by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Bowls In Focus : October 2009
The state Junior Development Squad network enters its third season this month and can look back on its early progress with great pride, with more and more youngsters being attracted to the most level playing field in sport. Traditionally bowls had been viewed by the wider public and stereotyped by the media as a sport for older people. But the times, they are a changing! The reality, particularly in recent years, is that interest in schools and the demand from young- sters for opportunities to play the sport has been tremendous. Most of the premier bowlers at club, state and national level are in their 20’s and 30’s, some even younger. With fantastic young role models such as Queensland teenager Kelsey Cottrell - who recently won the World Champion of Champions title in Scotland - emerging and a number of other young players now representing their states and country, plus the exposure granted by regular cov- erage from ABC and Foxtel television, lawn bowls is seeing a new generation take the lead. What are the Development Squads? The inspiration for the Under-18 Development Squads was derived from the success of regional models in Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo that have afforded many youngsters a fantastic introduction to the sport, most importantly with their own peer group. These squads had been in operation for a several years and met regularly for coaching days and the odd inter-group competition. Given that many clubs have only a couple junior aged players on their books, the Development Squads represent an impor tant link in a burgeoning junior pathway. A critical element to attract and retain people of any age in sport is providing a fun and appropri- ate introduction, and opportunities to develop skills in a friendly environment, with people that they can relate to. Most squads meet once a month - some are in their infancy and accommodate as many as a dozen keen juniors; others are bursting at the seams with numbers as high as 50. As squads become more established, a more for- malised structure of inter-squad games is happen- ing, while a statewide competition is on the agenda. As of August 2009, 24 Development Squads have been for med across regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbour ne. Victoria is setting the national pace in junior participation programs so far. From these squads there will be a more consistent coaching philosophy, talent identifi- cation, unity of purpose between clubs and as- sociations, sponsorship and funding opportunities and most importantly, a great sense of camaraderie and local community amongst the boys and girls. Under neath the Development Squads it is also anticipated that more intra and interclub activities and competitions will emerge, providing regular participation outlets for girls and boys. With over 530 bowling greens in Victoria, most housing both a VLBA and RVBA section, combined with a str ucture that divides clubs into metropolitan and regional groups, junior development has until recently been a fragmented, inconsistent affair. Some clubs and associations have undertaken great initiatives, however just as many have either not seen juniors wor thy of attention, or not known where to begin. Many clubs have invested time and effor t into school clinics but not seen any reward - un able to provide the ongoing opportunities that would facilitate a strong school-club link. Whether a youngster introduced to the sport is keen and competitive enough to aim for the top, or prefers a more relaxed approach, perhaps becoming a capable club player over many years, a junior pathway must suppor t both par ticipation and encourage elite opportunities for those so inclined. By building a broader base of players and pro- viding excellent coaching, it stands to reason that more quality elite level bowlers will emerge. The old system, by necessity, required the sport to work with a very pointy end of junior bowlers capable of holding their own at the higher levels. Young stars such as Clayton’s Dylan Fisher have made their way through to represent Australia at young international level, and with an on-going strategic, consistent approach, in five years time Victoria may enjoy cheering on half a dozen Dylan Fisher’s in Australian colours! Development Squad Objectives • To provide a clear junior bowls participation focus for boys and girls, and for male and female coaches. • Provide players Under-18 the opportunity to be coached amongst their peers by people skilled in coaching young bowlers. Junior Development Squads Rock! Sunraysia Storm Wimmera Wanderers Ballarat Gold Diggers Far West Rams West Coast Whalers Geelong Giants Bass Coast Sharks Murray Valley Mavericks Central Highlands Rang ers Central Explorers Peninsula Pythons East Coast Pirates Ovens & Murray Kelly Gang Murray Kraze Goulburn Bandits Bendigo Dragons Mid Gippsland Gr8z Sunraysia Storm Wimmera Wanderers Ballarat Gold Diggers Far West Rams West Coast Whalers Geelong Giants Bass Coast Sharks Murray Valley Mavericks Central Highlands Rang ers Central Explorers Peninsula Pythons East Coast Pirates Ovens & Murray Kelly Gang Murray Kraze Goulburn Bandits Bendigo Dragons Mid Gippsland Gr8z 14 Bowls In Focus • Young Aaron Wilson from the Bendigo Dragons JDS not only won his second state junior singles title this year, he also finished second in the senior champion- ship.
August September 2009