finalize your choice.

In your second year at the club, you will be expected to provide your own bowls.

You may be lucky enough to find club members willing to sell you a set of their bowls at a bargain price. Used bowls are always available online from various sources.

A new set of bowls can cost in the region of $500 from the major manufacturers/dealers. They will be stamped with a date ten years into the future and warrantied for top-level competitive until then. Bowls of any age can be used in club competitions and social bowling. Your new bowls will probably outlive you! 

Training and Coaching

All members of the club’s Player Development Committee have completed the National Coaching Certification Program Level I.

The club currently has 19 coaches. With the support of coaching assistants, they conduct the basic introductory courses for beginning bowlers.

Coaches are also available on request to assist any bowlers who want help to improve aspects of their game. You can attend scheduled coaching clinics, which are run by the coaches from time to time for groups of players, or you can contact one of the coaches to arrange for a personal coaching session.

If you are interested in qualifying to be a lawn bowls coach or umpire, see the Club Coaches page and the Club Umpires page.

Online videos and tutorials are also available to help you:

  • This animated tutorial from the Stanley Park Club in Vancouver gives a clear explanation of the game. (Requires Flash)
  • This series of videos from South Africa explains the elements of lawn bowling for new bowlers.
  • This professionally produced series of videos from New Zealand can help you improve your delivery technique.
  • Lawn Bowls Coaching by Australian Rob Judson is an e-book (2.57MB) that is a comprehensive free guide for coaches.
  • Play to Win at Lawn Bowls describes the various shots in lawn bowling and the roles of each member of a team,n which will help you improve your playing tactics as a team member.

Laws of the Sport

This link takes you to the latest edition of the official Laws of the Sport, Crystal Mark Third Edition.

Note that rule 10.1.3 of the Laws should have been amended to read:

“10.1 The jack has been improperly delivered if it comes to rest:
. . . . 10.1.3    at a distance of less than 23 metres (21 metres outdoors in Canada) from the mat line.”

See Bowls Canada website, Bowls Canada Amendments section.

Lawn Bowling Etiquette

Lawn bowling etiquette harks back to an earlier age of good sportsmanship and good manners. The slightly ritualized behavior adds to the charm and inclusiveness of the game, and also helps move the game along.

You can find many versions of lawn bowling etiquette on websites of other clubs. The Code of Bowling Etiquette published by Bowls USA gives a quick summary. A more detailed and useful description occurs in Lawn Bowls – How to Play the Game: Etiquette, Strategy, Rules, Guidelines, from the Doncaster Bowling Club. This document provides a comprehensive review not only of etiquette but pretty much all you need to know about the game, condensed into six pages.

Player Rating Committee

The prime responsibility of the OBLBC Player Rating Committee is to rate each playing member at one of the following levels: Skip; Third; Second; Lead.

Current members of the Committee are Linda Carswell-Bland, John Cossom, Helen Kempster and Jeff Machan.

Here are the Terms of Reference for the Committee.

Novices Program

If you are new to lawn bowling, you can improve your game with a number of training sessions organized by the club for you, and also some novices-only competitive events. See the Novices Program webpage.


The drawmaster is responsible for organizing the Daily Draw. Our club is always in need of new drawmasters and we should all volunteer from time to time, since we have all benefited from our well-organized daily draws.

Here is the Drawmaster Checklist describing exactly how to organize a draw at our club. The drawmaster needs to know the rink layout for the day.


A “marker” assists the players in a singles game by centering the jack, marking touchers, identifying shot bowls and various other duties that speed up the progress of the game. A supply of markers is always needed for singles tournaments.

Becoming a marker is the first step towards becoming a coach and/or an umpire. We would like all serious bowlers to take a markers course, when they are available, and volunteer to mark as often as possible. The marker is expected to know the laws of the game and to carry out a marker’s duties correctly.


The Duties of a Marker

The following helpful documents were prepared by coach and umpire, Nick Watkins, formerly of the Victoria LBC, who gives them out at his course for markers.

  1. Markers handout 1 – the laws
  2. Markers handout 2 – important points
  3. Markers handout 3 – Do’s and Do-Not’s

Here is a pocket-sized Summary of Marker’s Duties. It is a reminder list that you can print off and carry with you when you are marking. Review it just before the game.

Hand Signals

This video clip reviews the common hand signals.

Player development takes time . . .