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Bowls In Focus : March April 2011
42 Bowls In Focus Canada Calling! Not long back from the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi India, having been Jersey’s head coach, I received an interesting email followed days later by a phone call in early November: Bowls Canada calling! Their High Performance committee calling per a broadcast phone link inviting me to come over to Arizona, USA, (might bump into Eddie and the Magpies still celebrating) where they want me to establish and conduct a coaching and training program for their national squad, and future prospects, and to be involved in the selection and deciding who is to be included in their future national squad. Well dear bowler, any idea what that entails? I bet ‘Kaz’ (Karen Murphy) and ‘Dougie’ (Mark Jacobsen) would have appreciated knowing what to expect beforehand, rather than their ‘sudden death’ omission from the 2010 Games, which was a perception held out there in the world of bowls. Can I tantalise you and share what I devised as an agenda for that weeklong national squad program? It may interest those talented bowlers keen on securing a berth in an elite level squad as a comparison to their experiences. I’ll briefly allow you, my fellow bowlers, an insight into what one person, namely me, has as a basis for a national squad training and coaching program; and the topics I believe are necessary to thrash out in discussion and training with bowlers, selectors and HP committees, to ensure they understood what I looked for in fostering and deciding on their bowls futures. Here is the agenda and program I conducted for the Bowls Canada squad and selection committee for you to digest and see which topics are interesting to you as a bowler. Pre squad planning with the HP committee • The goals of Bowls Canada for the period 2011-2014. • Compare the performances of 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games. • Where does Bowls Canada need to be by December 2011? • India 2010 recommendations. Squad weekend program * AUDIT of player skills, appraisals in training sessions, simulated games. * What are the essentials for players? * The players - goals, commitments, responsibility. * The players - position descriptions, game plans, performance measurement. Post squad review and planning • Calendar 2011 coaching. • Goals of the coach, an analysis. • Observations & recommendations. • Player ratings/ appraisal by HP committee and coach. January 2011 Schedule and Themes Sun 23: Goals of BC; Games 2006 & 2010 performances. Mon 24: Selection & Where does BC need to be by 2012? Tues 25: Delhi 2010 recommendations for action. Wed 26: Bowls squad practical coaching program commences. 9-9 .40am: Preview the day - goals. 9.40am-12pm: Audit skills, ‘pb’s’. 1-3 .30pm: Singles & positivity. 4-6pm: Game plans for singles drill & workshop – Goals. Evening: Dinner, free time. Thurs 27: 9-9.40am: Preview yesterday and today. 9.40-12pm: Decision-making - winners & losers. 1-3 .30 pm: Pairs & team spirit. 4-6pm: Skips team expectations drill & workshop position descriptions. Evening: Dinner, free time. Fri 28: 9-9.40am: Preview yesterday and today. 9.40am-12pm: Winners & losers: Pressure, Composure drills. 1-3 .30 pm: Triples, concentration & tactics. 4-6pm: Defending heads drill & game analysis workshop. Evening: Squad Dinner. Sat 29: 9-9 .40am: Preview yesterday and today. 9.40am-12pm: Skill rating; ‘pbs’; caterpillar; leapfrog; back of queue drills. 1-3 .30pm: Fours & game plan. 4-6pm: Finale: Player/selector/coach observations & lessons of program. Sun 30: HP committee & coach meeting. 9.30am: Observations & lessons. 11.30am: Player appraisal & ratings 3.30pm: Recommendations & 2011 coaching calendar. Over the years many good bowlers have not understood or reacted well to my approach - their prerogative entirely. What I say in front of all of them is that I seek people, bowlers, based primarily on (my) appreciation of their attitude. A player doesn’t have to be physically gone to be out of the team, squad - if they are turned off, or bored, or exhausted, they have already left the team for this event or this training session or camp. Those not prepared to heed that insight struggle with my approach and as a consequence of their own reaction distance themselves from my coaching. Being able to deliver a bowl competently is not enough. Though I encourage people to be selfish (in their quest to be better) most bowlers get chosen in team positions so I look for that team orientation within the bowler as a vital ingredient in the menu. Trust me, I don’t have the answers, the formula, however I work hard with the bowlers to discern whowewantandwhoisuptoit. No good having your mates in the team, if the mates are not up to speed in commitment compared to other squad members, who though not your mate, are on ‘the same page’ of commitment and effor t. I am not into popularity stakes and I don’t waste time with bowlers too self-satisfied as that hinders my desire to be a better coach. Why put good money after bad is a phrase used in our life same principle. By regular training sessions and constant communication and feedback, I reckon I can gauge those who settle for mediocrity. Good on them! Me, I do not accept mediocrity. And that includes fellow coaches and selectors. It is not just the bowlers who are under the microscope, and I don’t want that ‘seed’ to flourish in any associated squad, if I can help it. Worse, I become intolerant of others who accept that level of mediocrity. And yet, I accept we will make mistakes and that is not an issue in my approach. In whatever event a squad bowler is competing in, I truly trust they do their best on the day, given we prepared them well enough. Should they lose, so be it, let’s get back and learn the lessons for the next event. That’s all we can do, together. No one died! I love that feeling of togetherness with any player I coach. Hey they win the medals, the accolades, not me! So what happens on such a journey, say for any international bowlers in their bowls journey through to the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games? Well I/we set standards and performance measures, and provide the necessary services, coaching, resources to assist these bowlers over the journey. Squad bowlers can choose to do whatever they want; they are all decent human beings. However if they choose not to comply to my/our/their requirements and preparation there is a need to either guide them, encourage them, caution them, warn them, discipline them or ultimately eject them from the squad. I refer to it as the ‘BUS’ mentality, which I first displayed as a role-play at the RVBA Group 13 squad induction in my first year as the coach in 2008. The ‘BUS’ principle is to get the right people on that bus and the wrong people off it; the right people in the right positions, and the passengers at the rear of the bus where they either do the least damage, or better, we can quickly exit them at the rear door. What you want from this ‘BUS’ is that it is a magnet where others (be they bowlers, selectors, coaches, management) want to be on it. Everyone on this bus is striving to be better in the role they have. My approach tends at times to annoy some bowlers. Good! No guts, no glory, or as I prefer to write: One crowded hour of glorious life (succeeding with your lot in bowls) is better than a life with no meaning. Like you, perhaps, I shall watch the progress of Bowls Canada eagerly. PS: Since drafting the column I have conducted the camp for Canada and next month I shall furnish what I refer to as facts and knowledge of our sport based on a decade of international coaching, 2002- 2011, and experimenting, surveys and research on what constitutes elite bowls performance. Tiger Tales Tiger Tales Lachlan Tighe • Check out the passion and intensity on the face of Canada’s top player Ryan Bester, who already has a world pairs title to his credit.