National Development Manager PDF Print E-mail

Bowls is such a successful sport for Scotland and I am delighted to have the opportunity to be part of it and developing the sport further.”

Bowls Scotland today announced John Kemp as their new National Development Manager. With extensive experience working internationally and locally in facility and club development, John will be leaving his position as Education & Resources Officer with Scottish Golf to start his role with Bowls Scotland on 6th March 2017.

In an exclusive interview, John discusses what attracted him to Bowls, what he thinks will be his biggest challenge and what he aims to do in his new role:

What attracted you to Bowls?

Having grown up in Orkney where sport is central to the community I know how important bowls can be. It is a fantastic inclusive sport – able to be enjoyed by anyone – with clubs in the heart of cities, towns and villages run by really passionate people.

Obviously the opportunities for the sport are huge, bowls is such a successful sport for Scotland and I am delighted to have the opportunity to be part of it and developing the sport further.

What are you looking forward to most?

Getting to know the clubs and the people who work so hard to run them. Being a volunteer in a few different sports and clubs myself I know that every club is unique with its own approach and the sport only happens because of the willingness of people to give back and help others.

What do you think the biggest challenge will be?

If we’re going to get more people playing and joining clubs we still have a lot to do to overcome the tired clichés people outside the sport have about bowls - and sometimes the sport doesn't help itself in that regard.

Of course the solution is to get those people to have a go – it might not even be something we’d call traditional bowls – but once they’ve tried it and enjoyed it then all their reservations will be gone. But I’m delighted to be part of the work being done by Bowls Scotland in changing this perception.

Are there any similarities between bowls and golf that may help you?

Absolutely – both sports are games for life, both can be quick to learn but take a lifetime to master. Clubs, their people and facilities are the centrepiece in bowls and golf alike and this makes them tremendous community assets that can be utilised more.

However, bowls goes further than golf, in that the sport can really give people something to fit their modern lifestyles. Everyone wants to be active with families and friends and bowls is ideal for that kind of experience.

What are your aims?

The season isn’t far away so, in the very near-term, I’ll be picking up with the work in the Development team. Whether it’s the club support work or the development of coaching these are critical foundations for a strong 2017.

Longer term – the big goals are more people playing at ever-improving clubs. I’m really excited about exploring why people love bowls, and what would encourage new or lapsed players to get into it. Sharing those insights with clubs means we have a real opportunity to help plan development locally to attract the next generation.

In my time off I’ll also be aiming to get out on the green with my girlfriend and maybe benefit from a few pointers from my colleagues!

How do you describe yourself?

An Orcadian living in Edinburgh.

Although you might not think to look at me I really enjoy all sorts of sports – and I’m never afraid to give something a try. I’m really ambitious in everything, always striving for the best from myself and those around me.

I’m also a big fan of home-cooked curries and a nice cup of coffee.

John recently attended the Bowls Scotland National Club Development Conference and commented

“It was wonderful meeting so many people wanting to improve the sport and improve their own clubs as well as some examples of clubs already doing that through Stuart Bell’s "Been There, Done That" workshops.”

(Photography : Rob Eyton-Jones)