GlasBOWL2015 – Post 2014 Commonwealth Games Schools Participation Programme

Dear Fellow Lawn Bowler,

My name is Tom Hamilton and I am the Volunteer Development Officer at Woodend Bowling and Lawn Tennis Club in Jordanhill, Glasgow, Scotland. Our club is less than 2 miles away from the Kelvingrove Greens where Lawn Bowls was hosted during the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games during July and August 2014. In 2012 Woodend launched a unique lawn bowls participation initiative called GlasBOWL which sought to engage with local primary schools around our club.

The concept of GlasBOWL was to build upon the opportunity which the Glasgow2014 Commonwealth Games gave our primary school children to experience lawn bowls in a relaxed, fun and enjoyable format.

The aim was to increase local participation and to try and redefine the perception of this sport as an “old persons” game within our local community. The ultimate goal was to get more kids playing this great game. This initiative was presented to the local active schools coordinators at Glasgow City Council Education Department and seven local primary schools took part in GlasBOWL2012 with over 350 Primary 6 (age 10-11) children participating.

The format is extremely simple and entirely flexible to the needs and demands of individual clubs and local schools and can be summarised as follows;

  • Schools or Educational Facilities close to the participating club are approached and identified for participation. The preferred model is for the school to be within walking distance of the host club to allow the children to participate during “class time” being brought to and from the club by teachers.
  • The host club provides two one hour coaching sessions for each participating class (this is up to the discretion of the club relative to class sizes and numbers of volunteers available). In the first year twelve classes participated at Woodend, however, we would encourage clubs to identify at least two classes.
  • The two separate one hour sessions break the class into small groups of circa 5 to 6 children who then receive group coaching.
  • The format is up to the club but we have found that the “assault bowls course” coaching techniques which replicate the “crazy golf” obstacle and task driven approach to be very popular with this age range.
  • On conclusion of the two coaching sessions each participating class and teacher selects the two best boys and girls (based on performance, attitude and behaviour) to form a “rink” or “fours” team who return at a later date to participate in a GlasBOWL final to be held at the club against other participating classes.
  • The GlasBOWL final has typically been held in an evening or at a weekend to allow the participating children’s parents to attend and has proven a very successful way to introduce potential new junior and adult members to the participating club.
  • Dependant on the number of classes involved the Finals Day takes the format of a “mini league” of 5 end matches with the top 2 teams in each league playing off in a final for 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st place.
  • Certificates, medals, trophies and prizes have previously been awarded to all participating children.

This initiative has proven extremely popular with the local schools and active schools coordinators at Glasgow City Council whilst GlasBOWL2014 was expanded with invitations to local clubs and coaches within the wider Glasgow area invited to participate. The initiative even spread to other clubs in England, Wales and even Bowls Jamaica.

The initial legacy goal for the GlasBOWL initiative was for 1000 children to have experienced the sport of Lawn Bowls before the start of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.Last year, with the support of all the clubs across these countries, GlasBOWL reached its target over 1000 children having experienced bowls at a GlasBOWL event in Wales with Abertillery Bowls.Throughout 2014 GlasBOWL received significant media coverage in Scotland and beyond with bowls magazines, Taylor Bowls, Bowls Scotland, newspaper, radio, TV, Twitter and Facebook coverage.

GlasBOWL also received a motion of support by the Scottish Government in the Holyrood Parliament in April 2013.We are eager to encourage other clubs in Scotland, Great Britain and throughout the Commonwealth and beyond to participate in their own special way in the GlasBOWL2015 programme.This presents a unique opportunity to engage with your local community, raise the profile of our sport AND your club whilst spreading the excitement and anticipation which the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games will bring to all our local children.

The purpose of this webpage, therefore, is to extend an invitation to you and your club to join us and be part of the GlasBOWL legacy and story.

The level of engagement is entirely up to each participating club. If you currently run schools coaching or engagement programmes we would be delighted for you to “rebadge” these this year with the GlasBOWL logo. It can be as simple as a one off event or similar to the format we have set out above.The main thing is for everyone who takes part at your club to have fun and enjoy the experience of introducing the sport to the next generation of champions.

If you want to set up a new schools engagement programme or juniors section we can provide guidance notes on setting the format up with hints and tips on marketing, sponsorship, cheap and easy coaching techniques as well as templates for certificates and training courses.

We just want you to seize the opportunity, get involved and try something new and hopefully be part of something unique which will connect clubs across the Commonwealth and beyond in promoting our sport.On the following page we have included some photographs taken during the previous GlasBOWL events and we hope that this letter and these images are sufficient inspiration to persuade your club to get involved.

To find out more, get involved, register your interest or provide your support please contact me directly and become part of GlasBOWL now. We hope that you can take the time to watch the video on this website which was filmed by Bowls Scotland at the GlasBOWL2015 Finals to promote this initiative.

Yours Faithfully,

Tom Hamilton,

Volunteer Development Officer,

Woodend Bowling and Lawn Tennis Club,