Do You Know What Size Bowl I Should Be Playing With?

Drakes Pride Professional Bowl (Coloured) - black harlequin

We have already mentioned the various makes and models of Bowls and the bias, but what is the right size?

With respect this is more of an issue for the beginner rather than the established Bowler as being completely new to the game they have no idea about the various biases, weights and sizes.

A purple bowl from Drakes Pride - but which size should you choose?

99.9% of Bowlers are lovely, helpful people and they will always give you their personal opinion on what is the right Bowl for you, but the make,model and size of Bowl they use will not necessarily suit everyone else.

There will then be the range of second Bowls that are advertised on either Club notice boards or the various internet auction sites and then there are the Bowls that have been passed on by a relative or friend. You will read,hear and receive advice from all angles and the confusion this will create will only end once you have purchased your Bowls.

So How Do You Decide Your Bowl Size?

If you are new to the game the majority of people will try and borrow a Bowl that is small and therefore lighter, this only means you will get to much hand around it and so tend to chuck it rather than Bowl it. Theoretically From a tactical point of view a smaller lighter Bowl will not put up much of a fight against an opponents larger heavier Bowl when it comes to moving it out of the way and vice versa. So the general rule is to go for the largest size Bowl that you can comfortably handle as this will give the Bowl more momentum thus technically you will use less physical effort and so start to be more consistent with your delivery. 

There are generally three ways of measuring what size of Bowl you should have.

  1. Take for example a size 3” Bowl place both your hands around the belly of the Bowl until the second fingers meet at the top and the two thumbs touch at the bottom. Providing they just meet and do not overlap or there is no gap between the second fingers or thumbs then this would be considered the right size.
  2. Holding your arm out straight with a Bowl in your hand and then without dropping the Bowl tip it over so your hand is now on top.

Both of these methods will help give you a guide to which size you should use,they will definitely show you which sizes not to have. But are they the best ways?

Lets take method 1. 

We have had people come into our shop with this method in mind and also the size they have been advised to have by using this method therefore they are convinced that is the size of Bowl they should have. We then notice their second fingers are touching but not around the middle of the Bowl so have they convinced themselves that is the right size they should have because an experienced Bowler has told them so. We then discover they have arthritis in the hand or in one or more fingers so ask them to turn the Bowl over to see if they can still hold the Bowl without dropping it and low in behold it drops.So is this the right method to use. 

Lets examine method 2. 

Holding your out stretched arm with a Bowl in your hand and then turning it up side down so the hand is now on top of the Bowl to see if you can still hold it is okay but what if you have an ailment or weakness in your arm ie arthritis, tendonitis or recovering from an operation? The grip will be much weaker and therefore the chances are you will drop the Bowl.So that puts that theory up for debate, so now what?

You can get all the info off the internet, read all the books and get all the advice from a variety of people but at the end of the day your best chance of getting the right size Bowl for you is to talk to an experienced Bowls specialist. They should have a hand measure/gauge which will give you the best indication as to which size Bowl you should have. You can then discuss any ailments you might have which will allow you to change the size up or down to obtain maximum comfort. 

In Conclusion

  1. If you want to start playing Bowls DO NOT BUY A SET OF BOWLS. Go and try the game first with any type of Bowl you can get your hands on to see if the game is for you and whether you are going to enjoy it.
  2. Once you know you are going to take it up spend as little time as possible chopping and changing between various makes,models,weights and sizes this will only confuse you. 
  3. Unless you know what you are looking for avoid buying Bowls from notice boards and auction sites.
  4. For the best advice go to an experienced Bowls specialist.

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