Working out what size bowl to use is one of the first choices you have to make – and it doesn’t end when you first choose. You should constantly be looking at whether or not you are using the right sized bowl.
But how do you know which size bowl to use? And what changes when you are a lady?
The fundamentals of choosing what size bowl to use are the same regardless of whether you are a man or a woman. However there are certain aspects that affect women more than men.
Quick Note: In this guide I will be making a lot of generalisations. Not all of the points I make will affect all women, so please pick and choose what resonates with you.
In general, women will have smaller hands then men. This has the biggest impact on the size of bowl is comfortable to use.
What Is The Best Size Of Bowls For A Lady? As a general rule, women will often use either a size 1 or size 2 bowl.
In this guide I’ll go over other factors to consider, what techniques you can use to work out what bowl you should use, and what bowls might be best for you.
Factors in selecting lawn bowls for ladies
There are many reasons to get the size of bowl right.
This goes beyond simply “being comfortable”. A comfortable bowl is easier to hold and control, which will make it much easier for you to play well. Lets have a look at the top factors when selecting a bowl.
As I mentioned at the start of this guide, women tend to have smaller hands. This has a big impact on your ability to comfortably grip a bowl.
Your fingers are the last thing to touch on the bowl before it goes on its way up the rink. Therefore the grip has the biggest impact on your delivery. You want to be fully in control of that bowl all the way through your action.
Here are just a few common issues caused by poor grip:
- “dumping” the bowl – this is where the bowl is released too early and the bowl hits the ground. This affects both line and weight of the shot
- Bowl “wobble” – this is where the bowl isn’t released smoothly, and the bowl wobbles as it leaves the hand
- Hand and wrist tension – to hold on to a larger bowl a bowler will tense their hand. This affects the ability to comfortably control weight
As I touched on in the last section, poor grip caused by using too large a bowl can affect your ability to control weight.
There are 2 main reasons for this:
- tension in the fingers and wrist
- adjustments made in the delivery
Weight control is about being relaxed, and allowing your brain and body to adjust to the conditions. When you are tense this will affect your ability to deliver a bowl smoothly.
Bowlers who use a bowl that is too large often adjust their delivery technique to hide the issues.
This can be seen in a bowler who doesn’t have a backswing (in case the bowl falls out behind them!). And often those who has a short jolting delivery, in order to reduce the time the bowl is in the hand.
Benefits of a larger bowl
Whilst I have been mainly focused on bowlers who use bowls that are too large, it is also important to consider those who use bowls that are too small.
Whilst you will still have better control, you will miss out on some of the benefits of a larger bowl.
Larger bowls are easier to add weight too. The extra weight in the hand makes it easier to draw to long jacks – especially on heavy, or wet surfaces.
I cover many of these benefits (plus a few myths!) in my complete guide to selecting a size of bowl here.
Ways to decide the right size
There are 3 main ways you can work out what size bowl to use. For each method just pick up the size of bowl you think is right then try one of the following:
- wrapping your hands around the bowl
- holding the bowl
If you weren’t able to do the task, then try again with a size down. if you were able to do it then try a size up.
Continue this until you find the largest size that you can hold comfortably. This will give you the best control of your bowl whilst getting all of the benefits of a slightly larger bowl.
Lets look at each of those tasks in a bit more detail.
Wrap your hands around the bowl
This test is to check the size of your hand span against the bowl. To check this, do the following:
- wrap both hands around the running surface of the bowl
- the thumbs should be at the bottom and the middle fingers at the top. i
- if the fingers meet without straining, the bowl could be the right size for you
- if the fingers do not meet, then try a smaller sized bowl
Holding the bowl out stretched
This test is to check you have the strength to hold the bowl.
To test this simply hold the bowl as you would when you bowl. Then stretch your arm forward, holding the bowl up directly in front of you.
You should be able to hold this position for 20 seconds without feeling any strain in your wrist or shoulder.
If you do, then the bowl is possibly too heavy, and you should try a smaller size.
Hold the bowl and turn it upside down
The best test (in my opinion) is to simply hold the bowl with your normal bowling grip, then turn your hand upside down.
You should be able to keep hold of the bowl without straining, or worrying about it slipping out.
If it does slip out, or if you are really struggling to hold the bowl, try a smaller size.
Keeping hold of the bowl is extremely important, that’s why selecting the correct size bowl is critical.
Whilst women do have smaller hands, it simply means that a smaller bowl should be used.
By having the correct bowl, you should be able to control it as you go through your delivery motion. This will in turn improve your line control and your weight control.
Try the steps outlined above and you should be well on your way to getting the right size.