Bowler thrilled to be in programme

Makes perfect. . . Gore Bowling Club member Sheldon Bagrie-Howley practises bowling on the Gore croquet green in preparation for playing on the English greens if he is chosen for the Commonwealth Games team. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Gore Bowling Club member Sheldon Bagrie-Howley has joined the elite group of Southland athletes who take part in the SBS Bank Academy Southland programme.

The two-year programme supports athletes to reach their full potential with training in mental skills, strength and conditioning, nutrition, and athlete life.

Bagrie-Howley said he saw the benefit of the programme last year when he spent time with the academy’s mental skills coach, Jason McKenzie.

“If you can keep gaining that 1% on everybody else it makes a big difference.

“The mental skills helped immensely last year with where I ended up getting.”

A player might have perfect technique, but it was knowing how to react when things were not going well in a game that made the difference between winning and losing.

“[It is important to know] how to fight back, how to get back into a game, how to fight for a game instead of just letting it slip away.”

Preparing well by eating right and keeping hydrated were becoming more important in the sport where players at the higher levels sometimes spent all day on the green.

“There are not many sports where you play 10 hours a day.”

Recently Bagrie-Howley trialled to be one of the five bowlers chosen for the New Zealand team to compete at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, from July 28 to August 8.

At present he is practising on the Gore croquet green, which has a similar surface to the English playing conditions.

The team would be announced by April 26.

SBS Bank Academy Southland co-ordinator Carly Anderson said it was exciting to see the range of sports represented in the programme.

“This means atheletes get a great chance to learn from others who are all striving to be their best in their chosen sport”.

This year’s intake includes disc golf for the first time.

Other sports included in the intake were cycling, athletics, para-swimming, swimming, softball, netball, tennis and cricket.