Bocce balls. The word alone takes us back to a better and simpler time. Playing bocce on the weekends with good company and cold beers was the real deal. Sadly, we don’t see that many people, especially the kids, playing bocce anymore today. It is SOOOO easy, a super social, relaxing and fun game. Why not give it shot? Definitely something you should try with your friends and family this weekend! And to help introduce you to this fantastic sport, we are going to teach you How to play Bocce ball!
You are going to thank us for this one. We promise. Let’s start!
The History of Bocce Ball
Before we dive into the details, we think, it is only fair that we learn a little bit about the origins of this game. Bocce, pronounced bo-chee, is also called bocci or bocchie. This game, as fun as it is, dates back to some time. It is one of the oldest games, in fact! Bocce is said to have been invented and emerged in Ancient Egypt but is said to have became and made popular by the Romans and Emperor Augustus. And If the Romans loved it, you know it’s got to be good, right?
Fast forward to the modern times, Bocce is now the game of the Italians! This fun, interactive sport is a staple, till now, in the streets of Italy. Everyone from the kids to the teenagers, and to old men and women can be seen enjoying Bocce over some wine and cigars in the afternoon. It is only at the turn of the 20th century, that the game gained immense popularity among people thanks to the massive influx of Italian immigrants into the US. Yet another great Italian imports alongside calzones and pizza. Thanks, Italy!
Fun fact: The word Bocce originates from the Italian word “boccia” which means ball!
Learning How to Play Bocce Ball
Enough of that. Now, let’s get to the most important part. And that is learning the ways around a game of bocce. We’d like to start off by saying right of the bat that bocce is very simple and easy to understand and play. It is a game for all age groups, and even a toddler can play it! So, how do we do it?
Alright. In the game of bocce, you will have 8 balls of 2 different colors, usually green and red. 4 balls belong to one player, and the remaining 4 to the other. There is one smaller white ball, called the pallino (or jack), which plays a very significant role.
The next thing you’ll need is a court is play on. The court is a plain, open strip of land, usually outdoors, in which you play bocce in. and the measurements, although not mandatory, are 13 by 19 feet (standard). You can obviously play in a court that isn’t the standard size, of course. Many people, in fact, make makeshift and rough courts out of wooden planks, chalk outlines, etc. More on courts laters so stay tuned.
Now, mind you, this game can be played in teams or groups, or as individuals competing against each other. If you play as a team, you can gather as many as 4 players, in total. This is so that the number of players does not outnumber the balls. 5 players in team with 4 bocche balls don’t add up, right? You must make sure that everyone gets a chance to throw the ball. On the other hand, if you play individually, you get to throw all the 4 balls!
Rules of Bocce Ball
Concept of The Game
- The rules that make up the game of bocce are as simple as it gets. You begin by deciding the first team, or person, to throw the jack ball into the court. You can decide for yourself, or let a coin toss decide it for you. Fair and square.
- Next, after the jack in thrown almost halfway into the court, the game finally begins!
- The distance at which the jack of the game is thrown into the court will decide everything. The idea is that that each of your bocce ball must be thrown as close to the jack ball as possible. And that’s it! That’s the game!
Having said that, it is easier said than done. And this requires lot of spatial reasoning, patience and control. You should be able to manipulate your throwing force at all times. Throw too lightly, and your bocce ball won’t go as far. Throw with too much force, and it will slide far too much. You must make sure that your bocce ball is closest to the jack than your opponent’s. It shouldn’t be behind or surpass the jack. The team with the most bocce balls closest to the jack wins! Players use many techniques like blocking and banking in order to ensure that their bocche balls are the closest to the jack.
Note: You can take turns by throwing 1 bocce ball from each team. Or, if you want, you can throw all your 4 balls at once, and then let your opponent throw all theirs. And then, finally, give point accordingly. We will discuss the scoring process in a bit.
Some Common Bocce Techniques
Blocking, as the name suggest, involves blocking the jack or creating a barrier around the jack so that the opponent’s bocce ball cannot reach it.
Banking involves hitting the bocce ball on the sides of the court to create an angle so that your bocce reaches the jack at a diagonal.
How to Make a Bocce Ball Court?
Ideally, the standard and professional bocce ball courts are made outdoors and on plain, level land. The texture or surface of the court is usually grassy, but many people prefer playing on sandy surfaces as well. The standard court size is 13 feet wide and 90 feet long, maximum.
To make one, you may first and foremost want to begin by gathering resources. You will need some wooden planks (metal or plastics will do too), you will need a drill machine, a few screws and a chalk (or any sort of marker).
Try and find a plain, level strip of land. Preferably on your front or backyard. Begin by creating an outline and perimeter of the court as per the standard measurements. Then, drill the ends together. With chalk or marker, mark a foul line. A foul line is a line beyond which players cannot step as they bowl the bocce ball at the jack. That’s it. Your bocce ball court is ready.
Now, keep in mind that you can always tweak a few things here and there as long as it doesn’t change of effect the game. You could make the court longer or shorter, narrower or wider, and even make it on an uneven piece of land. This would make the game a tad bit more challenging and interesting, don’t you think? You could even play indoors, but it is frowned upon by the moms.
Portable Bocce Ball Court
The toys’ section is teeming with bocce ball court. And we are not ashamed to say that purchasing one is heaps easier than building one. Portable bocce ball courts are portable by all means. They fold down, can be assembled and disassembled in no time, and travel well too.
What Kind of Bocce Ball Should You Get?
The type of bocce ball to get is a wide and vast arena. And we honestly don’t want to scramble your brains this hour of the day. So we are going to keep it very straightforward and simple!
Type of Learner
All the 8 bocce balls of your set should be of the same size and weight. Absolutely identical, no buts. These are usually made out of hard plastic composite materials, and come in various weights and sizes. We recommend smaller and more lightweight ones for kids or beginners. These are easier to hold and offer good speed and distance coverage. Great way to boost some confidence before heading on to the heavier one. Speaking of which, we recommend the heavier bocce balls for experts and pros.
Bocce balls, overall, are pretty affordable if not cheap. You could easily get your hands on sets as cheap as 30 dollars, or less! But don’t forget, cheap price gets you cheap performance most of the time. They break and crack easily, and don’t have a proper balance to them. Great for children to practice with. On the other hand, you have your more expensive bocce balls which could cost as much as $100, or more. These are some serious stuff. Made pros and people who know their game. Most of the time, this type of balls are very high quality and offer as equally high performance. For people, who are looking for something proper quality but not too expensive either, you could look into medium expensive bocce balls which you should get at around $50 to $70.
What Size of Bocce Balls Should You Get?
The size of bocce ball to get depends entirely on your level of expertise and comfort. The standard size calls for balls that are 107mm in diameter. And tournament grade bocce balls call for measurements that are 100mm to 115mm. As for the weight, each ball should be around 920 grams or 2 pounds. As for the jack, or pallino, the tournament size calls for 40mm to 60mm in diameter. And the international standard size calls for a diameter of 40mm. Keep in mind that the size of the jack isn’t all that important, and shouldn’t bother you too much. It is the bocce balls you need to look into more carefully.
For kids, you have special bocce ball sets that are smaller and more lightweight.
Read our details review of the best bocce ball sets available in the market for a clearer picture.
How Do You Keep Score in Bocce Ball?
Remember the concept of the game? All you have to make sure to win is to throw your bocce ball as close you the jack as possible. That’s it. And calculating the scores and points is pretty darn easy as well.
Score-keeping Method 1
If you are taking turns to throw bocce balls from each team, then use this method. The bocce ball that’s closest to the jack after the first shot from both teams earns 1 point. In this method, you will have to keep tabs and update the scoreboard after each shot from both the teams. Having a clipboard and paper and pencil at hand is a great idea. You can have one of your friends of teammates take care of the scorekeeping while you play.
Score-keeping Method 2
This method of scorekeeping is for when you play all your bocce balls at once. After both you and your opponent team finish throwing all 8 bocce balls at the jack, the game stops. And now begins the evaluation. Walk carefully towards the bocce balls and inspect the results. Once again, the bocce balls closest to the jack wins. This method is faster and doesn’t need constant updating.
Say, if 2 of your bocce balls are closest to the jack. But then, the 3rd closest is your opponent’s. How do we score that? In this case, you will earn yourself and your team points up to the number of bocce balls preceding your opponent’s bocce ball. If the 1st and 2nd balls are yours and the 3rd is your opponent’s, then you get 2 points!
And there you have it, folks. Bocce ball and all you need to know about it in a nutshell! Bocce is an amazing, fun and social game. It is, at the same time, very complex and demands a lot of control and patience. It is a fantastic game and we can’t wait for you to try it! Our article today has covered more or less everything you need to know about this amazing game. We cover the foundations and basics of this sport down to the buying guide for your next bocce ball set. Anything you needed to know, we got it here! We hope you found it useful and informative. You are going to love it, and that’s a promise!
Finally, be sure to learn some bocce ball terminology so you know the game better.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read along with us. We can’t wait to hear more from you soon. See you next time. Cheers!
I’m Lia and I love playing games. I started this site to share things with friends and they encouraged me to post more and now I’m trying to share things with the world – indoor and outdoor sports, and board and bar games. I write about things like Bocce, Croquet, Billiards, Darts and other fun ways to enjoy time with your friends and family!