Stay away from negative people, they have a problem for every solution.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Jack Shares the thoughts of a Concerned Bowler

The comments below are not those of Jack and/or Bowls Wellington.

Playing and watching Bowls (Thinking outside the square).
Having seen darts competitions on TV, and seeing the enormous cheering noisy crowd of spectators, and then to compare the polite restrained clapping at an international game of bowls, is it any wonder that we are losing members?
This immediately brought to mind something I read in a club handbook which, in referring to etiquette, read; “When watching a match, always observe strict neutrality. Advice or criticism must not be given. Barracking is Bad Form”.
Imagine if this also applied to other sports such as rugby matches, netball, DARTS etc., who would bother turning up to watch? Why should lawn bowls be watched in virtual silence? Far as I know, the only other competition watched in silence is the game of CHESS!
Isn’t it time bowls and bowlers caught up with the modern world of sports and ENCOURAGED crowd participation at bowls matches? It's all about creating ATMOSPHERE if we want the game to progress! Or do we want to continue having the image of a lot of boring old farts? Bowls must be the only game that is sponsored by retirement homes and funeral parlours!  Our sport is dying, we need a NEW IMAGE!
 If we want the game of Lawn Bowls to progress, we need to foster the enjoyment of spectators watching the game. We need NOISE! CHEERING! And yes, BARRACKING! In plain words, we need to inject EXCITEMENT into watching a game. I’m firmly of the opinion that this could even LIFT the contestants in their game, and encourage younger people onto our greens.

It’s time to start thinking outside the square if we want the sport to grow.

Thursday, 6 October 2016


Jack reckons being the club secretary is just too much for some bowlers. No offense is intended to them but Jack seriously believes that some bowlers take this role on without much knowledge of what they are getting themselves into.

It's not just a matter of turning up to committee meetings once a month and taking minutes, this is a serious role that requires good skills (at the very least) in communication.
Not only do you need a good level of communication with your members, but also with the centre, without this, Jack reckons you're wasting your time.

Let's face it, to be secretary you need to have a computer of some description, laptop, pc, tablet, without one of these, forget it. Next you need to have an email database of your members so you can stay in touch, keep them advised, forward material from other clubs and the centre.

A secretary also needs to be punctual, there are a lot of items on a secretaries seasonal list that have deadlines, if you don't take note of these and set yourself reminders then.....again, forget it.

Jack could go on but I think you have the picture by now. 

But let's not forget hat there are some very capable secretaries out there who manage very well, kudos to them.

So before you take on this role, investigate a little further. Don't take it on by default just because nobody else will, you need to want to make this position rock and improve on your predecessor. 

If you do decide to take this role on, Good Luck!


Wednesday, 20 July 2016


The comments below are not those of Jack, however he thought it would be a good discussion point. Jack does agree there are some valid points, however he would also like to note there are points he does not agree with and will comment on his thoughts underneath the Post.

There can be no doubt that, in keeping with many activities today, the sport of lawn bowls is in decline. One does not have to be a genius to project the numbers forward to the point in about 4 years time that the levels of club membership will be below critical mass and the sport unsustainable. Yet most bowlers seem comfortable with the way things are - resisting change and bowing to the inevitable. Perhaps they think the sport will out-survive them? A defunct bowling club is a very sad legacy to leave future generations after the enormous effort of their predecessors who fought to build those facillities. So what is wrong - why is this happening? The answer from this juinior bowler is simple - not enough young people wanting to play bowls. This has a most unfortunate outcome in that it produces an image looking over the fence of a lot of old people standing around all day playing outdoor marbles. Hardly dynamic and entertaining. And why is that one might ask? Well- there are a number of obvious answers. Firstly, the demographic has changed markedly over the last 20 or 30 years. Males are no longer the sole breadwinner selfishly spending their entire weekends re-creating by playing bowls. Time is exceedingly precious to the average working couple today. What, with shopping, home maintenance, and running the kids round to their precious activities, there is simply no time for these people to play bowls in the traditional formats. The sport has to change to a format that these people can participate in. It must be short, sharp and entertaining. An entire match in the writer's view must be no longer than one and a half hours tops. Secondly, the timing of events is wrong. Competitions must be run when people have discretionary time available. Interestingly on early evening week days there are absolutely no bowling events when prospective bowlers do have time available. What all this indicates to me is that synthetic surfaces are the way of the future. But not stopping there. Covered and lit surfaces that can be played on all year and at any time, subject of course to appropriate resource consents. The potential utilisation of facillities would increase from the appalling under utilisation traditional grass greens currently receive. A side benefit of this is that a synthetic surface remains absolutely true after they are laid. The writer predicts that unless clubs provide a quality synthetic surface for bowlers they will cease to exist in 3 years time. Thirdly, the public profile of bowls is under the radar. A top game of bowls is a facinating spectacle - particularly in a short duration format like "Jack strike". But even top matches struggle for TV time. Certainly club matches run over a weekend are never going to attract a large audience but much can be done to make it more attractive. For example who ever would have thought the sport of darts would attract such enormous crowds. That has come from a back room in the pubs to prime time TV viewing. The anwer is profile. In the case of darts the profile of individuals. A similar thing has happened to netball over the last 20 years. From almost no profile, albeit with a very large participant base, that sport now has a huge profile with televised games - and it did not happen by accident. It was a deliberate ploy by Lois Muirhead to raise the profile by fostering Regional competition. Bowls NZ could take a leaf from Lois's book. Perhaps not with Regional competitions but certainly main centre rep games. Television, sponsorship, and advertising would all assuredly follow. The popularity of Bowls can only be thus enhanced. What is required in conjunction with this are of couse covered synthetic surfaces unaffected by weather and lighting. Doing nothing is not an option. It must start right at the top in Bowls NZ, through the Regional Centres and down through the clubs. Change must be made in a three pronged approach to the format, appeal and facillities. Elected representatives at all levels must take the matter in hand in their committees and resolve to make the necessary changes. The time is nigh. Alarmed Junior Bowler

Wednesday, 6 July 2016


People, let’s be honest, you can’t please everyone. No matter how hard you try, it just isn’t possible. So before you point the finger, perhaps actually think about the dynamics of what you are about to suggest. Sometimes the wish list of bowlers is just not feasible and comments are made without a lot of thought or knowledge of what is required. So Jack encourages ideas and views, that is healthy, however those ideas should come with solutions attached. It’s easy to criticize but unless you have a better solution then…….?

Let’s talk about your club. As any good club member will tell you, there is always something that needs doing. It could be anything from promoting an upcoming event to weeding the garden or running the garage sale.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what the task is, if you pitch in and do it, it all counts.

As we rapidly approach the new season, secretaries and match committee’s start to scramble to sort their programme. So what’s on the agenda? Jack said this last year, it’s the same old same old. C’mon, you can’t expect to put out the same events year after year and expect enthusiasm.

Now Jack can hear you say….”surely that applies to Bowls Wellington as well”? Yes & No. Bowls Wellington is limited here as we answer to the bowlers. We put out the events you ask for, simple as that. However you have a real opportunity each year to be different, so don’t be afraid to step out of the square and give it a go.
When a member puts their hand up and say…”I’d like to give this a go”, don’t knock them back just because they are a first year bowler. Try it, what have you got to lose?


Thursday, 30 June 2016


Jack has been taking a look at some of the websites (if you can call them that) that belong to some of the Wellington Centre clubs.

What a shambles! People people people, how can you complain about the downturn in membership when you can’t even update your website on a weekly database. Here is a small list that covers some of the problems with most of the existing websites.

Outdated information, current links that don’t work, incorrect contact details or no contact details, website doesn’t load at all, little to no information on website.
C’mon secretaries, what is happening here? As for you members, why aren’t you holding your executive accountable for such a shocking state of affairs?

Websites these days are more than likely your prospective new members first point of contact. Quite frankly, most people will take one look at some of them and just shake their head and move on to the next club, especially the next generation of bowlers that you so loudly proclaim are your future. Yet here you are giving them very little opportunity to see how well you operate.

However, to those clubs operating an up to date well informed web-site, good on you!

Monday, 20 June 2016


Jack has noticed that some of the clubs have some very unusual membership categories.

Most have the usual Full, Social, Student, Associate, Life etc. However there are some categories that certainly fall into a grey area. Limited? Restricted?

Jack is aware that in reality there are 2 categories that matter, Playing and Non Playing.

So at the end of the day, clubs can call their membership categories anything they want, but when it comes time to fill out the membership return, where do the above 2 categories fall.

Jack has learned that some clubs allow certain members to pay a reduced fee but still let them play in the odd club event and in some cases, centre events and not pay a levy. Tut tut. 

Clubs that do this not only undermine the Bowls NZ constitution, but aren't they also ripping off their own members? Why should Joe 1 pay a reduced fee, play in a few galas and maybe the the odd centre event such as the Veterans while Joe 2 who pays a full membership fee, may also play in a few galas and the Pennants. Can you see a difference? Jack can't. 

That is why the rule exists, you play bowls, you pay. 

Jack recognises that some clubs need to get their own house in order before pointing the finger elsewhere.


Thursday, 9 June 2016


Jack noticed the results of the latest Bowls Wellington survey and sees some scary figures.
9 clubs with over 100 members but only 3 of those clubs have over 100 PLAYING members.

Don’t forget bowlers, playing or non playing!
Jack also notices that some clubs have membership categories that are a little cloudy. As far as Jack is concerned, it is Black and White, your members are either playing bowls or they are NOT playing bowls.

If they play bowls then they pay a levy, if they don’t play bowls then they don’t pay a levy. There is no such allowance that let’s bowlers play in certain events or non centre events but NOT pay a levy!

Jack hopes that clears up the confusion.

Jack also notices that some of the 9 clubs that that have over 100 members have very few playing members but many social members. Jack does not necessarily see this as a bad thing but are those social members playing any kind of bowls? If not, why not? Don’t forget bowlers, clubs first priority in this respect, is to promote and grow the game of bowls, not promote the bar! Be careful as licensing authorities are watching.