As the return to work begins, thoughts will quickly turn to team events, which span from the christmas party to team sports – however, as workplaces begin to take a more diverse and inclusive approach – is it time to consider a more inclusive company sport?
Team sports like football, rugby, 5 a side and golf tournaments are common workplace ‘out of hours’ activities, but these are usually only enjoyed by a small number of younger (usually male) employees and there aren’t any sports activities for everyone else.
With managers keen to reduce the spread of COVID, less contact is important and this years team events will need an alternative approach anyway – so why not consider a team sport that is diverse enough to suit all ages, all abilities and include people with disabilities?
A Lawn Bowls tournament could provide the perfect solution – it’s fun, social, outdoors, inclusive, suitable for all levels of fitness, affordable and socially distanced! With thousands of clubs across the UK, there’s bound to be one near you.
Bowls is a proper sport, and there are a number of styles of play, for example Crown green bowls is a regional variety, played on a grass surface, but with a hump in the middle of the green. You can actually follow this type of bowling online – websites offer lots of team news for the English clubs who belong to the British Crown Green Bowling Association. Flat green lawn bowls is, however, the most common type of play.
Organising a team social event with lawn bowls
1. Arranging a Venue
First, you will need a place to play, and a good starting point is your nearest bowls club.
Many bowls clubs are looking to boost their income and will be delighted to help you plan a trial bowling competition for your team.
2. Learn the rules and style of play
You’ll be relieved to hear that Bowls rules are easy to learn.
The game can be adapted for single players, teams or even pairs, enabling you to tailor the style of play to suit your workplace.
To begin a game, the jack (a small white ball) is thrown down the green. Teams will be allocated coloured bowls, which are bowled towards the jack – the player or team whose ball is closest to the jack wins a point (known in bowling as ‘the end’).
A typical team game will be 18 or 21 ends long, and in between ends, play is reversed so that teams bowl from different ends of the green.
However, if playing a singles game, the winner is normally the first player to reach 21 points.
3. Plan what will happen after the game
Bowling lends itself well to team activities, whether as a ‘sporting event’ or as part of a full team social event. Staff should therefore have an idea of what to expect so they can bring spare clothing if needed.
While ‘Saturday morning’ sports will have team members wanting to go home and spend the rest of the day with their families, if you are organising a ‘party’ style event, you will want to do something after play.
Most clubs are already used to organising social functions at their pavilion – and will normally charge much less than commercial venues. They are likely to have good contacts with caterers, local bands and singers and can make your budget stretch much further than a more commercial venue.
Alternatively, you could head off for a team meal at a nearby restaurant, or simply head home.
Planning what will happen in advance is better so staff aren’t left hanging and can arrange their day around the event.
Whatever you decide to do, it’s worth considering Lawn Bowls as a fun team building sport that includes every member of your team.