Rollin' n' Sscorin': An Introduction to Bocce


Are you tired of the usual ping pong game during weekends? Are you fond of bowling, but wish there is another ball-rolling game you can enjoy?

If your answer to all these questions is "yes," then you should try the simple (yet exciting) game of bocce!

Bocce Defined

Bocce Ball Defined

First of all, what exactly is bocce?

Bocce is a famous Italian game which is quite similar to bowling, but not so much. Both sports involve rolling a heavy ball to their respective targets, but while a bowling ball's objective is to hit the pins, a bocce ball's goal is just to be as near to the target as possible.

A bocce game consists of nine balls in total--- eight colored ones and a smaller white ball, which is the target (called jack or pallino/pallina)--- and is usually played in a long lawn court. The objective of this game is to get your team's balls as close to the pallino as possible, without necessarily touching or knocking it over (although that is permitted).


Bocceball Origin

Some of the early evidences of bocce are:

Nobody knows the exact date when this game began to capture people's attention, but one thing is for certain: the sport of bocce has--- and still is--- been one of the most exciting and entertaining games that people spent their time on.

Name Schname

Bocceball Name

The international (and most popular) term for this game is "bocce," although in some places, the sport is called in various names:

The Bocce Essentials

Bocceball Essentials

To participate in this simple and fun sport, you need to have the following:


Bocceball Court

Although bocce can be easily played in an open space, a defined court is still advisable if you wish to enjoy this sport.

The standard size for a regulation court is 13 feet wide and 90 feet long (both maximum). However, any rectangular court will suffice, as long as its measurements are the same. Some courts also have a raised barrier, which measure about 20 centimeters high (maximum).

A bocce court floor can be anything that is not jagged or uneven, so there will not be any problems when rolling the balls. Most courts have a short grass floor, while others have smooth sand, dirt, or carpet.

Same with other games, there should also be a separator between the player and the playing area when participating in a game of bocce. A foul line should be present---this marks the area in which players are not supposed to step or cross.


Bocce Ball

As mentioned earlier, the game of bocce needs nine balls in total: eight for the players (bocce balls) and one white ball which is smaller than the others (jack)

Usually, there are four green balls and four red balls in one set, which differ in size and weight. A regulation-sized bocce ball measures 4.2 inches and weighs about 920 grams.

Most bocce balls (including those which are used for tournaments) are made of hard plastic, just like billiard balls and bowling balls. This kind of material gives them the hardness and heaviness they should have, without compromising the quality and being a little too heavy for players. However, there are bocce balls made of wood, metal, or stone, but these are considered as the cheap ones.

Bocce Rules

Bocceball Rules

In the magnificent game of bocce, you will gain points as long as your team's ball (or balls) is near to the jack--- this is the only thing you have to remember. However, this will not be easy… especially if the distance is long and the ball is heavy.

This game, in all honesty, is very simple and easy to play. However, if you are going to view it with competitive eyes, please take the following rules and reminders seriously:

Flip that Coin

Bocceball Court

To start the game, a coin must be tossed to determine which team (or player, if playing singles) will go first. Whoever wins the toss coin will throw the jack to the court and be the first ones to throw their bocce ball.


Remember: the jack should be thrown into a zone 16 feet, which ends 8 feet from the end board of the bocce court. In short, it should be far enough to be challenging BUT not too far to touch the corners.

If the team who got the chance to throw the jack first failed to position it in the prescribed zone (at least past the middle of the court), the other team will be given the opportunity to throw it and play first, instead.

The Nearer, The Better

Bocceball Rules

Since the goal of the game is to have your team's balls as close to the jack as possible, your main action should be to throw your bocce balls with careful precision and just the right amount of distance.

In a bocce game (especially the kind with open rules), a player is allowed to execute the following moves:

Hit the jack

However you throw the ball, it is alright to hit the jack itself for the intention of moving it towards your desired position. If you have already thrown most of your bocce balls, but they are still far from the jack, you can deliberately hit the jack so it will roll towards the area where your bocce balls are.

Hit the opponent's' ball(s)

Yes, you are also allowed to hit your opponents' ball (or balls) for the intention of acquiring their point (or points) for your team. This is also called "spocking." This will be effective if, for example, the bocce ball of the opposing team is so near to the jack. You can hit that ball and make it roll elsewhere, deliberately taking their spot AND their point.

Throw any way you want

In a leisurely game of bocce, a player is allowed to throw his/her ball however he/she sees fit--- rolling, bouncing, banking--- just as long as it does not violate the foul markers.


Bocceball Scoring

In bocce, scores are determined by measuring the closest ball(s) to the jack. Each nearest ball is awarded one point. Here are some of the rules in scoring:

Roll On!

Bocce is a game that never disappoints. It does not involve any complicated rules (well, at least for leisurely games), is very easy to play, and is so engaging. It is definitely perfect for lazy weekend afternoon with close friends.

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