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Bowls In Focus : October 2009
Bowls In Focus 51 Welcome to the inaugural edition of ‘Lifting The Lid’. On an ongoing basis, Bowls Australia, the nation’s governing body for lawn bowls, will provide the wider community with an in-depth look at the issues currently facing the sport from a national perspective. With a range of topics to discuss, the inaugural edition of Lifting The Lid places the microscope on high perfor mance and its impact on the sport. I trust you will find this interesting and infor mative. Neil Dalrymple Bowls Australia CEO High Performance Background Bowls Australia’s inaugural high performance program began in 2004 following a World Championship campaign, which netted just two medals in both the men’s and women’s disciplines. Despite Australia boasting more members than any other bowling nation in the world, its performances on the international stage failed to reflect its membership superiority, with the Australian Sports Commission becoming increasingly alarmed by its lack of success. As a result, the ASC conducted a review of its national programs before recommending the implementation of a ‘high performance’ program, which has now been in effect for almost five years. Since the program was first introduced, its mission was to make “Australia the world’s leading bowling nation by 2008”. The results from our national teams during this time indicate that this objective has since been achieved. During a golden run, Australia has dominated the 2006 Commonwealth Games, the 2007 Asia Pacific Championships and the 2008 World Championships, winning 20 medals from 22 events, a strike rate that was unrivaled by any other nation in the same time period. In 2004, Australia possessed just a volunteer coaching structure, but now boasts a full-time national coach, who is supported by a team including sport psychologists, a sports scientist, an assistant coach, mentors and a nutritionist. High performance pathways have also been established in many of our states and territories, with programs that are linked to state institutes of sport and regional academies of sport. These programs are now developing the next generation of high performance athletes and coaches into the national program. A number of Bowls Clubs are also being very active in recruiting and developing bowlers. The ASC recently has recently conducted its second review of the HP program and pathways, with its findings released at the end of July and posted on the Bowls Australia website. What is high performance? The bowls high perfor mance program aims to create an environment that encourages and enables athletes to achieve their highest level of perfor mance. This is achieved by: • Developing comprehensive and effective training programs • Utilising sport science to enhance training programs • Providing appropriate development opportunities for elite athletes and coaches • Encouraging the early identification of talented athletes and coaches. • Building of relationships and strategic partnerships with state and territory associations, clubs, state institutes/ academies of sport, Australian Sports Commission, Australian Commonwealth Games Association and the Australian Institute of Sport. • The creation of competitive competition structure that allows athletes to strike a balance between appropriate levels of training and competition. The major elements of the bowls high perfor mance program involves competition, athlete and coach pathways. High performance fast facts Bowls Australia’s high performance program obtains 95% of its funding via the Australian Sports Commission and the Australian Commonwealth Games Association, with BA providing the remaining 5% from its own funds Since 2005, athletes in the Bowls Australia high performance program have received $444,000 in direct payments and have won more than $100,000 on the Bowls Australia grand prix circuit in 2008 alone. Since the introduction of the HP program, Australia has won more medals at the sport’s three benchmark events than any other nation Australia has also won the World Champion of Champions three times, the World Cup four times and the Junior World Cup five times High performance in bowls will remain a key focus and strategic priority for Bowls Australia into the future and I encourage any aspiring athletes and/or coaches to contact Bowls Australia should they seek more information about the program. We look forward to working closely with all key stakeholders in bowls, but in particular our state and territory associations and the many clubs across Australia, who are currently developing our future Australian representatives. • Australian players Julie Keegan and Karen Murphy urge a bowl into the head during the 2008 World Bowls Championships in New Zealand. Kiwis Jo Edwards and Marina Khan are interested onlookers. • Neil Dalrymple
August September 2009