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It is a fact that we all sometimes feel lonely. Playing sport can be a very good way to escape loneliness to some extent and Lawn Bowls is an excellent sport to interrelate with people.

This coaching manual introduces the new bowler to the wonderful game of Lawn Bowls.

Pat O’Brien played competitive bowls for over 50 years until well into his 80s.

His highest achievements included representing Zimbabwe (formally Rhodesia) at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Australia, as well as, at World Bowls and other international competitions. Between 1976 and 1982 Pat also won some of his country’s highest honours in lawn bowls singles. 

Pat also played against some of the world’s top bowlers of his era, names like Willie Wood of Scotland, Doug Watson of South Africa and Bill Jackson of Rhodesia.

He has put all of his experience and bowling ability into this coaching manual for lawn bowlers. It should give valuable insights to beginners and experienced bowlers alike.

In Store Price: $19.95 
Online Price:   $18.95



Ebook version - $AUD9.00 upload.


ISBN: 978-0-6481607-8-6
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 103
Genre: Non Fiction

Cover: Clive Dalkins

Pat O'Brien
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published:  2017
Language: English


     Read a sample:   



WHEN I LOOK BACK on my sporting career, playing schoolboy soccer for Barry Town, Glamorgan, Wales, I remember one game in particular when I was chosen as first reserve against Swansea. One of the Barry team was not able to play and I looked forward to the game. For some reason I was not allowed to play. My father accompanied me and he was most upset and made the fact known. I was bitterly disappointed.

Prior to enlisting in the Royal Air Force, I joined the Air Training Corp. Our team played Army teams in the Glamorgan area with a lot of success. I enlisted in the RAF in 1942, and after training as an aircraft technician, I was posted to Rhodesia in March 1943 in the Empire Air Training Scheme. I played soccer for the Aircraft Repair Depot ‘A’ team. Within the ranks of the RAF there were a number of international-class soccer players. I returned to England, being demobbed from the RAF, being given an early Class B release on enlisting in the Rhodesia British South Africa Police Force, at Rhodesia House, London – my term of engagement for three years. There were 96 recruits from every branch of the Forces and Merchant Navy. I was captain of the British South Africa Police (BSAP) soccer team during my tour of duty. The BSAP team won the Challenge, Charity and League Cups.

I was selected to play for Rhodesia in 1948. The team was selected from Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland (now Zimbabwe), Zambia and Malawi. The standard of soccer was very high – many ex-servicemen making the three territories their home. On completion of my three years with the BSAP I enlisted in the Rhodesian Air Force. I trained and captained the Air Force soccer team, which later joined forces with the Rhodesian Army, and became the Garrison soccer team, of which I was captain. I also captained a team consisting of Army, Air Force and police, which played the rest, and it was a great honour. Mr Bob Ross, who owned a jeweller’s shop in Salisbury (now Harare) mentioned words to me which I thought were very flattering: “O’Brien, you were a grand soccer player, but you are a much better bowler.”

The highlights of my bowls career are enumerated in this book. I have been a South African and an Australian National Bowling Association umpire, covering the years 1962 to 2006, when, owing to ill health, I relinquished my umpiring role. I have been an active lawn bowls coach from 1962, and have been a Level 2 coach since 1999 and accredited to 2012, and have had the distinction of having played in every discipline in every position at international level. A bowler who is physically unable to be an umpire could still be a ‘Bowls Law Umpire’, able to adjudicate on problems arising with the laws.

When playing sport, I was away from home on many occasions. I owe my wife, Maria, to whom I was married to for 68 years, a great debt of gratitude, looking after our home and four wonderful children. I think there were times when I have been a successful bowler, but also very selfish. I would like to pay tribute to my friend, John Payne, for his skill and patience in editing the book Y-B-LONELY? 


Chapter One - part sample


THIS COACHING BOOK is mainly for the new bowler to learn the basics of the wonderful game of bowls.

The delivery, if physically possible, is a smooth rhythmic action, which will only be achieved with help from the coach and dedicated purposeful practice.

For the bowler with a natural aptitude, a desire to play competitive bowls at a higher level will always be on that person’s mind. Success at the highest level is very demanding, both physically and mentally. Bowlers must embrace these facts. Many bowlers playing at a reasonably high level do not pay enough attention to their fitness and weight. The terminology that often goes through my mind and categorises them is “The male bowlers belong to the BTBBBs – Below the Belly Belt Brigade”. It is as if a big belly is a badge of honour; but many still play very good bowls.

With many bowlers, alcohol is a problem. In Rhodesia and South Africa, where I played bowls at the highest level, as well as club and social bowls, no bowler would walk off the green and purchase alcohol while play was in progress. The bowler who flouted this unwritten law could be banned from bowls for a year. Boozing and bowling should not be mixed. To do so is a negative factor and is not being a good team member.

The actual release of the bowl is the delivery action. This poses problems for many bowlers. The locking of the wrist is a vital action to be taken when delivering a bowl. To ensure that the bowl is released smoothly is an important component of the delivery. Some bowlers with good delivery actions, for some reasons unknown, momentarily hang onto the bowl just at the point of release, causing a bad delivery, and in most cases, a short bowl.

When the atmosphere is damp, the bowl in the hand feels sticky, and a smooth release can be a problem. Trying to dry the bowl is difficult because the entire atmosphere is damp.

Technique is very important. A positive release of the bowl in the delivery action is a vital component of a bowler’s technique. To obtain a positive, clean and smooth release in the delivery, I suggest the following action in damp moist conditions:

At the moment of the release, the fingers of the delivery hand are opened wide, spreading the fingers as far apart as possible. The technique is a hallmark of the delivery action of Kelvin Kerkow!

It is a fact that we all sometimes feel lonely. A person can be lonely in a crowd. Even in the world of sport human companionship is not always available and periods of loneliness can be experienced. There are times, when alone, that you would like a friend to call around. We cannot rule out the fact that sometimes we will be lonely. Playing sport can be a very good way to escape loneliness to some extent. Lawn bowls is an excellent sport to interrelate with people.

There is no need to be a super-fit athlete, as the sport of lawn bowls requires a reasonable standard of fitness. It is a fact that really true friends are not easily made, and in life if we can count all our real friends on the fingers of one hand, we can say we are truly blessed. To interrelate with people when playing bowls is a wonderful way to pass the time when playing a sport that is enjoyable. Y-B-LONELY when playing bowls could be one way in which loneliness can be eliminated. I contend that the underlying reason why we all play bowls is that we are lonely and in need of human companionship.




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