For the observant browsers of the current Bowls International you may have noticed the article by Ian Paddy on the Letters Page.

for those who might have missed it, it is recreated below:

Hi, my name is Ian Paddy and I am an EBCS Advanced coach. If that sounds like an admission of addiction at an AA meeting well it should, because I am addicted to coaching bowls.
The question I keep asking myself is why?

On Tuesday evening I went up to the club (Hornsea IBC) having reluctantly agreed to ‘instruct’ a group of 20 young farmers in the basics of the game. None of them had bowled before, just a group of young men and women out to enjoy themselves. Within 20 minutes they were all having fun showing off their newfound skill. Other members of the club who were around started to ask if they could go on and help. For me a deep sense of satisfaction and achievement.

The next day we were coaching a wonderful man aged 80 who started bowling last year and is recovering from bone cancer. The joy on his face at the end of the session was inspirational, he had just passed the adult EIBA Bronze Skills Award

At the other end of the scale I had tears streaming down my face when our young girls won the Ladies’ England fours and then went on to win the British Isles title, the first England win in 10 years.
Am I addicted, YES! Will I ever stop (as I constantly promise to do) hell NO!!

The next question I ask myself is does it matter whether I am a certified EBCS coach or a qualified Coach Bowls coach. The answer for me is a very definite NO. What matters to me and I would suggest to all the clubs in the country is; can that coach help to increase our bowling numbers and their level of performance so that it is an enjoyable experience for everyone.

It is also my opinion that healthy and friendly competition between the two schemes will ultimately improve the quality of coaching. The EBCS has 2000 coaches with a vast knowledge and skills reservoir which if it chooses to share the benefits would be considerable. It is, after all, the function of the EBCS to support all its volunteer coaches and this would be best achieved with the use of modern media. Any coach in my opinion should be encouraged to join the Society and not be excluded because of their initial training. Personally I would like to invite all Coach Bowls trainees to also become members of the EBCS.

What all our developing coaches need is support. It takes years not days to become a good coach in any sport. Having achieved a certificate or qualification is only the first step. The quality of support and encouragement following that initial training is the major factor in producing a good coach.

The Society also has a considerable fund at its disposal so money should not be a factor. What currently is missing is a clear coherent plan coupled with the motivation to implement it.

Let’s cast our bread on the water we may be surprised at the size of our catch and the benefits that will be reaped by the sport we love.

I want to thank Sian Honnor for making me rethink this article. I still think that the New York Matriarch, fur coat, Chanel No.5 and the Silverback made for a great anecdote regarding perception. Maybe another time and place?

Ian Paddy (Yorkshire County Coach)


Posted: Jun 28, 2019