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Strategy and tactics

No matter what level of bowls you are, coaching it is always important to help your team with strategy and tactics (writes Derek Dillon, national head coach, Bowls Canada Boulingrin). The important and closely related topics of strategy and tactics are competencies that a coach must develop as their career develops and the level of athlete being coached increases. Coaches should devote as much time and attention to strategy as they do tactics. Successful teams are equally adept at planning and implementation.

  1. DEFINITION
    Strategy – is a team’s method of setting and achieving the goal in a specified game situation. It provides guidance as to the position and length of the end to be set up if delivering the jack and the types of shots the team should select. This is the game plan creation and maintenance.
    Tactics – are the choices for specific shots that a team selects to implement its chosen strategy, along with the various skills that you employ to execute these shots successfully. Tactics are about the implementation of your game plan and they must be consistent with your overall Strategic Goal for the end and the game.
  2. STEPS TO STRATEGICAL SUCCESS
    • Confirm conditions of play
    • Pre brief/discuss with team
    • Set a tournament outcome goal
    • Review the medium-term goals for the team and formulate the best outcome for the tournament
    • Set a goal for the first game of the tournament
  3. SETTING TEAM GOALS FOR A SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME
    S.M.A.R.T. GOALS for Teams are :
    • SPECIFIC – be exact as possible
    • MEASURABLE – put a number to your goals
    • ATTAINABLE – don’t expect to go through the game winning every end
    • REALISTIC – what is possible in this particular tournament
    • TIME SENSITIVE – short term goals (first three games, next three games etc)
  4. OBSERVING THE PLAYABILITY OF THE GREEN/RINK
    The factors in the rink assigned to your
    game include:
    • The even nature of the rink
    • Imperfections of the grass
    • The length of the green (may be different to your club)
    • Exposure to weather elements
    • Shadows that create slow areas
    • Degree of slope at the end of the rink

This all forms part of your team’s planning process – the team that recognises these factors before the game should gain the most advantage from the match.

  1. USING THE STRENGTHS OF YOUR TEAM MEMBERS
    Prior knowledge of players within the team can build a solid information base and profile of the strengths and weaknesses in the team for performance of the three basic shot types – draw, controlled weight and drive and of their strength in playing Forehand over backhand (if any).
    Building game plans that uses the player’s strengths and avoid their weaknesses in their current technical play is a very important part in the creation of tournament and game strategy planning.
  2. PLANNING YOUR GAME STRATEGY
    During an end there may be times when the team needs to consider various strategies that involve either attacking, conservative or defensive goals depending on a number of factors not least of all overall game score.
    A breakup of the above goals can be described as:
    Attacking goals – best plus four, worst minus two
    Conservative goals – best plus two, worst minus one
    Defensive Goals – best plus one, worst minus one
  3. THE GAME GOAL NEVER CHANGES
    As each end develops, the team must be disciplined enough into understanding that the game goals and plan never changes during the game.
    Sometimes a situation occurs that will tempt a team to change their goal for the end based on a position on the green that was not anticipated. There may be an opportunity to score a large count, for instance, on an end where only two shots at best was the target. Increasing the risk of a larger count than planned or necessary will probably be the price and changes in this goal mostly need to be avoided. All team members should agree on changing pre agreed goals.
  4. PREBRIEFING THE TEAM
    In preparation for the game play teams and individuals need to be pre briefed. The pre brief should include:
    • A review of the game plan
    • A review of the opponents strengths and weaknesses if known
    • The rink conditions
    • The weather conditions
    • The conditions of play
  5. DEBRIEFING THE TEAM
    Every game, the team should have a
    debrief immediately after the completion of that game.
    • The pre-game goals should be reviewed and examined against the result
    • The game plan should be reviewed identifying good and bad elements
    • The technical performance of the team should be evaluated – missed opportunities, game plan errors etc
    • Any environmental influences on the game
    • Adjustments in game plan and performance required to improve

Caption: Calgary Lawn Bowls Club

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