Most bowls is played over 21 ends; but the principle is the same for any game. Don’t look at the game as a whole; but break it down into sections.
Ends 1 to 5: Settle in, get the pace and draw lines right, observe the opposition and see what they want to play. (Long ends? Skips and 3rds drive a lot? Mat placement? Which hand are they playing?)
Ends 6 to 10: Play within yourselves and take a few more risks with appropriate shots.
Ends 11 to 15: If behind, concentrate HARD on every bowl to peg the opposition back. If in front, continue to play the way that got you there. DON’T go too defensive!
Ends 16 to 21: If in front, set a target to pick up another 5 - 6 shots. Remember, 6 ends at 1 up means the opposition can’t score and you control the game and how it is played. The only time to take risks in this segment is to try to gain an aggregate win for the club.All rinks, whether behind or ahead should pick up as many shots as possible. If 4 rinks can pick up 4 extra shots each, it means 16 on the aggregate!
With at least 4 (and possibly 7) promotions for the 2020-2021 season, many of us will be playing at levels at which we have never played. This raises the questions of skill levels and “performance under pressure”.
Pressure can be defined as “The act or effect of exerting strain, stress, or tension on someone”.
It is timely to remember the 5 Cs:
There is not 1 of us who hasn’t put down a world class bowl. The difference between the divisions is that those in the higher grades, do it more often. The higher the grade, the more often it happens!
I would venture to suggest that the higher-grade players also have higher levels in each of the 5 Cs.
Dedicated practice to improve the first 3 will result in the Confidence to Commit to the shot and SUCCESS
A draw shot to the jack is exactly the same shot whether you are 5 down or 5 up. Only the consequences of failure are different and it is fear of failure that creates “stress”.
The more you can increase your levels of the 5 Cs, the more chance you have of making the crucial shots. The trick is to relax, take a deep breath and play the shot with CONFIDENCE and COMITTMENT.
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t succeed, the sun will still come up tomorrow