The Bionic Bowler (Ian Rowan) plays bowls using a bowling arm and writes for Bowls Plus.
Well, 2017 certainly started with significant change for myself. I was successful in securing a fantastic new and challenging position as CEO of RACQ CQ Rescue Service in Mackay, Queensland. The “significant” part means leaving Brisbane and relocating to Mackay! Thank you so much to my old club, Pine Rivers Bowls Club for introducing me to bowls and for making me so welcome as a novice bowler.
Naturally, my new role requires me to prioritise work and so playing bowls is restricted to evenings and weekends. I’ll be bowling at the North Mackay Bowls Club (NMBC).
NMBC has a significant number of both men and women who use bowling arms. On my second weekend here, BQ Coaches Thorpy and George presented a development course for 100+ local bowlers. I assisted by coaching those using bowling arms, who recognised the benefits of having an Arm Coach check their technique.
It is evident that bowling arms are fast becoming a reality for older bowlers and those with injuries or debilitating illness. For non-arm bowlers to see this as a threat or giving some advantage is sadly ridiculous.
If you are fortunate to be blessed with good health allowing you to bowl, then be thankful. Please do not raise your ire at bowlers using the bowling arm. It allows them to participate and contribute to bowls. We have an ageing population and many sports become impossible to participate in if people cannot move as well as they used to. Bowls is one of the exceptions and as bowlers, surely we must encourage more people to play bowls?
It may be some way off before we have an Arm bowler representing Australia at the highest international level. However, I can foresee a time when Arm bowlers are regularly competing at State and National Championships.