Player Etiquette

Being a Better Bowler



The following are just a few of the little courtesies that you can use which will create a harmonious atmosphere that will be pleasant and enjoyable for all who play the sport.


  • Arrive 10-15 minutes before the start of the game so that you can relax and socialise before the game begins.


  • If you are late, walk around the bank to join your rink. 


  • Do not walk across the rinks when play is in progress.


  • Do not play before your opponents bowl has come to rest.


  • Never talk when someone is about to deliver their bowl.

  • Don’t walk about or cast shadows when a player is on the mat

  • Do not allow your shadow to rest over the jack.


  • When a player has delivered their bowl, allow them un-restricted view until their bowl comes to rest.  Do not walk up the green before the player on the mat.

  • Always stand behind the head, (At least one metre to the back and one metre to the side) not beside or in front of the jack.

  • Keep your mind on the game and be ready with bowl in hand when it is your turn to play.

  • Wait for your skips direction; do not make up your mind what shot to play.
  • You should not question the shot the skip has asked you to play, as they are in control and are planning the head and they are in the best position to see what shot needs to be played.

  • You should not ask questions when you are not in possession of the mat.
  • You are in possession of the mat from when your opponents bowl has
    come to rest until your bowl comes to rest.

  • If you are playing third, and your skips bowl has come to rest, you must not enter the head or indicate to your skip how many shots or how far his or her bowl is from the jack. (It is not your teams head).


  • Leave the mat immediately your bowl has come to rest.


  • Always watch all bowls being played whether they are your teams or the opposition team.  This will help with your concentration and knowing whose bowl is shot etc.

  • Be aware of the foot fault rule i.e. (Before delivery a player should be standing on the mat with one foot fully on the mat.  At the moment they deliver the jack or bowl the player should have all or part of one foot on or above the mat.


  • When an umpire is called, move away from the head and allow them room to work.
  • When deciding shots do not move a bowl until your opponent agrees.

  • Lift shots out of the head; do not kick them away as they are agreed.
  • Do not applaud your opponent if they accidentally give the shot away.

  • Always applaud your opponent’s good shots.

  • If you lose be a good loser.

  • It is good manners to inform your opponent if you wish to leave the green.
  • As the ‘lead player’ check with your skip where they want the mat placed.

  • Do not sit on the bank with your feet in the ditch.
  • As a skip, watch your players at all times in case they need direction, do not engage in idle chit chat with the opposition player when your player is about to bowl.

  • Show your skipper respect by allowing them to make decisions regarding the shot to be played.  Do not give directions unless asked.

  • When asked give clear and precise directions about the shot you think should be played and then get out of the head.  It is not necessary to advise the skip what bowls are in the head unless they ask


A thought to remember:

In all forms of sport, there are written laws and unwritten laws that govern play. 

Above are the most obvious ones, and are there for all to read. But it is implementation of the latter that the best spirit of sportsmanship is manifested, and this applies particularly to bowls.