Barefoot bowls will lead to top talent

by admin on July 25, 2014

The rise of barefoot bowls will lead to top talent coming through say Commonwealth Games bowls team, The rise of barefoot bowls will lead to top talent coming through say Commonwealth Games bowls team, Ian Payten reports for the Daily Telegraph and Fox Sports.

From barefoot bowler to Commonwealth Games gold medallist?

It hasn’t happened yet but according to the young guns of Australia’s lawn bowls team in Glasgow, it’s only a matter of time.

“Barefoot bowls has gone crazy in Australia over the past five years,” says Kelsey Cottrell.

“There are heaps of young people playing. There are so many juniors. When we compete for our different states, we all have so many young guys in our teams.

“At my club at Broadbeach on a Sunday afternoon, we would have four greens absolutely chockers.

“There would be 400 people go through and play barefoot bowls. You wouldn’t have seen that 10 years ago.”

It’s not yet a flood, but that increased exposure to lawn bowls has already seen a steady number of youngsters putting on the shoes and taking up the sport.

“It helps to get people into bowls, instead of just your grandpa,” said fellow Aussie team member Carla Odgers, who is making her debut in Glasgow.

“It also helps that the Australian team is so young, because if they do happen to flick on the TV and see bowls, they’re not seeing what they saw ten years ago. They’re not seeing the long, white skirts and wide-brimmed white hats.

“We have miniskirts on, blonde hair, running around having a good time.”

Cottrel, Odgers and Natasha Scott were all born in 1990, and the 23-year-olds make up the majority of the women’s squad in Glasgow.

Their fresh faces are now the norm among Australia’s bowling elite, however, not the exception.

You’ll struggle to find an oldie in the Australian team these days, in fact.

The average age of the women’s team in Glasgow is 27 and the men’s average is 34. The oldest team members are two ancient 39-year-olds.

New Zealand has taken a similar approach to picking young bowlers for Glasgow – their average age is 31 – but the rest of the world still tend to lean towards age and experience.

Scott says the youth of the squad not only helps with team camaraderie and zest, it is physically beneficial as well in what can be a challenging sport.

“It definitely helps. We are performing the same motion, over and over again,” she said.

“We do play over a fair period of time, so as much as an 80-year-old may be able to play as well on one day, after five days in a row it’d be much harder.”
Caption: Members of Australia’s women’s bowls team (l-r) Carla Odgers (Lalor Bowls Club), Karen Murphy (Cabramatta) and Natasha Scott (Raymond Terrace). Source: Melvyn Knipe / News Corp Australia