Alex Scott of Saskatoon, SK is a member of Bowls Canada’s marketing committee and shares this post with the goal of sparking a conversation and encouraging readers to share their thoughts.
In every sport you have athletes who have perfected their mechanics to the point that it’s unflappable. The robotic nature of these mechanics cannot be ignored. They are robotic because they have put in a million hours of work to perfect their golf swing, their basketball shot, their tennis swing, their LAWN BOWLS DELIVERY. And they just GET IT. Tiger Woods. Ernie Els. Jack Nicklaus. Some of the most fluid, beautiful golf swings I’ve ever seen. Effortless almost. I’ve never seen someone as naturally gifted as Roger Federer. The way he dances around and hits the most viciously placed back-hand I’ve ever seen is must watch television. Andrew Luck threw such a gorgeous, mechanically sound football. There are natural phenoms in this world who just get it. Alex Marshall. Karen Murphy. They just get it. And when things do need to “change” it happens quickly and organically. A fine tuning if you will. Mechanics at its highest peak.
But then you get the athletes who really had to “make it work” because that was the way they had always done it. Have you ever seen Jim Furyk swing a golf club back in the day? He actually stutters mid swing! He won a US Open doing that. Recently retired QB, Philip Rivers, looked like he was shot-putting the football every time he threw it. Highly successful NFL career spanning 17 years. What about David Bryant, you know, arguably the greatest lawn bowler to ever play? He started on the mat in a crouching position; literally a complete squat while aiming his bowl at his target line. He won a bajillion world titles making it his own. Are they phenoms in their own right? Absolutely.
So, the question I ask you is this: do “standard mechanics” even matter if you’re getting the results? Sure, there are those with atypical mechanics who achieve success, but if you had to choose between someone who is “doing it right” vs. someone who looks like they’re about to fall off the mat before delivering a bowl, who are you going to choose? It’s a legit question because numerous coaches in almost every sport value mechanics above all. If you don’t fit this mold then they’ll move on. But there are other coaches that are more results-based: win and I’m in.
So, what do YOU value more? Are you swayed one way or the other? Do you de-value results more if they occur with an atypical athlete? If coaches intervene with mechanics with a high caliber bowler who’s been playing like that for 10 years, will it set them back 3 years or will it unlock even more potential? Sure, you can add in team chemistry, strategy etc. to your success but the basics of bowls is to roll a bowl close to a jack. What DO YOU look like when you do it? Is it weird? Is it fluid? Does this conversation even matter? Please. Let’s discuss anyway….