Skill Measurement – For coaching and training

Skill measurement is something I personally think is overlooked.  At my job we need to have measurements in order to know if we are doing well, poorly or if we are operating at a normal pace.  If we didn’t have stats on our work, we could be doing a terrible job and wouldn’t know until something blew up.

The same can be said for bowls.  How do you know if you are playing bad or really good?  Or even just normal?  Is it just a feeling you have?

I know that for a long time I took my personal results based on the outcome of a game.  So if I lost 10-9, I felt I was bowling ok.  If I lost 10-1 then I knew I was bowling poorly.  But then I had games I lost 15-2 and I knew I bowled really well and made a lot of shots, but just didn’t get a point result from it and other games I won 11-5 and knew I really didn’t bowl well, but just made some key shots.

By having a skill assessment on all your deliveries you can work out your personal best (PB) and eventually have an average for yourself to compare your current results to.  All skills should be tested at minimum jack length and then at maximum jack length.

Measuring Delivery skill

  • Measuring performance from 10 attempts: scoring is done by the number of deliveries ending within ‘Mat Length’ (ML) of delivery being attempted at the extreme lengths
Types of delivery, 19(10 attempts all deliveries)

Min.

B/Hand

Min.

F/Hand

Max.

B/Hand

Max.

F/Hand

1 Jack

n/a

n/a

2 Draw
3 Wrest out toucher
4 Add a yard
5 Trail– limit 1 m.
6 Trail– hide jack
7 Yard on
8 2 yard on
9 Drive
10 Push short bowl ML
11 Firm up shot swinger

12 Draw to ditch, ML

13 Draw spot right/ left

14 Widen the head

15 Firm shot & stay

16 Plug / block entry

17 Resting toucher

18 Caterpillar

19 Caterpillar opposition

Obviously this is an extensive list of many of the shots associated with bowls.  For a beginner or someone who may just be leading as a start may want to limit these tests to just shots used as a lead or take the top 10 shots.  This way you can start working and then add the more difficult or “back-end” shots as you get better and reach for higher goals.

Once you have tested yourself a couple of times you will then have a personal best (PB) for all skills as well as a general average for yourself.  The idea is to do this assessment monthly or on a semi-regular routine so you know how you are doing and where you need work.  Just because you may have a best of 10/10 draw to ditch doesn’t mean you will always be that good or that you will have a high average at it.

Please note that this exercise shouldn’t be drawn out or lengthy as it can get really boring to test and re-test shots.  Use it as a tool and use it to your benefit, but don’t get bogged down in it.  You’re not going to get better by rating yourself, only through drills and practice.  This will help guide your drills and practice in the right direction.

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