Ever wondered how the bocce ball game is played with 8 large balls and another smaller one? Like all other sports rules, bocce ball has a wonderfully detailed rules & regulations.
These rules of bocceball precisely define its rules, foul, penalties, skills & necessary equipment to play bocceball game. Scroll down and take the advantage of full free step by step bocce ball rules players Guide.
Bocce Ball Rules | A Complete Players Guide 2021
Bocce ball is one of the oldest bowls games. It emerged in Ancient Rome and was popularized in other parts of the world by Italian immigrants. It is played between two teams on a court that is smaller than that of lawn bowls.
Bocce (ba-chee ) is a an old ball sport that was played by soldiers during the time of Roman Empire. However, the modern version of Bocce ball is highly indebted to Italian immigrants who played it wherever they migrated.
This game requires 9 balls (1 small Pallino, 8 large balls) and two teams of 2 to 8 players who play on any smoothly leveled court.
Being one of the bowls games, Bocce ball resembles lawn bowls, shuffleboard and French pétanque. You can play as singles or as teams.Each team can have either two players or four players. The court of Bocce is generally less bouncy and of varying sizes.
Its standardized size is 90 ft long and 13 ft wide with small sidewalls/boards to prevent the ball from going out.
Its court can be of clay, grass, cement, asphalt, artificial turf, sand or granite.However, it is played on streets, lawns, alleys and beaches as a recreational activity.
The balls used in Bocce, look similar to those of billiards or bowling balls with different sizes. These balls are made of hard plastic, wood, stone or any other substance.
Out of 9 balls, 1 ball, with white or yellow color, is smaller in size and known as “Pallino”.
While the other 8 balls are uniform in size but have two different colors. As per rule, 4 balls are allotted to 1 player or team and the remaining 4 balls are given to other player or team.
If a team has 2 players, each player has 2 balls to throw. In case a team has 4 players, every player has 1 ball to throw.
In Bocce ball, the aim of players is to target Pallino on the surface with 8 large balls (each player/ team has 4 balls).
The players, by turns, attempt to toss their balls to the motionless “Pallino” ,that lies in the middle of the court, so as to make them (their balls) approach the Pallino and stop as near as possible to it.
Once both the players/teams have thrown their 4-4 balls, they count their points with the help of distance marker to avoid dispute.
The points are counted by the nearest balls to the Pallino. The player or team scoring the targeted number of points (12 to 16) before opponent/s, wins the match.
Brief History of Bocce Ball
Bocce ball has a rich history behind. As per historical proofs, the early forms of this game were played in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. However, Italy is credited with the development of modern-day Bocce ball.
This game, as per one story, was a pass time activity of the soldiers of Roman Empire. The soldiers of Roman Empire used to play it during the breaks of tiresome wars.
This game spread for and wide with the efforts of Italian immigrants. Those immigrants would play Bocce ball wherever they traveled.
Thus, this game got impetus and became popular in many parts of the world such as: European, North American, South American and Australian countries.
Bocce ball became part of Paralympics with the efforts of its governing body Fédération Internationale de Boules.
Object of Game
The prime object in this game is to score more points than opposite side. To get points, players of both the teams have to target “Pallino”, a small ball in the middle of the court, with their 4-4 large balls by throwing or tossing carefully.
The large balls, after being thrown to the targeted ball (Pallino), have to reach as near as possible to Pallino or touch it for getting points.
As soon as all the 8 balls have been thrown, the points are counted with the balls that are nearest to the Pallino.
If team A’s balls are nearer to Pallino but team B’s balls are away, team A gets points as per the number of its balls. If team A has 1 ball and team B has 3 balls near to the Pallino, team A gets 1 point and team B gets 3 points.
Equipment Needed For Bocce Ball
For playing Bocce ball you need 9 round balls in total. These balls are identical to those of lawn bowls but without inbuilt bias.
They are made of different material such as: wood, plastic, stone, baked clay, marble or any such strong-cum-heavy substance.
Among these 9 balls, 1 ball is of white or yellow color and is smaller in size than rest of the balls. This little target ball is known as Pallino in Italian and Jack in English. While the other 8 balls are in uniformly large size and are called “Boccia”.
Among these 8 balls, 4 balls are of one color and the other 4 balls are of other color. For instance, 4 balls have green color and 4 balls have red color. Each player or team possesses 4 balls of the same color.
Rules of Bocce Ball Game
Bocce ball is considerably simple and less demanding. All you need is to hold the balls and toss them properly. It follows the playing pattern of other bowls games but has different rules. The rules of Bocce ball are as follows:
Rule #1. Bocce Ball Court; Prepare the Court to the Right Dimension
The court of recreational Bocce game can be your compound, street, alleys, beach, lawn or any other smooth surface that doesn’t cause obstruction for the balls.
However, for the official Bocce game it is recommended to choose wooden, asphalt, cemented, artificial turf or grassy court that includes small borders or boards (sideboards and backboard) to prevent the balls from going out.
Its regulation court is rectangular with 90 ft length and 13 ft width for official games,76 ft length and 13 ft width for club level games and 60 ft length and 12 or 10 ft width for domestic or residential games.
There is one designated line (foul line or point line)that is 10 ft from each throwing end of the court for players to throw their balls while being inside this line. They cannot step ahead before throwing boccia to the Pallino.
There is another line known as “shooting line” that is designated for the throws when players attempt to knock or spock their opponents’ boccia. In addition to these lines, there is a center line that is in the halfway between the court.
The Pallinoas well as boccia should cross this center line to be legal. It’s considered foul when large balls fail to cross the center line or cross the Pallino without touching it and go ahead to hit the backboard or go out of the court.
Rule #2. Team Composition: Number of Players
You can play Bocce with your only friend or you can even involve up to 8 players. In a game of 1 vs 1, each player has 4 balls in his possession. Whereas, in a game of 2 vs 2, each player has 2 balls to throw.
And in case each team has 4 players, every player has only one ball to throw towards the Pallino. The players have to throw their balls turn wise. Once all the balls have been thrown to the targeted Pallino, points are counted with the nearest balls to the Pallino.
Rule #3. Game duration Rules
There is no specific time frame for a Bocce Ball match to end. It can last for an hour. A match of Bocce ball depends on scoring a targeted number of points that is either 12 to 16. Generally, players, organizations or officials determine the winning target.
Some of them follow 12 points method and some even extend it to 16 points.However, to reach either of the targets take a fair amount of time.
A player/team can score maximum of 4 points in one frame and a match may comprise of at least 3 frames when a player/team manages to score 4 points in each frame.
The number of frames may also increase until either player/team reaches the winning target. As the number of frames increases, so does the time.
Rule #4. Scoring System Rules
To score points, the players of both the sides have to throw their balls so as make them reach close to the Pallino. They also try to knock their opponents’ bocce balls or the Pallino to turn the tide in their favor.
Because, the score is counted after all the balls have been thrown and taken their final position.
After throwing all the balls, the player/team whose balls are closer to the Pallino, scores more points than the player/team whose balls are farther.
To determine accurate distance, the referee uses distance marker in the presence of 2 opposing players/captains.
Generally, the first 4 nearest balls to the Pallino are taken into account for scoring. Each bocce ball offers 1 point to its owner. In case the ball is touching the Pallino, it offers 2 points (known asbaci or kiss).
After one frame ends with the finalization of points, a fresh frame starts in the same fashion. The one who leads the first frame starts the second frame by throwing the Pallino first and then his bocce ball.
To win a match, a player or team has to score 12 or 16 points and lead opponent/s by 2 clear points.
To reach this target, players/teams may play as many frames as needed to declare the winner. In case both the players or teams have scored equal points, the one scoring 2 extra points wins the match.
Rule #5. Playing Bocce Ball; Step by Step Guide
Playing Bocce ball is simple yet strategic. Due to its being relatively easy, it can be played by any age group ranging from kids to dotage.
Let’s learn how to play Bocce ball.
First of all, arrange 9 balls (1 small white/yellow colored Pallino and 8 large boccia/balls, each 4 boccia should have different color), 2 players for 1 vs 1 game or two teams of either 2-2 players or 4-4 players in each side. Coupled with that, find any smoothly flat and plainly even surface for your court.
The surface of the court can be grassy, cemented, wooden or artificial turf. The court can be of varying sizes that range from 60 by 10 ft to 90 by 13 ft.
After you have fulfilled all the above mentioned requirements and divided 4 balls of one color between two teams, go for the toss to decide who is to serve first. For the proceedings of toss, elect 1 captain from each team of 2 to 4 players.
If there are only 2 players, they are supposed to be captains.Both the captains should go for the toss to decide the winner.
The captain of the toss winning team may decide to serve first or second and can also choose the side of the court for serving. While, the toss losing team can choose the color of the balls.
After the starting team is finalized, make their first player enter the court and stand within the limits of “foul line” of the court. Permit him to throw the target ball (small white ball) known as “Pallino” towards his opposite direction.
After throwing the Pallino, he must wait until it takes its final position. The Pallino must cross the centre line and can go near the backboard but it must be at least 12 inches away from the backboard or sideboards.
Now, the same player should throw/toss his larger ball/boccia to target the Pallino and make it reach as close to the Pallino as possible.
His large ball should not hit the backboard without touching the Pallino. If it does, it turns dead and hence removed from the court without taking into account.
Once a team throws its bocce and it reaches near the Pallino, the other team has to throw and make their boccia reach closer to the Pallino than opponents’ bocce.
The other team keeps on throwing their boccia until any of them comes closer to the Pallino than opponents’ ball.
The team having closest ball to the Pallino is in good position, while the opposite team tries to take better position by throwing their balls until one of them reaches even closer to the Pallino than that of other team.
In an attempt to outreach each other’s balls, both the teams may throw all their balls.
When all the 8 balls have been thrown and taken their final positions, count the points with the help of distance marker. Start from the closest balls to the Pallino. The first four nearest balls offer 4 points to the teams.
If team A’s 2 balls are adjacent to the Pallino, it gets two points. And if team B’s 2 balls are adjacent to the Pallino, it gets 2 points. Scoring depends solely on the number of closest balls to the Pallino.
When two balls of both the teams are at equal distance from the Pallino, neither team gets a point. Whereas, a team can earn 2 points if its ball is in contact with the Pallino when scoring is determined.
Since the points are counted when all the balls have been thrown and taken positions, you can turn the tide in your favor with your last throw.
When the counting and awarding of points is finalized, it completes the first frame of the match. Now the players should take all the balls from the court and restart a new frame of the game with the same manner. Each new frame should start from other side of the court.
A team can score 4 points in one frame if all of its balls are positioned closer to the Pallino than those of opponents. A team can also score 2 points for its each ball touching the Pallino.
To win a match, players/teams can decide a predetermined number of points. Generally, a Bocce ball match has 12 or 16 points as winning target.
The first team to reach 12 or 16 points and leading the opponent team by 2 clear points wins the match. In case both the teams have scored equal number of points, the first team to score 2 extra points wins the match.
Rule #6. Fouls & Penalties
Let’s check certain fouls and penalties in Bocce ball.
- Players should throw balls underhand.
- Players should not cross the pointing or foul line while throwing their boccia to target the Pallino. However, they can cross this line while their aim is to Spock or hit opponents’ boccia and knock them off.
- The Pallino should cross the center line, that is in the middle of the court, for being legal. If it fails to cross this line, it is thrown again.
- The Pallino should not be in contact with backboard or side boards. It should be at least at 1 ft distance from them.
- Boccia or balls should also cross the center line as Pallino. They should not touch backboard directly. If they do, they are considered dead and are simply removed from the court.
- However, they remain part of game if they touch Pallino or boccia before touching the backboard.
- If any of the large ball goes out of the court, it is deemed dead and removed from the play.
- If a player throws his opponents’ ball (wrong color), this ball is replaced with his ball (correct color) once it takes final position.
- If a player mistakenly plays his opponent’s turn, his ball is removed from the court and his opponent throws the ball.
- A player is not allowed to disturb or confuse his opponent while throwing the ball.
- No player is allowed to reposition his balls with his hands.
- If any ball goes out of the court by any means, is dead.
- Volo shot is not permitted in Bocce ball. It means to directly loft his ball to hit the Pallino or boccia without letting it ground before the center line.
- Every ball must land before center line and it should not fly all the way beyond center line to hit the Pallino or boccia.
Rule #7. Skills, Strategies & Techniques to Play Bocce Ball
Players should apply various tactics to outdo their rivals. These tactics are the basic ingredients of players’ strategies and skills. Let’s find out various ways to outplay opposing players.
1. Throwing Skills
Bocce ball largely depends on throwing skills be it Pallino or boccia. Players have to throw their balls underhand carefully and gently so as to make them reach Pallino.
A wild throw may miss the target and go astray or out of bound. While a fine throw goes straight to the target and positions near the Pallino which results in points.
Therefore, players should be aware of the distance of Pallino and required force to make their balls reach the target.
2. Aiming Target
Aiming the target is equally important in Bocce ball. The players should gently toss their balls so that they should reach the Pallino or spock their opponents’ balls.
It is easy to target the Pallino that is in the middle of the court, but to aim at an awkwardly positioned Pallino requires awesome aiming skills.
If you really want to outperform your opponent, you must improve your aiming skills. Because, these skills can bring seemingly lost game in your favor.
3. Maintaining balance while throwing
When you are properly balanced and in ideal throwing position, your throw goes wherever you target it to. On the other hand, if you are awkwardly balanced, your boccia may not go wherever you want them to. Hence, taking proper position is of vital significance.
8. Frequently Asked Questions
1. Who invented the modern Bocce ball?
The modern Bocce wall is the invention of Italians. It was spread by Italian immigrants globally.
2. What is the meaning of bocce?
The word bocce literally means “bowls”. Because it belongs to the family of boules games.
3. How many balls are used in Bocce ball?
In total, 9 balls are used in Bocce ball. One small ball is called “Pallino”, while the remaining 8 balls are called “Boccia”.
4. What is the color of Pallino?
Pallino generally comes in white or yellow color.
5. What is the color of boccia?
These 8 balls come in two contrasting colors. 4 balls have red color and other 4 balls have green color. They can also be in yellow and blue colors.
6. How many boccia/balls a team can have?
In Bocce ball, each side/team has 4 four boccia/balls.
7. What is Pétanque?
This is the name of a game that is played in the same fashion as other boules games such as: lawn bowls, bocce and raffa.
8. What is pronunciation of Bocce?
The pronunciation of Bocce is ba-chee
9. How to throw a bocce ball?
A bocce ball is thrown underhand.
10. Which ball is considered a baci or kiss in Bocce ball?
When a ball is in contact with the Pallino, it becomes a baci or kiss.
11.How many points do you get as a result of baci?
You get 2 points as a result of baci.
12. Can I hit the backwall or backboard in bocce ball?
Yes, you can provided that your ball touches either Pallino or boccia before hitting the back-wall. If your ball hits the back-wall without touching any other ball, it becomes dead and hence removed.
13. How many players are allowed per team in bocce ball?
You can play with a team of 2 to 4 players. The balls are divided equally between teammates.
14. What is the major difference between bowls and bocce ball balls?
Both the games use similar balls. However, the major difference is inbuilt bias.The balls used in bowls have inbuilt bias that allow the balls to turn while traveling to the jack.
Whereas, the balls used in Bocce ball have no bias or curve. They travel in straight direction towards the Pallino.
15. What is difference between Pallino and Jack?
Both these balls serve the same purpose in two similar boules games. The Pallino is an Italian word for the target ball used in Bocce ball, and the Jack is an English word for the target ball used in Bowls.
Bocce ball game is played between two teams of equal players on a smoothly even court. It uses 9 balls. 1 target ball known as “Pallino” is thrown in the middle of the court first, then both the teams, on alternate turn, toss their large balls known as ”Boccia” to the small ball with the aim to reach as closer to it as possible.
Once all the balls are thrown, the balls that lie close to the Pallino, earn points to the team that owns the balls. Thus, it ends one frame.
Players/teams play new frame in the same way and keep on playing until one team reaches 12 or 16 points; the winning target.
We hope that this article must have assisted you to a great extent.