'The Shooters Stance' for lawn bowls
Is this the best way to improve your line control? Greater balance produces greater control, and repeatability this is the key to the perfect bowls delivery. The core idea behind The Shooter stance is to improve your balance.
Sometimes it pays to go against the grain. We can often make huge gains in our game by really looking at what we are taught and look to see “is there a better way?”. Today we are looking at an alternative theory for taking your pre shot stance. Popularised by Nev Roda it takes inspiration from the best players in the game, as well as players of other target sports, he claims this tweak will help improve your line control by 20%
“By reverse engineering success we can copy success. Many years of experimentation. This has the greatest impact on performance”
The technique is called “the shooter stance” as it replicates a rifleman’s stance. The idea behind it is if you’re a rifleman you need to have superior balance because you’re shooting a bullet that’s as big as say your little fingernail you’re hitting a target hundreds of feet away. As bowlers we must do the same.
Greater balance produces greater control, and repeatability this is the key to the perfect bowls delivery.
The core idea behind The Shooter stance is to improve your balance. This is achieved by angling the foot on your dominant side, so it goes perpendicular to your body. This leaves your other foot with the sole purpose of aiming your shot.
We will go into more detail as to why this helps, and the other assorted benefits, however for now we will just say that having the extra width from your foot you will be able to maintain stability in your action, decreasing the chances of “falling over” one way or the other. The results
Whilst The Shooter Stance isn’t taught in any mainstream coaching manuals, it has been used in one form or another by some of the most successful bowlers ever.
Dave Bryant dominated the sport for decades, and if you watch archive footage you can see he uses The Shooter Stance.
With 4 Commonwealth Gold medals in singles, 4 world outdoor singles gold’s and 4 world indoor singles championship gold medals to his name, he is officially the best player lawn bowls has ever seen, hands down.
Now that is a proper endorsement we can all get behind.
“I have seen at least a 20% increase in my consistency. It WILL do the same for you.”
The delivery stance
Traditionally we are taught to point your feet directly out towards that target, and aim with your right foot (if your right handed).
When you prepare for your delivery in The Shooter Stance we stop aiming with your right foot and we turn that foot completely to a right angle, so it points perpendicular from our body. In doing so we completely eliminate your right foot from aiming and its focus is all about balance.
As with a pole in the ground, if you double its width you will dramatically increase its ability to keep the top stable.
By having all of your balance on your right foot, you can put about 90% of your weight on it. Again, the main purpose of this foot is to maintain balance and we free up our left foot for steering your body towards the target.
You can watch the full video here.
Differences between forehand and backhand
One of the great aspects of the Shooters stance is that there is no difference between forehand and backhand.
The Shooters stance for the backhand is exactly the same, it’s just the aiming point that changes.
This dramatically increases consistency as you are performing the same setup and completion steps every shot. It also makes it much easier to switch between the forehand and backhand, if the game situation requires it.
The Shooter Stance doesn’t stop with just greater balance. It has many other benefits that will help improve your game.
As we are now placing 90% of our weight on our “balancing foot” we are able to actually lean over towards our delivery hand, and we can get our head directly over the bowl. In doing so it allows us to deliver the bowl directly below our eye line. By pointing the running surface towards your target mark you can actually see where the bowl is going to go every time.
Because your balance is amazing, and your head is over the top of the bowl you can see exactly where the ball is going to go every time.
Another great improvement can be found in your hip placement. By angling your right foot you are able to slightly rotate your hips. This gets them out of the way of your delivery swing, and can help prevent issues with your delivery arm coming across your body when delivering.
All of these will also benefit your line control. Greater line control leads to better weight control as you aren’t adjusting to compensate for wide deliveries.
Why it works
Bowls is a target sport where success is determined by the ability to hit a mark on the green hundreds of times in a row. This means you need to be able to hit your marks by keeping everything stable and do it consistently.
The best way to think about balance it to remember we’re connected to the ground by gravity. To consistently deliver a bowl along a given line and hit your marks you have to have a really good grip to the ground.
The problem occurs when our centre of gravity gets too high. When you have a high center of gravity, what generally tends to happen is your head will topple one way or the other, losing your solid foundation.
By angling your foot your are doubling your “foot print” making it easier to keep your head over the top of your centre of gravity. Imagine a pole that’s only as wide as your foot if I double the width of you can imagine how much the top of the pole moves.
So there we have it. I hope you try out The Shooter Stance the next time you have a roll up. The great thing about lawn bowls is there are a million ways to achieve the same result, you just got to find what works for you.