Lawn Bowls a Big Hit in SA Schools

by BowlsSA6

The sport of Bowls in SA has seen great success in the engagement of junior participants in 2020, with several school and club programs taking place so far this year. There has been a major focus on marketing bowls directly to local schools, both through the Jr. Jack Attack Sporting Schools Program and regular school visits made either by Bowls SA or by local clubs facilitated by Bowls SA. The biggest success has come from local club coaches visiting their local schools and creating a relationship with the school.

A major barrier in school participation is equipment and access to a bowling green. In order to address this, a major part of the schools programs is taking bowls to the students and facilitating the sessions on any flat surface in the school (such as the oval, gym, courts, etc.) whilst utilising the purpose-built Jr. Jack Attack kit in order to eliminate these barriers. The idea is to enable kids to participate in an engaging format of bowls which is both fun and inclusive.

As a result of these visits, SA has seen 24 schools sign up in the first three terms for the four-week Government-Funded Sporting Schools Program, Jr. Jack Attack. This is an increase from 13 school bookings across the whole of 2019. This program is designed primarily for primary school children, aged between five and twelve. This sees South Australia narrowly behind the schools programs run in Victoria and NSW, but ahead of all other states. The Jr. Jack Attack program is conducted over four sessions – with plenty of activities for coaches or teachers to choose from based on the groups level of skill and development, that are based on fun, learning and maximum participation.

Whilst a handful of these 24 schools have been in the metropolitan area, the vast majority have been in regional South Australia which is exciting for our sport in the country areas. This number is growing term-by-term and the opportunities presented by these programs have led to the staging of a number of GetBowledOver programs as well as some upcoming School Holiday Programs in the Term 3 break.

As one of the most inclusive sports on offer, Bowls has a unique advantage in schools as teachers are constantly seeking activities that are fun and educational, but also provide for maximum participation from all students in their class. All kids are equal, whether tall or small, regardless of if they have a disability or if they’ve never played sport before. In bowls, everyone can play together in a safe, inclusive manner. Bowls is truly the sport for everybody and this opportunity is rapidly being realised by schools across SA. Schools that run the Jr. Jack Attack program also get to keep their Jr. Jack Attack equipment which proves great for wet weather activities, maths classes and further Bowls participation.

Hosting Bowls in local schools is the first step in the Junior Pathway, aimed at engaging the students in our Junior Development Pathway as well as introducing juniors to our great sport at their local club. It’s not all about the kids though – engaging the students at your local school is also a great way to attract busy parents or even the whole family down to your club. Bowls SA is also constantly offering the chance for Coach Development Sessions to be run at clubs focused around developing coaches to manage and teach primary school-aged children. Several clubs have undergone these days and have since had Sporting Schools sessions at their local schools.

Want your club involved with juniors? Simply send an email to James Wilson on jwilson@bowls.com.au to start the process. We’ll help to partner you with your local schools and provide the resources to run come & try sessions at your club.

Keen to get involved as a coach? You can register to be a schools coach here: https://www.bowls.com.au/get-involved/juniors-kids/become-a-rookie-rollers-coach/