Keeping young bowlers within the sport
From the Murray to the Mallee and Geelong to Diamond Valley, the state of Bowls in Victoria is largely built from Pennant bowlers on a Saturday and Midweek and our social and barefoot bowlers who head down to clubs at different times.
But what opportunities exist for our junior members? The future of our sport.
Junior Development Squads (JDS) are an integral part of the Bowls Victoria pathway and the future of the sport.
These 11 squads – located across Victoria, welcome all juniors of 18 and younger and help develop them into great bowlers on and off the green. But what happens when they turn 18?
It’s important to provide pathways for junior bowlers after they turn 18, whether this is at a JDS or at a club, to ensure they keep involved in the sport. This can be in many ways through Umpiring, Coaching and mentoring other juniors. One of the Junior Development squads does it particularly well and provides off field pathways and mentoring opportunities.
That squad is the Murray Kraze.
Located across North Eastern Victoria, Southern New South Wales and the Murray area, the Kraze invite back those who turn 18 years of age to continue training with the squad, and mentor a younger bowler.
Justine Stokes, Murray Kraze Development Squad Coordinator says that it’s something she’d like to see more squads around Victoria incorporate into their program.
“In the past we’ve had some (18 year olds) stay on for a year or two after the program. As they cannot play with the squad, I often ask one of my mentors to manage the team at squad challenges.”
One of the recent team managers at the Squad Challenge event in Bendigo was ex-Kraze Squad member and pennant bowler at Lalor – Elisa Rigoni.
Stokes mentions this program assists her with coaching at various sessions throughout the year and the ex-squad members are able to look at coaching as a potential pathway to complement their bowling.
“It’s often difficult to coach a group of kids who have different levels of experience, but this opportunity keeps the squad members mixing with their friends and continue bowling, I always encourage those who are interested in staying in the sport of bowls to look at doing coaching courses as an option”.
Under 18 Development Squads are located throughout Victoria and are always looking for interested Bowlers and volunteers.
To find out where your local squad is located and to get involved, click here