Lawn bowls is a precision sport in which the goal is to roll slightly asymmetrical balls (called bowls) closer to a smaller white ball (the ‘jack’) than your opponent is able to do. Related to bocce and pétanque, this game is a popular sport and leisure activity in Canada and around the world. In fact, an estimated 296,000 Australian men and women play bowls.
Lawn bowls is played for the challenge and competition, personal enjoyment, activity, the pleasure of spending time outdoors and for social interaction. It is also a low impact, therapeutic form of exercise.
Health professionals recommend playing bowls, particularly for older people, as it provides a number of health benefits, including:
- Improved fitness
- Improved coordination and skill development
- Increased confidence and self-esteem
- Enhanced mental well-being
- Low risk physical activity, because it is low impact
- Social contact, because it’s a great way to keep in touch with friends
- Community connection and support.
Because of its relaxed pace and comparatively light physical demands, lawn bowls is a popular participant sport, particularly for the elderly. There is also a considerable professional competition dominated by younger men and women.
A good way to get started is to join a local club or start playing socially.
Falls are the most frequent cause of injuries in lawn bowls. Other common causes are overexertion and being struck by a bowl. The repetitive movement of bowling is also associated with overuse injury. Common injuries are strains, sprains and fractures. Some tips to avoid injuries include:
Things to remember
- See your doctor for a check-up if you have a medical condition, are overweight, are over 40 years old or haven’t exercised regularly.
- Warm up and stretch before play to improve joint range of motion, promote elasticity of tendons and ligaments, and prevent muscular strain.
- Cool down after play to prevent stiffness and cardiovascular complications.
- Take lessons from a qualified coach to develop skills and technique.
- Practice correct technique because poor delivery or balance, or incorrect grip of the bowl, can lead to injury.
- Use a trolley if you experience difficulty lifting a bowls bag.
- Seek professional advice when selecting bowls to ensure they are the correct size, to improve technique and prevent injury.
- Wear grip sole shoes when stepping off the green.
- Be sun-smart. Wear 30+ SPF sunscreen on exposed skin and a broad-brimmed hat.
- Avoid playing lawn bowls in extreme weather conditions.
- Drink water before, during and after activity.
- Lawn bowls is a low impact, therapeutic exercise that can improve fitness, coordination and confidence.
- Consider lessons to develop adequate skills and technique.
- Warm up and stretch before and cool down after play.