At the Skips Workshop on June 25, Coaching Chair Mary Lou Richards introduced a game variation that teaches strategy yet doesn’t feel like a drill. It’s a fun way for three evenly matched bowlers to play together. There’s a twist that makes the game tough and intriguing. The jack isn’t delivered; it’s placed. Here’s how to play:
- Flip coins, use rock-paper-scissors, or draw straws to determine who will bowl first, second, and third.
- The first bowler delivers four bowls in succession. A common strategy is to build a fairly tight cluster.
- The first bowler walks to the head with the jack and places it in whatever spot will make it most difficult for the other bowlers to score. (If you’re using the game to improve all three players’ understanding of strategy, bring everyone down to the head to discuss the toughest jack location.) There’s a lot to consider when placing the jack, including back bowls, potential respotting, and how the rink is drawing. Sometimes, but not always, the best location is a short distance behind a bowl, so the other players can’t see the jack.
- Players 2 and 3 deliver four bowls alternately, trying to score by getting closest to the jack. As in any game, players can move the jack, and if it goes out of bounds, it’s respotted.
- Scoring is as usual; bowls closest to the jack score one point each.
- In the next end, the bowler who bowled second now bowls first and positions the jack; the bowler who bowled third bowls second, and so on.
- Play three, six, nine or twelve ends, so everyone has an equal number of turns in each position. High score wins.