Bowls faces recruitment challenge
WESTERN PROVINCE bowls will continue its development drive in 2011 with a concerted effort to take the game to the masses.
Whether they will gain market share depends on the willingness of the affiliated clubs to get more involved.
Representation in bowls is overwhelmingly dominated by white folk; it’s been that way all along.
Why black and coloured people have not been enticed to play remains the conundrum WP Bowls have to unravel. For one, the drive in the past decade has focused on the wrong target market.
Yes, youth participation is an obvious market, but young- sters of today will be hard pressed explaining away to their friends that they choose to play a game considered the domain of older people over other social activities.
The real market the controlling body should be after is exsportsmen and women aged 30-40. While progress has been made in this area, plenty more action is needed to boost membership numbers that have levelled out in the past couple of years after an alarming drop before that.
So how does WP Bowls go about things?
Maybe they should consider employing a commission-paid officer whose task it would be to market the game to business and sport codes in the Cape – a person who spends the week selling the game to a wider audience.
Let’s not shy from the fact that, unless new blood is brought into the game, and with haste, bowls faces an uncertain future.
With membership below 5,000, and with the majority the wrong side of 60, action needs to be taken to address the situation, and with haste.
WP Bowls can only do so much; the onus is on members to play their part.
If they are to be honest with themselves, they will concede that little if anything has been done in the recruitment effort.
A marketing and development seminar was held last month with 30 clubs in attendance.
The purpose of the indaba was to reach common ground and to agree on the way ahead.
How to change attitudes and perceptions of the game of bowls in selling the game to potential members will prove telling in enticing them to the sport.
And the way one goes about introducing the game to new members must be done in a relaxed manner.
A rigid hierarchy still exists in terms of playing positions – older members think it’s their divine right to play in the back rank (tabs-in) springs to mind, at the expense of a novice player who in most cases is a superior player.
Dress code should also come under scrutiny; maybe WP Bowls should poll members in this regard.