How To Stop Bowling Short In Lawn Bowls | A Beginner’s Guide

  • By: Reece Williams
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Lawn bowls looks dead easy to anyone who has never played it. After all, if folks manage to partake in the game well past 80, it must be a no-brainer? Fools. This becomes apparent as soon as you give these ignorant humans a go, sending the bowl rocketing into the gutter, or it plops at their feet. But even dedicated players struggle. A common irritation: the bowl stops short.

Bowling short in lawn bowls is typically due to poor weight transfer, negatively impacting your rhythm speed. A poor release can also cause the bowl to be short, as it is dropping from the fingers rather than rolling off. Concentrating on making a complete follow-through can help.

Lawn bowls is a sport where players need to make friends with gravity. Unlike sports such as gymnastics, where athletes attempt to defy gravity, lawn bowlers need to work with it. Too often, bowlers try to push through gravity, swinging their arms past their bum, stepping too far forward, and pushing the bowl, all of which can negatively impact balance, weight transfer, and rhythm speed.

Why You’re Bowling Short In Lawn Bowls

There are a few reasons you might be bowling short in lawn bowls:

  • Wrong size bowl
  • Poor weight transfer
  • Inconstant rhythm speed
  • Poor release
  • Lack of follow-through

These issues are all connected. One issue impacts all the rest. But one significant sign of a flaw in your form is if your movements are not a fluid unit. Your body should be moving together at one consistent and unified speed.

You Are Bowling With The Wrong Size Bowl

It is crucial to play law bowls with the correct size bowl. The wrong bowl impacts your grip. Poor grip leads to poor bowling. The wrong size bowl can affect everything in your game. So ensure the bowl is neither too big, too small, or the wrong weight.

You Are Bowling With Poor Weight Transfer

Poor weight transfer typically is due to two issues:

  • Too big of a pendulum swing
  • Too big or too short of a step

A pendulum swing uses gravity. You work with it, not against it or through it. You allow your arm to drop with a nice, relaxed shoulder that allows gravity to pull your arm back to about hip, mid-bum.

Have somebody film you. If your arm isn’t reaching your hip or mid-bum area, you are resisting gravity. If your arm is swinging past your bum, you are pushing through gravity.

Trust gravity, and allow it to pull your arm back just right.

Gravity also influences our natural forward step. When we step short, we are resisting gravity. When we step far, we are pushing through it. You want a nice, easy step off the mat that puts you forward, naturally. Too short or too far will impact your balance, accuracy, and how far you can bowl.

The pendulum swing should work as one, allowing gravity to take the lead.

You Are Bowling With Inconsistent Rhythm Speed

The rhythm speed should be consistent. It is about doing the above in a fluid motion. This takes practice. You don’t want to rush gravity or linger. It’s a dance step that must be performed the same way every time.

You Are Bowling With A Poor Release

A common reason for bowling short is loving gravity too much. Instead of allowing the bowl to roll off your fingers, nice and gentle with gravity, you let gravity completely take over, and the bowl plops off. A dropped bowl loses accuracy and speed.

You Are Bowling Without A Follow-Through

Follow-through is performed after the bowl has left the hand. Thus, it can seem silly to care since the bowl is no longer in your control. However, a good follow-through helps your body “dance.” Without it, it is difficult to maintain a smooth and consistent rhythm speed.

When you stop short after the bowl, you have readied your body, shifting your weight, to pull yourself up and out of the movement. This means you are impacting your weight transfer and creating inconsistencies in your rhythm speed.

Thus, when you perform a follow-through, you are allowing your body to complete the previous movements in a fluid and consistent motion.


Stopping short is a sign something is off. First, check you are using the suitable size bowl, as the wrong size throws everything off. After that, have somebody film you from the side so you can pinpoint where your bowling is out of sync in your movement.

Once you identify the main culprit, all it takes is adjustment and practice. Remember, gravity is your friend.

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Get The Complete Lawn Bowls Drill Pack

The Jack High Bowls Drill Pack is available now for instant download.

Perfect for beginners and improving players looking to be more consistent and win more games!