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The role of the manager

I was recently in attendance at the British Isles Indoor Bowls Council’s international series, held at Stanley Indoor Bowls Club. During the course of play, there were a number of incidents where a team manager was involved in the ‘shot’ decision making process. I was approached by a spectator asking what the law was in relation to the ‘role’ of the team manager.

The World Indoor Bowls Council’s version (indoor) is very basic and clear.


The manager, or coach of a team or side or, in the absence of both, the manager’s delegated deputy, may give advice from beyond the boundaries of the green.

The World Bowls version of the law (outdoor) is a little more detailed but, in short, means the same.


Either the manager or the coach of a player, team or side or, in their absence, the manager’s delegated deputy, can give advice to a player during the course of play as long as:

57.1 the umpire is given the names of the manager, the coach or the manager’s delegated deputy as appropriate before the game starts;

57.2 only one person gives advice at any one time; and

57.3 the person giving the advice does so from outside the boundaries of the green.

So, as you can see from both versions of the laws, it is perfectly legal for the team manager, coach or their delegated deputies to give advice to the players, provided it is from beyond the boundaries of the green (i.e. from the bank).


The following are a series of answers to questions which tend to re-occur year-on-year. Underneath the answer is the specific law reference (WB – World Bowls, outdoor; WIBC – World Indoor Bowls Council, indoor). These questions are often asked by very experienced players, not just players new to the sport of bowls.

Length of jack

Yes, it is the duty of the marker to ensure that the jack is up to the minimum length, i.e. 23 metres.

WB Law 55.2 WIBC Law 58

Tied end

An end declared tied shall be counted as a played end.

WB Law 41.2 WIBC Law 46

Playing the last bowl

It is not mandatory for the last player to deliver the last bowl. Once this intention is declared, it cannot be changed.

WB Law 42 WIBC Law 47

Position of players

Players should stand behind the jack or well clear of the head (i.e. on the bank if there is no stand off room).

At the mat end, players should stand at least one metre behind the mat. Failure to comply constitutes a breach of rink possession.

WB Law 36.1 WIBC Law 42

Short bowl

If a bowls finishes at a distance of less than 14 metres, measured in a direct line from the centre of the mat line, it is a ‘dead’ bowl and should be removed from the rink.

WB Law 27.1 WIBC Law 27

Inspecting the head

Carrying a bowl to the head whilst inspecting it does not render the bowl dead.

WB Law 27.2 WIBC Law 30

NB: However, if you were to drop it into the head there could be consequences! My advice is that you don’t carry the bowl and that you leave it at the mat end.

Dead end

A dead end shall not be counted as played. The jack is then delivered by the person who first delivered the jack in the dead end.

WB Law 31.1 WIBC Law 35A

Nomination of touchers

This should only take place if there is the likelihood of moving the bowl or disturbing the head. Always have your chalk ready or preferably a spray. Not having chalk is no excuse for nominating a toucher.

WB Law 25.2 WIBC Law 28