Bowling Guidelines

Your team take possession of the mat the instant the oppositions bowl stops.  It is then, and only then, during an end that you and the skip are allowed to communicate.  Always look at your skip to see what he wants you to do before you bowl.  Give the skip time to look at the head.

Your teams communication ends the instant your bowl stops.  Step back off the mat and all of the team stays silent.  The opposition is required to do the same.  If they do not, then remind them that they should be quiet and leave the head.

When someone is about to bowl, stand a yard or two behind them out of the way. Make no noise and do not move while the bowler has the mat.

Don’t walk through the head as you may disturb a bowl or the jack and the skip needs an unobstructed view.

When at the head end, stand behind the 3’s away from the head, the 3’s are in charge.  When at the head end it is more important to make no noise or move while a bowler has the mat.

Do not make noises or comment whilst the opposition is preparing to bowl or when their bowls are in motion. Do not comment on the oppositions bowls, bowls paths or bowling especially during their end.

Where possible, do not give away your ideas about the head and where or how to bowl.

Praise good shots - even opposition shots.  Be magnanimous in victory.  

Chat and enjoy the company and game.  Always practice good sportsmanship.

Give way to a bowler on adjacent rink if they are on their mat first  to ensure your bowl does not interfere with theirs.

If a bowl looks like it is permanently going out of rink then warn adjacent rinks to prevent interference and retrieve immediately..

If a legitimate bowl looks like it is going to hit a bowl in an adjacent rink then the bowl should be lifted to let the bowl pass and be replaced exactly.

When changing ends,  walk near the centreline of your rink.  This keeps you out of the way of the adjacent rinks and reduces wear on the bowling lines.

There are many other rules that exist, especially form the many unusual situations, which can be found in World Bowls Laws.


A wick is when a bowl changes course due to an impact with another bowl.  This may be intentional or unintentional.  It is bad form to cheer an unintentional wick which increases your shots or gives you an unintended advantage.

Running Shots - Firing

A running shot (often known as firing) is one that is delivered with weight with the aim of altering the head to advantage.  Some information on firing is available online but almost none on etiquette.

Possible reasons for firing:-
1. Should only be used if it is not possible to draw to save the end
2. Clear the oppositions bowls away from the jack to gain shot
3. Clear the oppositions bowls away from the jack to reduce shots against
4. Move oppositions bowls in the head to gain tactical advantage
5. Clear oppositions bowls off the rink to gain advantage
6. Clear your own bowls away from the jack in a controlled manner before the opposition gain advantage
7. Move the jack to a more advantageous position
8. Kill the end for a replay
9. Emotional - Frustration, Hope, Anger, Desperation, Satisfaction

The decision to fire generally rests with the skip after consultation.
Common sense and percentage risk should always prevail over emotion.

Firing intent can be signalled by the skip or bowler in various ways:-
1. Verbal
2. Bowl held in the air
3. Arm pointed straight at head/jack
4. Hand motioned straight at head/jack
5. Skip sweeping hand through the head showing speed and direction

Possible aspects affecting decision to fire:-
1. Bowler is capable of undertaking the shot
2. Bowlers confidence that drawing will be high risk or difficult
3. A path is available through the head to the impact point
4. The target area and path is achievable with the bowlers skills
5. Assessment of risk of detrimental events occurring
6. Assessment of gaining a favourable head changes
Preparations before firing:-
1. Make players on your rink aware of your intent to fire
2. Make them aware of possible danger from the fired bowl and any bowls set in motion
3. Be ready to prevent bowls or jack going out of the sides interfering with other rinks or players
4. Track the fired bowl to ensure it is marked if it hits the jack
5. If its an S-Bomb coming down, make sure everyone on the green knows…

Hot Shots

A Hot Shot is a reward for players achieving a maximum score on one end of a competitive pairs, triples or fours match.  An eight in pairs or fours or a nine in triples qualifies as a Hot Shot.  

The Hot Shots Club enables the team to claim certificates and purchase other merchandise.  To claim your Hot Shot go to Bowls International Hot Shots Club for further information and a link to the claim form.  The Recent Claimants list on this link lists recent CBC and CDIBC achievements/bowlers.

To claim certificates, a copy of the original scorecard signed by both teams,  the names of the bowlers in the Hot Shot team, a form signed by the club secretary and a cheque/postal order for postage and packaging are required.  The certificates are free.  Hot shot badges and bowls stickers can also be purchased.

Bowling Terms

There are many terms and volcabulary used in bowling.  Many of them are common, some are specific to countries, some are specific to regions.  Many bowling clubs have attempted to list and explain these on the www,  none are complete.  

A comprehensive range of bowling terms can be found at the following web site:-
James Gardens Lawn Bowling Club - a Canadian bowling club

Dead Bowls

The most common conditions related to dead bowls are given below.  A number of others exist that are detailed in World Bowls rules.  

A bowl once launched can be classified as dead and removed under the following conditions.  It should be removed as soon as it is declared dead:-

- Foot fault
      - one warning then subsequent bowls are declared dead and removed
- Bowl delivery before the jack or the previous bowl has come to rest
      - one warning then subsequent bowls are declared dead and removed
- Not a toucher and comes to rest in the ditch
- Not a toucher and rebounds out of the ditch
- Comes to rest less than 14m from the front of the mat
 - Knocked out of the ring during play
- Not liable to reenter the rink on its original course
- If the bowl is displaced during its run by the opposing team and has not disturbed the head
- If the bowl is displaced during its run by the opposing team and has disturbed the head the opposing skip can remove it or replace the head

A bowl is not dead under the following conditions:-

- It is carried by the player to inspect the head
- It comes back from outside the side boundaries of the rink
- It is a toucher and rebounds onto the green
- It is a toucher and comes to rest on the jack or a bowl in the ditch
- If a bowl is not a toucher and has not had its chalk marks removed, marks should be removed asap.
Bowling Tips

Camberley Bowling Club
Southwell Park Road,  Camberley,  Surrey,  GU15 3QQ
Founded 1928
Affiliated to BE, SCBA & SCWBA
Page Contents:-

 - Bowling Guidelines
 - Wicks
 - Running Shots - Firing
 - Hot Shots
 - Bowling Terms
 - Dead Bowls