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Week #2 Handout

Taking our Game to the Next Level

Positional Play – Roles & Goals

One of the most important elements to successful team play is for each member of the team to have a clear idea as to what their roles is and how they can best fulfill that role.  It’s not just a matter of getting your bowl closer than your opponent.  The goal is to be closer than your opponent when the end is over!  Here is a sample sketch of the roles and goals for each member of a triples team.


  1. Lead (the lead really sets up the end; when the lead gets at least one close and one behind, the vice’s job is so much easier and there is so much less pressure; in 3-bowl triples, the lead contributes 40% to the team – 10% is the jack and the other 30% are the 3 bowls

    1. Throw 70% of the jacks within 2 feet of target (skip’s foot)

    2. Get 33% of bowls within 2 feet of jack

    3. Get 67% of bowls either within 2 feet or behind the jack 

  2. Vice (the vice sets up the end for the skip, either getting close, if the lead has struggled, or consolidating and setting up the head for the skip)

    1. Draw in second shot, regardless of which team is lying shot

    2. Ensure there is at least one (if not two) bowls 3’ behind the jack 

  3. Skip (it is usually thought that the skip is the best bowler, but, in fact, the skip doesn’t need to be the most consistent; their job is more to manage the team and game and to make key shots)

    1. Limit losses to 1 or 2 shots

    2. Improve the situation inherited from the team (cut down, add shots, convert, kill)

      1. In a tight game, the two most important shots the skip will have are the draw for an extra point and the conversion.  In an average game there will be one or two ends where there will be a shot for multiple points (e.g., take this one out for 4).  Even more often, however, are the chance to draw for an extra shot.  A surprising number of games are lost because the skip was unable to take these ‘free’ points.


In a 16 end game of triples, each member of the team will throw 48 bowls.  If you make 50% of your shots as lead, 40% as vice or 30% as skip, you are doing exceptionally well.  As we work on various shots and put in some good practices, we’ll notice that our shooting percentage will go up.  What will stand out even more, is how consistently we’re ‘in the vicinity’.  There will be a lot fewer big misses and lot more close misses,

Here are three drills, one designed for each member of your triples team (although they are useful for all bowlers).  One way you can use these is to do them with a team-mate.  Each of you take turns trying a drill with four bowls and see who is successful more often.  This introduces a competitive aspect to training which helps keeps our focus up.

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