Introducing COACHFORCE

by Team BV

New ‘Coach Force’ Training Program to Improve Bowls Participation, Engagement and Development Across Victoria

In response largely to a lack of coaching resources in regional Victoria – caused by issues such as an ageing population and the exodus of many talented bowlers to metropolitan competitions in search of personal development – Bowls Victoria is launching Coach Force, a multi-faceted new project designed to make quality coaching, officiating and player development opportunities accessible to all Bowls Clubs, Regions and Divisions across the state.

Coach Force aims to generate greater engagement in personal and professional development, increase retention of existing bowlers and provide mentoring opportunities.

“The Coach Force concept is something I have brought with me from my previous roles working in cricket and it was a roaring success both here in Victoria and in New Zealand,” says Neil Gray, Bowls Victoria Participation Manager.

What is Coach Force?

Coach Force is a user-pays program designed to assist clubs in player development at a junior or senior level. The program involves clubs booking a session/s and having a Bowls Victoria Coach Force Coach attend a training session at the club.

Experienced, accredited and enthusiastic Bowls Victoria Coach Force coaches will visit your club and conduct a quality training session. Coach Force sessions are designed to assist in player skill development, game sense, and tactical and technical awareness, as well as demonstrate valuable training methods to coaches / training coordinators in the future.

Who is the lead Coach?

Our lead Coach and mentor for the Coach Force program will be Barrie Lester, who is a fountain of knowledge and a well-known face to all in Victoria. Barrie is capped 144 times for his country with multiple titles and medals to his name around the world. He has been instrumental in designing the content of the programs available to clubs and his presenting style will engage young and old. He is always happy to answer questions and talk bowls!

Barrie’s simple yet effective philosophy of BLEST, which stands for ‘Bowls, Leadership, Excellence, Skills & Training’, has seen him achieve enormous success in bowls and he uses this very same philosophy to share his love of the sport with others. Barries motivations is simple, “I enjoy helping fellow bowlers that love the game as much as I do. I’ve been educated/coached by some of the greatest players and coaches in the game. To be able to pass on my knowledge and assist the development of individuals and clubs is my passion “

“I’m really excited to be working with Barrie. As a novice bowler myself I always feel like I learn something when talking about the game with him and I have seen first-hand the passion and love he has for the game,” Neil says. “Barrie and I have already had clubs contacting us wanting to book sessions in straight away.”

What are the goals?

The core objectives of Coach Force are to generate a greater engagement in personal development, to increase retention of existing bowlers, provide role modelling and mentoring opportunities and generally provide a resource much needed to the clubs in Victoria.

Barrie is clear of the goals of the program from his perspective; “ Coachforce will be a valuable service that clubs desire. We all want to see a club grow stronger both on and off the greens, create a culture that leads to success for all members and participants and, most importantly, upskill the bowling community with better planning, game styles and enjoyment.”

In terms of program reach, Coach Force addresses participation indirectly as it provides an opportunity for new and existing bowlers to maintain or enhance their bowling skills and enjoyment of the sport to their next level. Coach Force also promotes participation in coach education.

Who and where will benefit?

The 514 Bowls Clubs in different regions right across Victoria will benefit from Coach Force. However, the program will have a specific focus on regional areas where we acknowledge that ‘tyranny of distance’ is a serious barrier. There is a demand for more practical education in regional areas, with the 4 lowest-ranked Regions for total coaches accredited all being regional, and no regional area being ranked in the top 6 for number of accredited coaches. Coach Force will also provide regional areas more access to talented players and increase our focus on regional pathway development both on and off the green.

How to book a Coach Force session?

Access the booking form here

Once submitted, Bowls Victoria will review and be in touch to confirm booking.

Want to know more about Coach Force?


Bowls Victoria
03 9861 7112