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Reporter Points of view



decided recently to get fit, and chose MMA training as my preferred route to greater health and wellbeing.

For those unfamiliar with the term, MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts – also known as cage fighting. Thankfully, I’ve never needed this

degree of fitness for being a bowls referee, but it’s always handy to have a way of defending yourself if a competitor wants to challenge your integrity when he (or she) loses a match on a measure! I hasten to add that I’m not planning to go in for any fights in the cage, because I value the few good looks I have at my tender age. No, the reason I’m in MMA training is

purely to improve my fitness. Doing this level of training, and

working closely with guys who are preparing for serious fights and titles, has made me realise just how important all-round body conditioning is, no matter what sport we are involved in. The people I train with under the

expert guidance of Alan Ashcroft of Ashcroft Vale Tudo, Causeway Judo and Wrestling, are super fit. Alan is a top grade coach, holds a Commonwealth Medal, and has held a British Ranking. He coaches some of the best talent in the country with numerous British champions and Commonwealth champions in his camp. Coaching and having the right coach

is absolutely necessary if you want to achieve success. The raw talent in the individual may well be there, but it’s how it’s moulded and conditioned by a coach which I believe shows the difference. If you need an example, just look at the

team produced by Bowls Scotland and its recent successes, both in individual and team events. I’ve read various articles about the

psychology of sport and, in particular, bowls, but I’ve never actually been part of it to any formal standard. Members of the international squads and elite squads will have a greater understanding of this, and what it means at the top end of the sport. But psychology also has an impact on our domestic game, and especially by those people who take it seriously. Certainly when it comes to going out to mark a game of singles, whether it’s a

14 NationwideBowler

Scotland National Championship image from

national competition or a match that’s live on television, in front of a couple of thousand spectators and working with the best bowlers in the world, it takes quite a bit to prepare you mentally and physically. I know only too well how vital it is to

have a good state of mind. This is where I see how all-over body and mind relationship is vital – whether it’s a British or World Fight in the cage or on the Blue Rink. You should always be looking for

your opponent’s weaknesses and dominate in your own strengths. Fight/match preparation is vital. The build up is very different for each individual. Once you’ve started the match/ fight, you can’t afford to let your concentration lapse for a second. There are lots of

different lengths and types of matches from a quick sets game of an hour to a four- hour marathon of a fours game.

experience under your belt and having the

right coach can make all the difference

Certainly in the longer matches, it’s much harder to sustain a high degree of concentration and consistency, and that’s due to the very nature of the time involved and how your opponent plays. This is where, perhaps, some

gamesmanship comes in. We’ve all seen it happen. Having the right experience under your belt and having the right coach can make all the difference. No two opponents play the same tactical or even mental game. This is where the experience and all

round ability shows in the top 16 bowlers in the world. Like bowls, MMA is not all about physical strength. There is a big percentage to do with technique and strength of the mind. Perhaps if the bosses of TV broadcasting are looking to spice things up in bowls, and sort out the result instead of the match tie, I could suggest that there’s only one other exciting way to do it… FIGHT!

Having the right

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