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REDDERS’ REVIEW | Seasonal ambitions and the reward for consistency

England’s most-capped international, John Rednall, provides an update on seasonal ambitions and the reward for consistency:

I always think of a new indoor or outdoor season as a new start and I tend to make resolutions or set myself targets. As a current international in the outdoor team, I have enormous pride in my performances and do my utmost to uphold them.

I feel that my outdoor prowess has not diminished with age and my seasonal ambition is to win county and national titles and to perform well for club, county and England, if selected.

The season just gone brought a county triples title, a singles runner-up berth and two losing national semi-finals, (National Mixed Fours and Top Club). For any current international, indoor or outdoor, there should be an expectation of county and national success.

Players such as Sam Tolchard and Ed Morris, Sophie Tolchard and Amy Gowshall seem to reign victorious in at least one discipline per season outdoors, while players such as Nick Brett and my daughter Katherine rarely go a season without earning a national title indoors. Success breeds success in sport and the inbuilt hope and expectation to win major silverware is all part of being a worthy champion.

This is where we can all set our own targets and aspirations. For many, a county title is a dream and the first qualification for the national championships a vision or reward for consistency. For others, a first club title is the goal.

If there is one over-riding resolution for the season ahead, it is to do one’s best and enjoy, but the reality is that if we are truly competitive, we will enjoy bowls more when we play well and we succeed and see a fruitless season as failure.

One of the fascinations of our great sport is that we might go onto the green and play the best we have ever played, or suddenly find a purple patch of form.

I have often said that in a long season, we cannot expect to play on best form for months, without a dip in consistency. I used to find that I started the indoor season well and would then suffer a lapse in form in November, mainly due to preparations and rehearsals for concerts and productions which were an important part of my career in music education. Bowls would cease to become the main spare time priority when Christmas carols had to be arranged for school orchestra and soundtracks composed for drama-music productions.

Yet, the one and only exception I encountered was in 2004 when my bowling seemed to stay at its best and I qualified for all four EIBA championships at Melton Mowbray, winning the National Singles, becoming runner-up in the triples, semi-finalist of the pairs and last 16 of the fours. Such a prolonged period of ‘top form’ is however, most unusual.

If we are to achieve consistency at a high standard, we have to play regularly and play competitive bowls against able opponents. We can also practise to fulfil our objectives and perform at our best. As a musician, I know that the best instrumentalists and vocalists are those who practise every day.

There’s a thought!

John provides a regular column in Bowls International, with the December 2021 edition highlighting the merits of running and how it can benefit performance on the green.

Click here to purchase the December issue, or to subscribe to Bowls International