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  1. Darryl Fitzgerald
  2. Coaching Discussion
  3. Wednesday, August 07 2013, 10:59 AM
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I'm curious to know if anyone has ideas on drills to prepare yourself for slower greens??

As we all know Districts and Provincials are not always played on the best greens available. Even playing on greens in various provinces for other events can prove to be a challenge with speed.

I practice on one of the better greens on my area and in comparison to other greens it is a moderate speed (10-11 seconds) on a good day and often running in and around 10 and dropping to 9 in off weeks where nothing is happening.

I find it easier to prepare for faster greens as I play short drills, often moving the mat to the hog and playing towards the ditch. But preparing for slower greens is often a challenge. I would say that I should be preparing for slower greens more often than fast as I can only count a handful of greens i'd consider "fast".

Does anyone have tips or drills they would suggest for moving to slower greens??
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Dan Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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HI debedeen
This is always a touchy subject... the fact that we have to play on anything less than 11 seconds is a shame... however it does happen. In some cases it may mean that our own home club has those shaggy greens and we have no choice.

Couple of things you can do if you are blessed with home greens that are fast and know that you are heading out to a green that is slow.

Physically: you should be prepared to get warmed up before the game, even walking briskly is a good idea... followed by some leg stretches, especially the quad and hamstring stretches...... follow up each game with just a few minutes of these same stretches otherwise your quads especially will be paying for it later... meaning your game will also pay for it. What happens on slow greens is that your normal delivery is altered, usually resulting in a longer step as you follow through more. The longer step will put more stress on your quads... something they probably haven't been used to on your home 13 seconds greens! Without warmup and stretching you could be toast by the 3rd game... even the slightest tightness in your quads can affect your delivery... been there done that didn't like it a bit!

If you know you are going to be playing a lot on slow greens it may be a good idea to incorporate some lunges and squats into your exercise routine... anything to help with your quads and hamstrings... a search on the internet will provide you with lots of good exercises for those muscles. As you can tell playing on slow greens is not as much about arm strength as it is your legs and perhaps even your core.

Technique: As mentioned before you will probably be following through more (think more like a running shot) in an effort to get the bowl further. Forget what you have heard about increasing your backswing... that is poor technique and leads to a sharper angle of descent which leads to more bounced bowls than people think, and a bounced bowl loses distance.

My home greens are only 108' long. Knowing I would be playing on 120' most of the time I would simply play corner to corner, which in fact was more than 120' but if took away any trepidation I may have had over not being able to play longer, or in your case heavier greens. What it would also do is prepare your leg muscles for the inevitable extra stretching they are going to get at 8 - 9 seconds.

Strategy: It's basically just heave and hope... but the best policy is usually to at least play to the head or beyond. When the jack is struck by most draw weights it will not move far. Even some driven jacks do not stand a chance of existing the rink. You know however that back bowls will always come into play on heavy greens so it's probably best to get those in early and bash around in the head with the rest of the bowlers later. As you can probably tell there will not be a lot of finesse involved at 8 - 9 seconds. I could suggest playing a bit on your front lawn which will do 2 things. One, it will boost your confidence, as when you start play on the shaggy greens they will seem not as bad as you were expecting, and two, it may attract some of your neighbours to the game of bowls!

My goal is to play only 12 - 15 seconds greens. I am disappointed when I get to a green having been told they are very fast only to find they are still in the 10+ range. Even then I find a tension in my quads building throughout the day. Let's hope that one day we can help our smaller clubs and those with town lawnkeepers prepare their greens for playing Bowls as it was meant to be played.
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  1. more than a month ago
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Darryl Fitzgerald Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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All of the above is great prep work for slow greens. I often take a quick jog around the green and do a stretch/warm-up before games, especially when I know it's going to be on a slow green.

Far too often I come off the green with sore legs, sore back and feeling tired despite having done some good prep work.

I have sometimes done a drill at my home club where I play a consistent yard through shot (something 2-3 feet past a given target). On slow greens I often start a game by playing the same idea, putting my intended target 2-3 feet beyond the jack (or bowl). I often find i'm short to start with (consistently short) and by putting my target beyond the jack and ignoring the jack distance I can then come up short and still be within 2 feet of the jack. As I get comfortable with the weight and grass, I can then adjust my target to get closer and closer to the intended target point.

Up to this point I just haven't found anyone who really thinks enough about adjusting from slow to fast and back to slow greens to have a training plan.
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Dan Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Darryl... one thing I taught when I was coaching the National Team was Shiatsu... check it out sometime... the part I used extensively and still do whether its Bowls or Golf, works the same... when you get a few seconds, and that's all it really takes, knock off your shoe, and start giving yourself a foot massage... you can look up the details but here is a simple video link ... I'll probably make a bowls related one and post it in my Delivery Doctor series but this will do for now... then you can look up some charts from this link... last step after the massage is either donning a new pair of socks... or... believe it or not... turning yours around so the tops are now on the bottom... almost feels like a new pair of feet... and the feet are connected to the legs which got tired and which are connected to the back which got sore... :( ... a simple shiztsu foot massage can actually do wonders, especially during international games that often last 4 hours or more.

from an equipment standpoint... when the greens are running slow... and here comes the plug... you just can't beat a set of MW Lignoids! B)
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Dan Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Up to this point I just haven't found anyone who really thinks enough about adjusting from slow to fast and back to slow greens to have a training plan.


Last year we had a couple of our Juniors in Cobourg head up to Peterborough to play on their greens... they were much more comfortable playing on their full length greens after doing the corner to corner exercise. It didn't come as a shock to them as they had already played that length on our "108 foot " greens here in Cobourg... corner to corner in Cobourg was more distance than the full length Ptrbro greens... they did very well indeed!

Funny... playing first bowls behind the jack has always been my preferential call for the very reason you mention... if you are playing 5 feet behind and make a mistake, 90% of the time that mistake will be a short bowl... which in this case will get you within a decent proximity of the jack, and usually behind... still a very useful bowl... as opposed to someone trying to play to the jack, plays short and ends up blocking what may have been the best side in
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Darryl Fitzgerald Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Great suggestions,

I will try using the massage you mention in my next tournament to see how it goes. Often I take the shoes off just for a breather/rest of the feet, but never really did anything else.

Thanks Dan!
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