Bocce Ball Rules

After talk about the Shuffleboard rules ,what about Bocce Ball rules.  Before to explore it, it’s a good idea to have a look at the origin of this really traditional and popular sport. In the Hispanic speaking countries Bocce Ball is called ‘Bocha”, in Italy where the sport came from originally, its name is “Boccia” and also “Volo”(in English “flight”), referring to the way of throwing the ball intending to strike away the opponents ball, and in France is known as “Boule Lyonnaise.”

Bocce Ball

Some have said that the ancient Egyptians, Romans Greeks and also the Phoenicians played a kind of sport similar to Bocce Ball, in which soldiers spent their free time playing with rocks. Nevertheless Bocce as we know it now is originated in France in the Lyon area and in Italy near Torino.

Bocce Ball is not only really popular in Europe but also in countries and continents which sheltered numerous amounts of European Immigrants, like North and South America and Australia, where the sport became increasingly popular between their descendants and the broader public.

Another area were Bocce ball is quite widespread is in the Balkans, where can be frequently seen in countries like Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.

What is Bocce Ball?

Bocce is a sport that is played on a natural ground, in which the objective of the game is to roll the balls closer to the jack (pallino) ball than the rival.

The balls can be made of various plastic materials, but traditionally has been made of metal. The game can be played in individual competition or in team format.

How to play Bocce ball?

The traditional dimensions of a Bocce ball court is 90 ft. in length x 8.2 to 13.1 ft. wide.

After the beginner of the game has been chosen randomly, the game is started by the designated player throwing the jack to an area that is 16 ft. far from the thrower and 8.2 ft. from the end of the court.

In case that the thrower fails two times, their opponents will have the chance to choose the place in which they put the “Palino”,but only in the predestined zone.

Once the side that places the jack has done it, they have the turn to bowl, and after them have played, arrive the other side turn. After, both sides have bowled; the turn is always for the side that doesn’t have the closest ball to the “palino”, until 1 of the sides has use its 4 balls. Then the opponents throw the balls that have left.

Bocce Ball Scoring

In each frame, the side that gets the closest ball to the jack is the only side to receive points. For each ball that is closer to the jack than the other side, the winning time receives 1 point. The duration of the games vary, but normally is between seven and thirteen.

Boules Games

PictureSportEquipmentRolled or TrowOrigin
BocceBalls and JackRollAncient Rome
BocciaBall and jackThrow or RollDenmark
BowlsWood and KittyRollEngland
Bocce VoloBocce and PalinoThrowItaly
PétanqueBoules and

Bocce Volo

The Italians call it “Volo” (flight), because the toss is executed by flying the “Bocce” (bowll) in the air, in order to hit a rival ball away.

The game differs from the regular Bocce ball, because the flying throwing technique, and also because is done using a metal bowl with the palm in down position.

The “Volo” is similar to Petanque in the sense that in both games the ball is thrown, but they differ each other because in Petanque, the throw is performed in a fixed area, and in Volo the player completes a run up previous to the throw.


The sport is part of the Paralympic set of sports from 1984, and now is practiced all over the world at all levels; International, national and local.

Boccia is a sport especially intended to be played by persons with incapacities, and is practiced in a surface of 41 ft. x 19 ft. with an empty surroundings of 6.5 ft.

The area where the throws are executed is formed by 6 rectangles where the players must stay during the play. To be valid the jack must overpass a V shaped line that is on the playing surface. If the throws are performed illegally or out of time the dead balls are stored in a special dedicated container that is located in the opposite side of the playing ground.

In case that the jack crosses the limit of the court, or it is necessary to break a tie, the small ball it will be located in a cross that is especially marked.

With a size a little larger than a tennis ball, the balls are made from leather and measure approx. 11 inches in their circumference and weight approx. 10 oz.


Bowls is a “roll” sport that consist in bowl a ball with the intention of get it the nearest possible to another smaller ball called the kitty.

The bowling green in which is played can be uneven for “crown green bowls” or flat for “flat green bowls” and the traditional way of play it is outdoor using a natural surface, cotula or synthetical turf.

Bowls can be played in singles, doubles, triples and in fours, and the surface in which is played is a rectangular bowling green separated in 2 rinks (parallel strips) which is could be made from an artificial material or more common natural grass.

In individual games they start tossing a coin who to see who is the player that win the mat allowing him to start the first end(section), bowling the Jack to the opposite extreme of the court, where is going to be the objective. Then the jack is aligned to the middle of the strip, and the bowlers change turns to make their move to get to the jack.


The Boulodromes are the specific places in which the sport is played, and even the most common surface that is used is gravel and hard soil, the game can be seen played in other surfaces like for example sand, on the beaches of Nice.

Antecedents show that the game played in actual form was first seen played in the commune of La Ciotat in Provence at the beginning of the 20th century.

This is a very local sport and is mostly played in France and its ex colonies. The game expanded from Provence to other areas of France quite quickly and from there to another places in the world.

Official data from the Petanque Federation shows that the game is played at least by 300.000 members only in France, but the game is played profusely in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and several African countries that have strong French cultural influence.  Even in other countries in Europe its strong presence has made necessary the creation of strong Federations, and good examples are  the Federations of Germany, England and Spain.


As we have seen Bocce ball rules are not difficult to understand and are similar to other bowls games that are played in many countries in the world.The fact that mainly have influence from European games that were known from long time ago,makes this game multicultural,and its attractiveness is display in the growing number of persons that like to play this wonderful game.

Also we have discovered that the variation and number of games that are similar is one of the reasons why they appear in such important instances like for example the Paralympic games or even in programs that are destined to entertain elderly people after their retirement.A good sample of this phenomenon is the huge amount o Cruisers companies that include some kind of court that is reserved to play Boule games  like Shuffleboard.

These kind of games are easy to play , and in many of them the effort that is necessary to play them is not as big that will required an exceptional physical form.

After all the only thing that we have to say is the best moment to start to play this great games is right now so go ahead and start to play.