top of page

Learn the Lingo //

All sports have their own language but not to worry! Now you’re ready to get started, here are a few terms that will help you chat about the sport.

Backhand | When (for a right-handed player) the bowl is delivered so the curve of the bowl is from the left to right.

Bias | The shape of the bowl which causes it to curve.


Delivery | The moment the bowl leaves the hand.


Ditch | The gully around the green. If a bowl ends up in the ditch and it is not a ‘toucher’ then it doesn’t count.


Draw | A bowl delivered at the correct weight, and with correct line, to arrive exactly where you want.


End | The sequence of play from the moment the mat is placed down until all bowls have been delivered and you know who has won. A bit like a game in tennis!


Foot fault | If you don’t deliver the bowl with part of your foot on the mat.


Forehand | When (for the right-handed player) the bowl is delivered so that the curve of the bowl is from the right to left.


Green | The total playing area. There are usually 6 rinks on each green.


Jack | The little round target ball to which you’re trying to get your bowls closest.


Mat | The rectangular shaped mat from which the bowler must deliver the jack and/or bowl.


Pace of Weight | The amount of force with which the bowl is delivered to execute a particular shot.


Rink | The rectangular strip of the green, between 4 and 6 metres wide, on which the game takes place.


Stance | Position adopted on the mat prior to delivery.


Shot | The bowl that is nearest the jack at any stage of play.


Toucher | A bowl that hits the jack during its original course. This bowl still counts even if it ends up in the ditch.

Ready for a game? You can find your nearest outdoor club here or indoor club here, or alternatively we have more information from Bowls England on how to get started here.

bottom of page