AUSTRALIAN bowler Mark Casey sends one down as members of the Bowls Australia coaching staff, from left, sports psychologist Be
AUSTRALIAN bowler Mark Casey sends one down as members of the Bowls Australia coaching staff, from left, sports psychologist Be

Our top playersget fine tuned

By ADAM WRATTEN

FORGET the beer boys, Bowls Australia is rolling out a hard-line program to get our top players in shape to knock over the world's best at next year's Commonwealth Games.

Gone are the days when a top player would have "a bit of a practice and then a couple of beers afterwards", national technical coordinator Ian Schubach said yesterday during a training camp on the Tweed.

Schubach and head coach Cameron Curtis have been given a mandate to take bowls to new heights if the sport is to receive its current level of government funding in the future.

They must win a medal in all of the bowls events at next year's Commonwealth Games three of which need to be gold.

To put this in perspective, Australia's best was one silver medal in Manchester at the last Games.

That's why Schubach and Curtis are leaving nothing to chance and are in the process of overhauling the culture of the sport's elite.

They had a psychologist and university sports scientist on hand yesterday for a twoday training camp at the Tweed Heads Bowls Club, which has been selected as a Bowls Australia high performance centre.

At the camps players are put through their paces, with fitness and flexibility exercises, rigorous skills training, sessions with a pyschologist, even a skin-fold test.

"Because we have about 40 per cent of the world's bowlers, the expectation is we get gold medals at the Commonwealth Games," Schubach said. South Tweed's Kelvin Kerkow, currently the world's number five bowler, was among those taking part yes- terday.

Kerkow said the program was a step in the right direction, although he believes the pressures of competition are the best preparation.

"I think this sort of thing has its good points, such as helping to sort out your strengths and weaknesses," Kerkow said.

"It's not the same as a competition, where it really counts. I think more stats should be done in match play when you are under pressure.

"But, certainly things like the psychology element have their good points ... they are not going to be a disadvantage to anyone."

As well as some of the national bowlers, Queensland representative players and a couple of Tweed Heads players took part.

Aaron Silk from Southern Cross University's School of Exercise Science and Sport Management was among the experts involved.



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