25 DOs as a SKIP!
Allcock December 2013 BOWLS INTERNATIONAL
How to be an effective skip
my checklist for enhancing your skipping experience
25 do’s when undertaking the position of skip - much
more complex than simply playing bowls and giving out instructions.
1. Talk to you players beforehand, if only with a simple outcome to relax your
2. Educate others in respect of your own self perception. (For example, I
prefer to draw/I am a demonstrative skip/I prefer quick greens).
3. Practice the philosophy that a skip must always undertake a shot when the
chances of success are greater than failure.
4. Remember that concentration cannot be achieved unless you have some focus.
5. Understand the player’s feelings (nervousness/serious/too relaxed) and
6. Be honest and realistic.
7. Say only what you believe is helpful.
8. Understand the concept of the match (is it high competition/mildly
competitive/social) and adapt accordingly.
9. Avoid being too kind. (An example of this would be exclaiming: ‘well played,
that’s a great back bowl’ when you have requested a draw).
10. Be positive and maintain an air of confidence, (even though you may be
11. Adopt a style which, as a skip, acknowledges a bad bowl delivered without
illustrating your own disappointment as a result.
12. Remember you are the foundation of the unit and must strive onwards,
maintaining stability in all your undertakings. Appear confident (even though
inside you may not be).
13. Try to avoid any form of negative comments made to members of the team
about an underperforming player.
14. Keep instructions simple – be precise.
15. Give choices of shot whenever possible.
16. ‘Manage’ the idiosyncrasies of a rink in respect of finding and ‘keeping’
the ‘achievable’ hand for your players.
17. Balance the request for a shot with the ability of the player.
18. Exercise the opportunity to break any tension by finding a quip or saying
something which might ‘lighten’ or ‘diffuse’ a tense situation.
19. Conserve the power of vision and thought for things that matter in order to
enhance your team’s performance.
20. Be totally realistic about the opportunities the playing surface will/will
not afford. (For example, never ‘conveniently’ forget that the straight hand
will not allow you to bend around a short bowl to achieve the take out shot you
can see. It will never happen).
21. Adopt the choice of shot in accordance with the ‘kindness’ of the playing
surface whilst remembering the ‘tools’ (bowls) which the player in question is
22. Try to be a patient and serviceable leader when facing an adverse scoreline
so that any remnants of hope for a resolve will still be prevalent amongst the
23. When faced with adversity such as coping with overbearing or vocal
opponents, don’t be afraid to walk and play slower and above all never allow
yourself to be hurried.
24. Attempt to give feedback to your players in a discreet manner; players
learn more from a match which was lost than from one that was won.
25. Enjoy this wonderful sport and in order to maintain interest (and form as a
skip), occasionally play at the front end of a rink and listen to the skip –
you will learn a lot I am sure!
Suicidal Skipping...DON’T do it!
Allcock on 16 December 2013 BOWLS INTERNSTIONAL
25 things you should NOT do as a
– the habits we can adopt or acquire
that might actually be detrimental to your performance or that of your
In the main, it is important that the instructions you deliver to your
team-mates are informative and useful, and also concise. Regurgitating
information or explaining the obvious, such as ‘you’re tight,’ will not aid a
You must also ensure you are decisive when on the mat and know your players as
well as you possibly can, not just ‘think’ that you know them.
So...here we have it...the 25 things you should NOT do when skipping...
1. Have perceived expectations about the players in your rink. It is your
responsibility to find out about them.
2. Ever assume!
3. Become dictatorial.
4. Adopt an autocratic approach.
5. Regurgitate information that is pointless – or commence a running commentary
on bowls being delivered. Most players usually see what they need to correct
without it being reiterated.
6. Be false by being too kind with every bowl your team-mates deliver.
7. Show negative facial or physical movements which can be seen by your
8. Give too many instructions.
9. Offer too many choices of shot to the players in the rink. This leads to
10. Become so concerned with the needs of your players that you forget your
11. Be too intimidating with specific requirement of jack length by being
confrontational with your body/foot in respect of the request.
12. Allow too many people to give their opinion when deciding on a crucial
13. Ever go to the mat undecided – the result will definitely be a poor
execution of the required shot.
14. Enter into ‘idle conversation’ when trying to concentrate.
15. Ask a player to specifically ‘concentrate’ – it is too general. You need to
direct the thought process in order for this to apply.
16. Conveniently forget the limitations of a hand when under pressure.
17. Ever be pressurised to play what may be seen by onlookers as the ‘correct’
shot. They are not the ones experiencing the situation.
18. Imagine that a player with straight bowls will be able to easily get around
short bowls. You need to be realistic about this.
19. Make dramatic tactical changes without mentioning it to your players. They
may disagree but this information will support your decision and may arrest
20. Relax when faced with a comfortable scoreline lead. Invariably, this lead
will be caught if you do.
21. Hurry when losing. It is a fact that teams that are winning comfortably
find it beneficial to play quickly – perhaps to get to the bar.
22. Ever forget that there are, predominantly, four hands on every rink and
each will present a variance in line and weight.
23. Deliver bowls without sufficient thought. If you do, it is at this time you
are vulnerable to all the technical faults creeping in and these just love to
find a way into a player’s technical armoury during this time.
24. Play or practice too much; it is a sure way to lose form.
25. Ever assume before a match that you will lose (for whatever reason) as
bowls has a wonderful record of following the exception rather than the acknowledged