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A MOVE is afoot at district level to revive the local bowls coaches' panel that was controversially disbanded two years ago.
Northern Rivers coaches at the time objected strongly to a changed concept by Bowls Australia that included requiring those with many years' experience to travel long distances at their own expense to be reaccredited.
Long-time coach Alisdair Watt, chairman of the NRDBA coaches' panel when it operated, said the reaccreditation was to be done at distant venues Co Newcastle and in Queensland at Noosa.
C[pounds sterling]We were told our clubs would pay,C[yen] Watt said. C[pounds sterling]But many struggling clubs couldn't be burdened with more expenses. With travel and two or three days' accommodation, the cost could be $500.
C[pounds sterling]There also were several new categories of coaches. We objected to the whole concept.C[yen]
NRDBA president Cec Stenner said the Northern Rivers coaches' panel had been strong, but was never consulted before the changes were introduced, though official meetings had been held elsewhere.
C[pounds sterling]Our area was snubbed,C[yen] he said. C[pounds sterling]The new coaching requirements might suit the metropolitan area, but they didn't suit the country.C[yen]
The district president said the subject of re-forming the coaches' panel had been brought up at the last NRDBA meeting and discussions had been held with former panel members.
C[pounds sterling]Our district is in the throes of reviving this valuable facility,C[yen] he said.
MY VIEW . . .
I ONCE heard of a newcomer to our game who thought a bowls coach had four wheels.
That might be a gag, but it's a fact that many bowls tyros start to play without a proper grounding, and develop faults that become a habit that affects their game forever.
Most clubs have a rule that new bowlers must be passed by a coach before being allowed to take part in social play.
This stipulation is there to prevent the lack of bowling knowhow from spoiling the game for everyone.
So if there are no coaches, the game can become a shambles.
We all have to worry that for two years the Northern Rivers district has had no panel to organise coaching.
For years before that, men like Alisdair Watt, Kevin Soward and Ron Moor were the district mentors. They did it for buckshee, never thought of payment Co though it's not unknown for southern coaches to get on the gravy train that bowls has become.
Everything was moving along sweetly locally. Then Bowls Australia started fiddling with what a coach is, should be, or should do.
After coaching for years, well-experienced men were required to start all over from scratch.
And to do it they had to spend up to three days away from home and travel distances that needed a cut lunch to get there.
The NRDBA sees the need to revive its coaches' panel. The move will have the support of all bowlers.
But will experienced coaches who previously wanted nothing to do with Bowls Australia's changes, accept them now?
Plenty of aspects of bowls need fixing. …