Boccia is a form of boules quite similar to petanque. But contrary to petanque, boccia is primarily played indoors.
Boccia is a technical and strategic precision sport with the objective of placing one’s own balls as close to the target ball, called the jack, as possible and simultaneously keeping the opponent from scoring by shooting their balls away from the jack.
A set of boccia consists of 6 red and 6 blue boccia balls, as well as a white jack ball. Each ball has a circumference of 270 mm and weighs approximately 275 g.
Many different people benefit greatly from playing boccia. It is a sport everyone can take part and acquire new skills in.
Boccia is a Paralympic sport, but it is also a very popular non-elite mass participation sport. It is said that boccia is the fastest growing sport in the world!
Like a true grassroot sport, boccia sprang up from the bottom. In 1968, a couple of Danish para-sports clubs came up with the idea of playing indoors boccia with homemade boccia balls, and their enthusiasm about the game inspired others to participate.
The sport of boccia grew slowly, but steadily, and it spread to several other countries. In 1998, boccia became a Paralympic sport for the most motorically challenged disabled people.
Today, the sport of boccia is organised by BISFed, Boccia International Sports Federation, that has 62 member countries.
Simple Boccia Rules
- Two teams play against each other. One plays against one, two against two or three against three.
- If desired, you can add the rule that the players have to sit down while shooting. Otherwise, you can let the players decide themselves whether they want to play sitting or standing.
- The dimensions of an official boccia court is 6x10 meter, but a 3x5 court can work as well – simply use the space available! You can choose to mark the starting line or the entire circumference of the court with tape.
- One team plays with the red balls, the other plays with the blue balls. The players are sitting or standing next to each other facing the starting line.
- The game beings: Team Red beings by throwing the white jack ball onto the court. Then, Team Red throws a red ball, trying to place it as close to the jack as possible.
- Then Team Blue throws one or more balls, attempting to place one of their balls close to the jack ball. When a blue ball is closest to the jack ball, or when Team Blue is out of balls, the turn reverts to Team Red.
- If the jack is pushed out of court, it is reinserted into the middle of the court. If desired, you can mark the middle with a cross. The game then continues.
- When all balls have been thrown, the round is over.
- Counting points: The team whose ball is closest to the jack has won. 1 point is given for each ball closer to the jack than the opponent’s closest ball. Minimum points per round is 1, maximum points is 6. If there is a tie – e.g. if both a red and a blue ball is touching the jack – both teams are given 1 point.
- In the next round, Team Blue starts the game by throwing the jack onto the court.
- A boccia match consists of four rounds (called ends in the official rules).
- For a quicker and simpler game, you can choose to let red and blue alternate throws.
Read the official boccia rules on BISFed’s homepage: www.bisfed.com