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Willie’s Ideal Skip…

Willie Wood gives his top tips on how to be an effective skip…

Qualities a Skip Looks for in a Rink:

Before I look at what a skip would look for in his/her rink, and considering Tony Allcock has begun his series on the role of the skip, I would like to first of all explain what I believe makes you a top skip.

The editor, Patrick, was right when he wrote in May’s editorial that people should always play lead before jumping up the order of positions. It is important you ‘serve your apprenticeship.’

Even as an international, I was a lead for 10 years before I was promoted to three and then skip two years later.

Skills you need to be a top skip…

  • You should be a master of the draw shot. It is probably the shot a skip uses most often than not in a game.
  • You should observe the good skips playing; watch how they build heads and the shots they call their players to play. You should also watch how they conduct themselves on the green.
  • A skip must be able to play all the shots – the draw, the trail and the ‘chap and lie.’ By that I mean turn an opposing bowl and lie in its place. The player should also be able to play the drive at various speeds up to the full out drive.
  • Lastly, a top skip must be a good leader and earn respect from fellow team-mates.

Now that it has been determined what a top skip must do and be, I will analyse what the skip wants and should expect from his/her team-mates.

What a skip expects from the lead…

  • Jack placement

It is very important that a jack is not lost to the opposition when a game is tight or thrown all around the green when the skip wants it in a specific area.

  • Drawing

The lead must be a good draw player to a bare jack.

  • Adaptable

The lead should be able to draw to different lengths of jack – short, medium and long, and the lead should also be able to play with the mat up the green.

  • Show an interest

The lead must be a good team player and show a bit of enthusiasm during the game.

What a skip expects from the two…

  • Adaptable in shot play

The two must be a good draw bowler, but also a player that can play good positional bowls in and around the head.

  • Playing weight

He/she must be good at the running shot and also the full drive if called upon.

  • Encouragement

The number two must encourage the lead as they are both at the same end during play.

What a skip expects from the number three…

  • Knowledge

The number three must have a good knowledge in building the head as he/she may be called upon for additional advice during a game.

  • Adaptability

The number three should be able to play ALL the shots in the game, from the draw to the full drive.