Carla’s Corner – Edition Three
Dual Commonwealth Games gold medallist and world champion Carla Krizanic continues to share her insights in her third column for bowls.com.au, as she lives through Victorian lockdown restrictions while eagerly awaiting the arrival of her second child.
This week on Bowls Australia’s ‘The Right Line’ podcast, we chatted to Narre Warren Bowls Club President Eric Sydenham; it was phenomenal to hear of a club growing their membership base and entering more teams into the pennant competition.
How to get barefoot bowlers into shoes and playing competitively is one of the hottest topics at club land; it’s quite the challenge these days to try and increase participation when the everyday person leads such a busy lifestyle.
I want to talk a little bit about what converted me from a youngster, just chucking a few bowls down for fun, into a fully fledged competitive player.
When I first started bowling, there was a wide array of competition options that allowed me to take the next step in playing competitively for my club. As a school-aged player, I was unable to play midweek competitions and I wasn’t interested in playing on weekends because I was too busy playing other sports and being a teenager.
Luckily the club also had a night pennant competition, which I decided to partake in. This made it possible for me to transition from a social bowler that played sporadically into a competitor for the club and ultimately a full member. If it wasn’t for that format being available I would never have taken up the sport and missed out on a lifetime of success and enjoyment.
I highly encourage clubs that are hoping to increase participation to have a variety of competitions available that might suit different people and diverse lifestyles.
The biggest factor for me continuing on as a competitor in the sport has been the club environment. When I was starting, people would go out of their way to introduce themselves, they welcomed me to the club, made me feel like I was part of the team and showed me the ropes so that I felt comfortable. All of those niceties and welcoming actions kept me involved in the sport.
Clubs must ensure that each new member knows where everything is, what competitions and social events are on the calendar, organise coaching so they feel comfortable getting out playing if they are new to bowls and support them with any equipment they need to get started. But most of all, make sure they are immediately introduced to friendly faces and welcomed into the club with open arms.
Next time you see a new member at your club, don’t forget to take the time to say hello, it might just be the difference between a future pennant star or them moving on to a different sport.
Take care and stay safe.