Is Lawn Bowls Dangerous? | A Complete Guide

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

People of a certain age worry about taking up new activities in-case they get hurt. Lawn bowls is one of the safest sports to take up, but isn’t without its own risks. Lets have a look at some of the thing to look out for.

Is Lawn Bowls Dangerous?

Before taking up any new activity it’s important to understand what the risks are. This is also true for bowls. Many new bowlers want their minds put at ease when starting, as they want to be confident they aren’t going to accidently hurt themselves.

Is Lawn Bowls Dangerous? Lawn bowls is often listed as one of the “most dangerous sports in the world” due to it’s high death rate amongst participants, however this is more to do with the demographic of bowlers rather than the sport itself. Bowls is actually a very safe sport, and injuries are often limited to knocks, bumps and strains.

Can Lawn Bowls Cause Serious Injuries?

Serious injuries can occur when playing lawn bowls. However these are often the cause of accidents on, or around the green.

Common accidents include:

  • tripping over a bowl
  • falling down the ditch around the green
  • being struck by a bowl in motion
  • delivering the bowl with incorrect balance

The worst than can occur with these accidents are fractures sprains and strains.

In the unlikely event of an accident you will often find the most common injuries affect the his, thighs, knees or lower leg.

Whilst these injuries and accidents can happen, they are very rare, and can be easily avoided.

Common Lawn Bowls Injuries

The 4 most common injuries in lawn bowls are:

  • falls
  • overexertion
  • repetitive movements
  • being struck by a bowl


As noted above it is possible to fall over, either by tripping over a bowl, or by falling down in the ditch.

The majority of the time this only really injuries the pride of the person who fell! But this can lead to bumps, bruises and commonly a sprained ankle.


It may seem laughable that you can overexert yourself playing lawn bowls, however games can be played over several hours and is also played outdoors during periods of hot weather.

Unless you are prepared with a good hat and plenty of water, you can quickly find yourself in trouble with heat stroke.

Those lawn bowlers between 55-75 were more likely to suffer from overexertion due to exacerbation of a previous injury.

Repetitive movements

By it’s nature, bowls is a game of repetition. As a bowler you will perform the same action up to 60 times in a game – and more in a day if you are playing a tournement.

Any kind of quirkiness in your delivery technique can lead to a strain, which in turn will only get worse the more you bowl. These kinds of injuries are horrid as they take quite some time to heal, and unless the underlying issue is addressed, they can keep coming back.

Repetitive movement injuries are common in the early season when greens are heavy and more force is used to deliver the bowl, and at the end of the season, where wear0and-tear has accumulated over the course of the season.

Repetitive injuries are common in the shoulders and the knees, so its important to keep an eye on any twinges you feel in these areas.

Being struck by a bowl

Finally, a common injury is caused by being hit by a bowl.

This is more common than you imagine. All it takes is a skip who likes to fire, and a group of bowlers not paying attention to the path of the bowl!

Obviously a bowl can travel pretty fast, and can cause some serious damage to feet and ankles. Probably one to avoid if you get the chance!

For more information, here is a full guide on the 4 most common injuries in lawn bowls.

How To Avoid Serious Injury When Playing Bowls

Avoiding injury in lawn bowls is simply about proper planning and preparation. Here are some common.

Bring the proper equipment

When you turn up to the green be sure to look beyond the bowls and your shoes before you go.

It’s important that you bring any other items that will keep you safe on the day. Things I always keep in my bag are:

  • sunscreen
  • a good hat
  • flannels
  • towels

This gives me everything I need come rain or shine.

Warm-up and stretch

This is something that is overlooked at club level. Being warmed up and ready to play is seemed as silly to many, but can be integral in making sure you’re safe when playing.

Here is my guide on the best warm up exercises for lawn bowls.

Keep hydrated

Finally, be sure to have enough water! This is true no matter what the weather, or which country you are in.

You should always bring enough water to keep you going for a full game – a decent sized water bottle should suffice in most conditions, but always be prepared with more if its a particularly hot day.


Bowls is one of the safest sports you can play – which is why it’s identified as a sport for all ages.

Obviously there are injuries to be had. Things like heat stroke and strains caused by repetitive motions can happen, but with proper planning and preparation these can be easily avoided.

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!

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!