As I covered throwing I guess it’s only fair I shine this week’s spotlight on the black art that is Calling.

I’ve done loads of it and I like to think I’m better than average at it. I’m lucky in that the people I play with are also very good and in doing so have showed me how I can be better. I’m always open to what other people say as long as it isn’t aggressive.

1. Stand close to the doll.

This is key, if you’re standing 10ft from it how can you see a close shave or if the stick clips the offside of the doll. I stand one large pace back. I’ve been hit by a stick maybe twice in 20 years.

2(a) If the Doll falls forward its probably not a doll

There are always times when this isn’t the case. For instance if the doll is hit squarely on the top it will fall forward also if the stick hits the very bottom of the doll and iron at the same time.

2(b) Doll placing – The doll should overhang the swivel with a gap all around.

The swivel should NOT be bigger than the bottom of the doll.

If the bottom of the doll is smaller than the swivel you need to place the doll at the front with at least 5mm or 1/8 of an inchoverhang. This is crucial as it means you can hit the doll on the very bottom and not get a doll because you hit the swivel and not the doll. See below diagram. The red line is the top of the swivel with the doll overhanging it. As a caller it is your responsibility to ensure the doll is placed on correctly.

Doll_PlacementSml.jpg (click for larger image)

3. Never step in front of the doll to replace it – Always put it on from the side.

A lot of players especially the good ones will not take their eye from the swivel at all. If you break the line of sight it can be off putting. Though not as much as……….

4. Never look or stare at the thrower.

It’s extremely off putting. I learnt this hard way when I was 14 years old. The barrage of abuse I got was pretty harsh, but I never did it again.

(Webmaster: the exception is if you’ve got beginners throwing wildly keep an eye on that stick or you might regret it!)

5. Be quick, don’t linger, never go back

A fair amount of players, once the first doll has come off throw with a rhythm – this can end badly if you decide to go back to centre the doll. Leave it. I know players who begin to throw as soon as they see the doll touch the swivel.

6. There are 2 of you sticking up so ask their opinion

It sounds controversial but why not ask the other person what they think. If the stick has clipped the doll on the other side then they are best placed to say yes or no. Not everyone likes to call but they should be able to tell a doll.

A personal pet hate of mine is a Caller who won’t move and expects the other person to do all the work. I mean it’s not difficult to do even if they just throw the doll to the other person to place it on the swivel.

Another is people who get aggressive when a call has gone against them that they thought was a doll. I’ve lost matches for the same reason and have never given it another thought. We play for fun, if it’s that big a deal for you maybe you should try something that doesn’t involve humans because we are all fallible.

We all make mistakes so you shouldn’t be afraid of getting it wrong. I do occasionally. You find people who complain loudest are the people who refuse to call or are worst at it.

And finally as is the case with everything it’s practice that makes you better. So when the Captain is asking for a Caller and Sticker up why not volunteer instead of waiting to be nominated or worse still, not going at all.


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