Ealing out-of-hours
Ealing out-of-hours

What is Indoor Bowls?

June 14 2019


The benefit of Indoor Bowling is that it can be played at any time, no matter the weather. It’s an inclusive sport that can be played by all ages and abilities including wheelchair users and blind bowlers. With thousands of clubs across the UK you’ll be sure to find a bowls club near you. 

How is it played?  

Even though, bowls can seem like a simple sport to understand, it requires a certain degree of tactical thinking. You are given four bowls a game to get as close to the small white ball that is known as the ‘jack’. The game is made difficult by the bowls ball being an almost spherical ball, with flattened sides and a weight bias. The game can be played as singles, pairs, triples and four-player teams.

The game begins after a coin toss that determines who goes first. The first bowler takes their place on the mat and rolls the jack to the other end of the green as a target. When the jack is thrown it must travel to at least 23m which will then be moved to the centre of the rink. The players then take turns to bowl. The competitor that gets closest to the jack receives one point. The direction is then reversed and the game continues until the first player reaches 21 or the highest score after 18.

In Bowls there are different types of delivery that make the bowl turn in different ways. The draw shot is when a player attempts to roll the ball without disturbing other bowls. This is done by a bowler initially aiming for one side of the ball which then curves to the other side. The drive bowl is when a player hits either the jack or a specific bowl with considerable force and the upshot or yard on bowl is when a player hits only the jack without going out of play. If a bowl reaches the ditch – a small gully at the end of the pitch - without touching the jack it is out of play.

What do you need

If you are a beginner starting bowls all you need take with you is a bowls set which can be found at a local sports shops or online for either buying or renting. The dress etiquette is shirt or blouse, with trousers or a skirt and a pair of smooth soled bowling shoes. If you do not own a pair of bowling shoes, you can also wear tennis or other soft soled sport shoes.

The benefits of playing Bowls

Indoor Bowls has a range of benefits from your health to your wellbeing. These benefits include:

  • Improves hand eye coordination
  • Strengthening bones, muscles and joints
  • Affordable to play
  • Helps towards regular exercise which can prevent depression, anxiety and create a healthy sleeping pattern
  • A great place to meet people

How the Care UK and English Indoor Bowls Association Partnership promotes a healthy lifestyle

Care UK Healthcare aims to help indoor bowlers of all ages when they are in need of healthcare, as well as promote the sport by introducing their patients to an indoor club near them. Care UK wants to raise awareness of the benefits of bowling which combines gentle exercise, tactical thinking and socialising.