The Bowls Development Agency (BDA) have, in conjunction with the National Governing Bodies of Bowls, set these standards that apply to everyone involved in the sport including staff, club officials, coaches volunteers, players and spectators.  This Code of Conduct has been produced to protect everyone in the sport and to ensure that everyone can enjoy the sport of bowls in a safe and inclusive environment.


Respect all participants and decisionsEncourage everyoneSportsmanshipPlay for enjoymentEducate and be knowledgeableConduct yourself courteouslyTreat everyone fairly

Key Principles of Respectful Behaviour.


  • Respect all players, coaches, officials, volunteers and spectators
  • Participate in the right spirit – the sport should be fun at all levels
  • Take reasonable measures to keep yourself and others safe
  • Promote the sport in the best possible light through your actions and behaviour
  • Abide by the rules/regulations of the sport, and any additional competition rules
  • Abide by the policies of the sport and its National Governing Bodies
  • Speak to someone if you are concerned that any of this code is being broken


  • Participate under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Use foul, abusive, threatening or discriminatory language or gestures
  • Show dissent towards officials and their decisions
  • Discriminate on the grounds of any of the protected characteristics identified in the Equality Act 2010
  • Publicly criticise or engage in demeaning descriptions of others, including online
  • Engage in any behaviour that constitutes abuse as identified in the Safeguarding in Bowls Policies
  • Keep your concerns about abuse or poor practice secret

The general principles above apply to everyone in the sport of bowls. The following sections cover specific responsibilities linked to different groups.

1 – Code of Conduct for NGB, Club and County Associations’ staff and volunteers.

This group has an essential role to play in upholding and implementing the code of conduct in bowls. All should be advocates of equality, fair play and safety. They should:

  • Operate within the letter and spirit of the code
  • Promote the etiquette of the sport of bowls
  • Treat everyone with dignity and respect
  • Listen carefully to all stakeholders and respect their views
  • Promote the bowls Safeguarding and Equality Policies to foster a safe and inclusive culture.

2 – Code of Conduct for Coaches

The coach in bowls is in a position of trust and has a central role in promoting and developing the sport at all levels. They should:

  • Respect the rights, dignity and worth of every person
  • Help create an environment where all children and adults at risk have an equal opportunity to participate
  • Help create and maintain an environment free of fear and harassment
  • Recognise the rights of parents, children and adults at risk to confer with other coaches
  • Develop relationships with parents, children and adults at risk, based on openness, honesty, mutual trust and respect
  • Do not condone or allow to go unchallenged any form of discrimination or prejudice
  • Be aware of the physical limits of children and adults at risk and ensure that training is appropriate
  • Ensure that physical contact is appropriate and necessary and is carried out within recommended guidelines
  • Always work in an open environment (e.g. avoid private or unobserved situations)
  • Do not engage in any form of sexually-related contact with children or adults at risk.
  • Sexual innuendo, flirting or inappropriate gestures and terms are also unacceptable.
  • Do not have a sexual relationship with someone under the age of 18 who you are coaching
  • Report any concerns you may have in relation to a child or an adult at risk or the behaviour of an adult, to the most appropriate person
  • Always emphasise that the well-being and safety of the child or adult at risk is more important than the development of performance
  • Do not smoke, or drink alcohol, while actively working with children or adults at risk.
  • Never use recreational or performance-enhancing drugs
  • Attend appropriate training to enable you to keep up-to-date with your role and matters relating to the safeguarding of children and adults at risk
  • Hold “Coach Bowls” membership and relevant qualifications
  • Ensure necessary insurance cover is in place for you to perform your coaching role

3 – Code of Conduct for Players

All players have a responsibility to maintain the highest standards in their enjoyment of the sport of bowls. They should:

  • Be punctual for games
  • Accept success and failure
  • Recognise good play by teammates and opponents
  • Set a positive example for young participants and spectators
  • Abide by the accepted etiquette of the sport

4 – Code of Conduct for Young Players (Under 18s)

Young players are the future of the sport. Everyone has the responsibility to make it fun. They should:

  • Always play fairly and apply bowls’ standards both on and off the rink
  • Respect all advice that you are given
  • Treat others as you would wish to be treated
  • Always report anything which worries you to a responsible adult, e.g. a Club Safeguarding Officer. Speak out if you consider that you or others are being poorly treated
  • Always tell someone if you are leaving a venue or competition

5 – Code of Conduct for Spectators, including Parents and Carers

The sport of bowls welcomes spectators and values the part parents and carers play in supporting and encouraging the participation of children and adults at risk. They should:

  • Remember that bowls is FUN
  • Applaud effort and good play as well as success
  • Appreciate good play by the opposition
  • Encourage all players to respect the opposition, coaches, the referee, umpire and other bowls’ officials
  • Offer encouragement at all times
  • Leave the coach to communicate with individual players
  • Respect the decisions of officials.
  • Show an appreciation of all volunteers and their efforts.