Lawn bowls is a very popular sport in Australia, and is accessible to almost everyone. Many players are over 55 years of age, and falls are the most frequent cause of injury. Other injuries that may occur include fractures, strains and sprains.
As well as being a great form of physical activity, lawn bowls is also a wonderful social activity. You can meet more people in your local area and make new friends. People who take part in lawn bowls develop skills and coordination, which not only improves their fitness, but also helps their confidence and self-esteem.
However, as with all sports, it is important to know how to prevent injury.
Risk factors for lawn bowls injuries
Some of the factors that can increase your risk of injury include:
- Incorrect technique – using the correct swinging action when bowling is an important factor in preventing injury. Poor delivery or balance, or incorrect grip of the bowl can lead to injury.
- Failure to warm up and cool down – warming up and cooling down is extremely important to reduce the risk of muscle and joint injuries.
- Time spent playing – the repetitive movements associated with bowling can be associated with injury. Make sure you rest between games.
- Previous injury – lawn bowls can aggravate existing injury, so make sure any injuries are fully rehabilitated before you play.
Health and safety advice for lawn bowls
Some suggestions and tips include:
- If you have a medical condition, are overweight, are over 40 years old or haven’t exercised regularly, see your doctor for a check-up.
- Take lessons from a qualified coach to develop adequate skills and technique.
- Good preparation is important. Warm up and stretch before play to improve joint range of movement, promote elasticity of tendons and ligaments, and prevent muscular strain.
- Cool down after play to prevent stiffness and cardiovascular complications.
- Be SunSmart – wear sun-protective clothing, use SPF30+ sunscreen and lip balm, wear an appropriate hat, seek shade where possible and wear sunglasses.
- Avoid playing lawn bowls in extreme weather conditions.
- Drink water before, during and after activity to keep hydrated.
Pre-exercise screening is used to identify people with medical conditions that may put them at a higher risk of experiencing a health problem during physical activity. It is a filter or ‘safety net’ to help decide if the potential benefits of exercise outweigh the risks for you. Print a copy of the pre-exercise screening tool
and discuss it with your doctor or exercise professional.
Good lawn bowl technique and practices
- Use correct technique – poor delivery or balance, or incorrect grip of the bowl can lead to injury.
- Undertake balance training and exercises to strengthen your legs, back and neck to help prevent falls.
- Use trolleys to avoid lifting the bowls bag.
- Take adequate rest between games.
- Carry a mobile phone, whenever possible, in case of an emergency.
Correct equipment for lawn bowls
Use appropriate equipment for lawn bowls, including:
- Seek professional advice when you choose bowls to make sure they are the correct size. This will help to improve your technique and prevent injury.
- Seek professional advice when purchasing your footwear.
- Change your bowling shoes to shoes with grip soles when stepping off the green.
- Use non-slip bowling mats with significant grip on the top surface to allow traction between your shoes and the mat.
If a bowling injury occurs
- If an injury occurs, stop immediately to help prevent any further damage.
- Seek first aid or prompt medical treatment of an injury. This is important for all injured players, no matter how severe (or seemingly minor) the injury is. At least one trained first aid person should be on duty at all bowls events.
- Make sure the bowls club has a well-stocked first aid kit, a telephone and emergency contact numbers on display.
- Don’t resume playing until you are completely recovered from any injury.
Where to get help
- Your doctor
- In an emergency, always call triple zero (000)
- Bowls Victoria (03) 9861 7100
This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:
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