Welsh Association of Visually Impaired Bowlers


What is VI Bowls?

Diagram of VI Bowling matAlthough Bowls has been around for centuries it was not until 1959 that people with a vision impairment were introduced to the game of bowling. In those early days the VI bowler would be placed on the mat and instructed to bowl to the sound of the voice, the clapping of hands or the ringing of the bell from behind the jack.

Today the coaching system used is based on the 'clock' system. Using this system the 'Marker' standing beyond the 'Jack' informs those at the mat end at what time and distance from the jack the bowl has come to rest.

It will be seen from the diagram that the 'Jack' is at the centre of the clock; therefore, a bowl at 6 o'clock would be in front of the jack and a bowl at 12 o'clock behind, with all other positions being relative to the clock. From the information fed back from the marker, the player can build up a mental picture of the 'head.'

The rules for VI bowling are exactly the same. However in order to assist the VI bowler a fine white centre string runs under the mat and is fixed at both ends of the rink. The main object of this string is to help the bowler to judge the angle for the amount of green required.

In addition a director/coach is also used on the green to provide information and advice.

Sight Classification.

Please note the procedure for players in Wales with a vision impairment who would like to apply for a formal bowls classification. This is required for competitive bowls and tournaments.

Please read carefully all the accompanying information before applying for your Classification Award to make sure you have all you need and provide your optometrist with all the information.

Procedure ( for players )

  1. complete a consent form.
  2. make an appointment and ask the Optician / Optometrist/ Ophthalmologist to fully complete the IBBA/IBD assessment form.
  3. please contact us for further details as the what to do next.

You can download the form here.

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