After months of preparation by the Irish Bowls Federation, Bowls Ireland Regional Academies were launched back in December 2018 with a view to getting them off
the ground at the start of the Irish outdoor bowls season in April.
The exciting adventure got underway at eight centres over the north and south of Ireland and continued throughout the summer providing a fantastic opportunity for
existing young bowlers to improve their game with others wanting to try outdoor bowls for the first time, some of whom came from the indoor short-mat scene.
The aim of the Academies is to develop young bowlers in Ireland to create a continuous flow of talent across the island so that some of them will achieve medal
status that would include British, European, Commonwealth and World hampionships.
The Academies are well structured with Regional Coordinators, Performance Analysts and Senior and Assistant Coaches helping to run them.
The Academies offer three levels for the kids involved that includes an introductory level where everyone has an opportunity to try out the game, an intermediate level where kids are put through a coaching programme to learn the basics, and an upper level where kids will have the chance for one-on-one coaching in various aspects.
Some of the big names in Irish bowls give their valuable experience to coach and guide young bowlers at all levels in the sport, taking them through to the various
stages and providing a necessary pathway in their potential bowling career while also ultimately benefitting clubs with increased membership and participation.
The finals of the inaugural season for the Bowls Ireland Regional Academies were at Belmont Bowling Club, Belfast last month in excellent bowling weather.
After four sessions of pairs and triples, the Rushmere Rattlesnakes, based at Dunbarton and Lurgan Clubs, came out as winners.
However, the real winner was the game of bowls which bodes well for the future of the sport in Ireland.
Colin Campbell, Honorary Secretary/Treasurer of the Irish Bowls Federation, commented that “it was great to see so many young bowlers out on the green
representing their Academies from all across Ireland”.
This was evidence of the undoubted success of them in their first season of operation.
He added his congratulations and thanks to all those involved in the eight academies across the country that got off to such a successful start.
Asked about how the Bowls Ireland Academies had gone Neil Booth, High Performance Manager added: “We are delighted with the first year of the academies
and that we have enlisted the help of top class international players to assist with the running of them.
“Special thanks to all the Regional Coordinators who have worked so hard to make them such a success; especially Catherine Beattie leading the Academy based at Lurgan and Dunbarton home to the Rushmere Rattlesnakes.”
As the outdoor season comes to a close the Academies move indoors.
All three indoor stadiums in Northern Ireland and the excellent work so far will continue within the three indoor stadiums in Northern Ireland while the academy based in Dublin will also continue using the Winter League greens.