Playing bowls is tricky enough at the best of times, but throw in a strong wind and you will find it gets much much harder! Here are some great hints and tips to help play better in windy conditions.
Playing bowls is a great excuse to get outside and enjoy some sun. Nothing beats getting outdoors with good company and enjoying a game in peaceful conditions.
However, not many of us like playing in the cold and windy weather we often face. Not only can it be miserable to play in, but the wind will play havoc with your game. I this article I’ll help to guide you through the main issues of playing in strong winds, and how to best combat the conditions.
Playing in windy conditions is a problem, as its another factor impacting on the line and weight of your bowl, as well as your body as you go through your delivery action. Lets look at those in a bit more detail
Much like how the different conditions of grass will affect the path of your bowl, so will the wind.
If it’s a head wind you will find your bowl will pull up short, and the opposite will be true in the other direction.
A cross wind will affect the line of the bowl as it is much harder for the bowl to turn into the wind. Conversely it will turn more when it is being “pushed” by the wind when the bias is pointing in the direction of the wind.
The best delivery techniques are those that are repeatable. The problem that many bowlers face is that strong winds blow them off balance – which makes it much harder to find that elusive repeatability.
This is especially true for those who have more of an upright stance in their delivery start point as this causes a much higher centre of gravity.
The key to a consistent line and length is using each shot to increase your knowledge on how the green is playing/
This is made tricker when the wind blows in gusts. When you deliver the bowl in between the gusts it will travel in a much more natural fashion compared to when it is delivered directly during a gust.
This makes making adjustments and reading the green harder, and leads to bowlers second guessing themselves.
Simply being aware of the issues you’ll face in windy conditions will help, however here are a handful of other tips to help you along.
If you are finding the wind is intermittent you may want to wait on the mat in your delivery stance until the wind dies down. This will help as you will find the conditions when you bowl will remain consistent.
This probably isn’t the best solution as you could find the wind picks back up again the moment the bowl leaves your hand. Also, you may find yourself thinking more about the wind than the shot you’re about to play.
This is best when the wind is less frequent, and the gaps between gusts are longer. Probably one to avoid if you’re playing with those who are impatient!
Simply being aware that the wind is playing a part in the shots you play is important. Getting a rough idea on the line and weight is key, and then not letting yourself get obsessed by variances in your shots.
Keep an eye on other players, especially those who you know have great line and weight control. If you see they are struggling then it makes it easier to ease up on yourself for similar problems.
The key to keeping the effects of the wind to a minimum is to reduce the time the bowl is in motion. Therefore there is a great argument for keeping jacks short.
By keeping the ends short you will find the wind will have less of a factor on the shots you play, as they will finish their journey sooner (less time to effect the bowl) and will generally have a narrower line (making line variance less obvious).
Another way to reduce the impact of high wind is to play more aggressively.
More aggressive shots – such as weighted shots and drives – bend less, so will be less affected by the wind
This ideal for backend players, but is hardly an option for leads as the draw will always be the correct shot to play.
Playing in the wind is tricky. It affects your line and length, but if I could provide one top tip it would be “don’t let it get in your head”.
Over thinking the effects of the wind will do more harm than good
As with most things in bowls the key is staying calm and relaxed.