Strategy for Novice Bowlers

  • Watch Your Opposition
  • Study the Green!
  • One hand wider/narrower than the other hand?
  • Are there irregularities on either hand that could be avoided?
  • Is the pace of the green fast, slow to moderate?
  • Does your opponent favour one hand more than the other?
  • Even his/her badly played Bowl, position- wise, can provide you with information-you may have to play there.

Six Basic Playing Strategies

Refrain from over-building a head

  • When several shots are already held, you create a larger target & risk the chance of losing your built-up head by an easy-to-hit drive,
  • By adding bowls to the head your position is weakened elsewhere on the green, should the jack move back

Vary the length of the Jack

  • Exploit your opponent’s weaknesses by playing a length beneficial to you & troublesome for the opposition

Vary the length of the mat

  • May confuse the opponent
  • May change the way the green works in your favour

Get a second shot in the head

  • If you have already shot, a second shot will serve as insurance against the removal of your only shot
  • If you are down two or more shots in the head, a second shot will minimize your loss, especially if the position is such that it is virtually impossible to get shot bowl.

Match a cluster of your opponent’s bowls with one of your bowls

  • Reduces the possibility of losing a big end either intentionally or accidentally
  • If the cluster is behind the jack, a matching bowl will deter your opponent from moving the jack back.
  • Such a bowl may force your opponent to change his shot to the more skilful & more difficult draw shot.

Back bowls are better

  • Jacks move back far more often than they go forward
  • Can avoid the loss of a big end if a back bowl is put into position early in the end


  • Watch experienced bowlers play & try to guess the next shot
  • Ask experienced bowlers about their strategies


  • Practice-playing pickup games is not practicing
  • Practice-adding weight or subtracting weight
  • Two teams of 2, 3, 4 bowlers & each one take turn adding weight or subtracting weight-point For each one that goes further or is closer if subtracting weight.
  • Setting up a simulated end – e. three bowls in a triangle within 15 feet of the ditch
  • Practice drawing with mat closer to the hog line
  • Draw to the jack – two players & a coach or friend with a measurement (piece of string), any bowl further from the jack to be removed.
  • Everyone likes to drive – should be left to the vice to break up head – two bowls set a mat apart score 3 points for going between bowls; one if you hit the bowl.
  • As the skip you must have confidence in your draw weight, if not, it really does not matter what strategy you have in mind. Winning will be a challenge.