Bocce Ball Information

Insider Info

dotBocce is a lawn sport similar to bowling. Long enjoyed in countries like Italy and Greece, bocce has found new fans in North America.

Played on a grassy court, the object is to roll your bocce (a four-pound ball which is four inches in diameter) closest to the pallino (a small clay ball). The pallino is also called the jack ball. Bocce requires little equipment, but lots of skill. So get set for a bocce bonanza!

dotBocce is thought to have been first played in ancient Egypt. It is similar to English lawn bowling or the French game called boules. Traditionally, bocce includes smoking cigars, drinking wine and moves that are more finesse than power. According to the Best Bocce Links Anywhere Web site, bocce (and its variations) is the third most-played sport in the world.

Bryan Mero is a bocce enthusiast from northern California. He says he sees a few "typical" types of players.

"First is the young at heart, older ladies and gentlemen that have played for decades and can teach you a thing or two," he says. "Newcomers are anyone who has played the sport less than 10 years, and rookies are anyone who has played less than two years."

dotPeople of all levels of physical ability can play bocce. Maxine Clarke is the sports technical coordinator for a sports association for the disabled. She has seen many disabled athletes play the game.

"As long as the athlete releases the ball somehow, the attendant may place the athlete's hand on the ball. Some athletes release the ball from under the chin. The accuracy is phenomenal. There are some athletes who use their feet to propel the ball instead of their hands. To make an even playing ground, athletes are classified into different categories according to their ability."

dotIf you try bocce and find you like it, here are some related jobs:

Sports coordinator for the disabled: organize tournaments and teams on a local, national or international level. This would be a good match for someone who enjoys working with people and also enjoys bocce and other sports.

Activity director: Because bocce is a game that senior citizens often enjoy, becoming an activity director at a retirement home might be an option. You would be able to arrange tournaments in bocce, as well as plan and deliver other recreational activities.

Salesperson: Selling sets of bocce balls, as well as other sports equipment, could be something to consider if you like dealing with the public and are knowledgeable about different products.

Getting Started

dotTo play the game, you will need a set of bocce balls. You can buy the equipment in large department stores, sports stores, by mail order or over the Internet. An inexpensive set will sell for about $40 and a high-quality set will cost you about $120. Shop around the classified section of your local paper or visit some yard sales to maybe get an even better deal.

The game can be played on official courts. Or a game can spring up where there are interested people and an open space. Family picnics or trips to the cottage, beach or park can often trigger a game of bocce.

dotIf you want to know the rules, you can always ask another player or read up on them in a book or on the Internet.

Basically, the object is to get your team's balls closest to the pallino, which is thrown before any other balls. When each team has thrown their four balls, the play moves on to the next frame, in which the pallino has to be tossed again. Teams normally consist of two to four players on a side, but can be larger. Play continues until an agreed amount of points, usually 12, is reached.

Keep in mind, this is a very basic description. Don't worry though, players will tell you that the rules are few and quite easy to learn.

dotAside from the formal rules, each club or team will expect proper conduct and courtesy from their players. Team captains are responsible for the actions of their players. You are not to use profanity while playing. When played on official courts, players wear white suits.

Mero suggests new players concentrate on rolling the ball, not throwing it. He says that listening to more experienced players is the best way to learn. If you think that you would like to watch bocce before you try it, go right ahead! This is a great way to learn, and to introduce yourself to some potential teammates.


World Bocce Association


Bocce Ball Rules
A good background on the sport

BAM's Bocce Page
Includes pictures