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Lawn Bowls WA workshop: Communication, Respect, Mental Preparation
24 May 2015

Story by Trent Mitton, AIS & WAIS Hockey, Australian Kookaburras
 Communication was the word of the morning when lead facilitator Kate Bobridge and I went to Lawn Bowls Western Australia on Sunday morning. The keen group of talented lawn bowlers with varying ages took part in their second workshop as part of the Developing Champions program.
After brief introductions we started talking about communication in sport and how important it is. The athletes identified in particular how crucial it is in the team aspect of their sport. Having confidence in each other and being able to trust the other members in your team goes a long way to a good performance.
A few fun activities helped the group understand the best ways to talk to each other, as well as how significant body language is. Especially in a sporting environment where sometimes it may be too loud to talk or lawn bowls in particular where you spend large amounts of time at different ends of the green.
To finish off the unit we discussed the other vital part of communication which is being able to listen intently and actually hear the message being given. A skill which is frequently forgotten about but so important in showing team mates respect. 
The other half of the seminar was dedicated to relationships and mental skills.  Again, the module on mental skills was a huge reminder to the athletes about how essential the non-physical skills are to performance. All of them understood that being mentally prepared and tough are very important aspects in lawn bowls but perhaps not enough time was dedicated to training these skills. Some of the techniques we helped the athletes with was creating some positive mental imagery and to put yourself in the pressure of a game situation. Therefore, you're not unfamiliar with the situation when it presents itself in the future. We also discussed pre-match routines and being able to have enough flexibility so that if that routine is not possible before a game, it won’t be detrimental to your performance.
The workshop was certainly beneficial to the athletes. The casual nature and great attitude of the athletes provided some intriguing discussion. Everyone had some really valuable input for the group and I personally learnt a lot about the sport of lawn bowls, and also about the different challenges that face the sport.
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