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How To Play Bocce Ball 2023 – Official Game Rules & Scoring

How To Play Bocce Ball

Bocce is a classic outdoor game that is enjoyed by people of all ages. This Italian game, also known as bocci, is a simple and fun way to spend time with friends and family. If you’re reading this article, it’s because you want to improve your bocce ball skills. In this guide, we’ll show you how to play bocce ball.

You can play in different ways, with slightly different rules and objectives, but the basic principle remains the same: rolling balls as close as possible to a target ball. Keep reading as we go over the rules and setup details of this fun game.

You play bocce ball with eight large balls and one smaller target ball called a “pallino.” Bocce is played between two teams that aim to roll their balls as close as possible to the pallino. Players take turns rolling their balls, trying to score points and defeat the opposing team.

We’ll go over everything you need to know about playing bocce.


You need a bocce ball set to start the game. A bocce ball set consists of eight larger balls and the pallino. The eight balls are shared equally among the two teams. In the official setting, you need a bocce court to play, but you can play casually anywhere you find enough ground to roll the balls. The appropriate court size for a bocce game is 76 feet long and 12 feet wide (23.1 meters long and 3.7 meters wide).


Bocce Ball Objective

The objective of bocce is for you to get your bocce balls as close as possible to the pallino. The team or player with the ball closest to the pallino scores one point. The team that gets the ball closer is awarded points in each round and the game continues until you reach a predetermined number of points. The most common target is 12 or 16 points.

You must try to use strategy, skill and accuracy to place your ball closer to the pallino than your opponent’s balls. The game requires a combination of precision and power, as well as an understanding of the court, the balls and the conditions in which you are playing.

Once the pallino is in play, you can use any of your team’s four balls to knock it around.


The game begins with a coin toss to decide which team throws first. The first team throws the pallino ball towards the opposite end of the playing surface and wherever it lands becomes the target. All players will then take turns standing behind the foul line and throwing the remaining bocce balls. Whoever throws the pallino must be the first to throw their bocce ball. A player from the other team then throws one ball, trying to get it close to the pallino. The game continues this way until both teams have thrown each of their four balls. After both teams have exhausted all their bocce balls, a frame (round) is over and you can calculate which team will be awarded points. The next frame can then begin.


Bocce Ball Scoring

Your team only scores points if you have the closest ball to the pallino, so only one team can score in each new frame. Each of your team’s ball that is closer to the target ball than the nearest ball of the opposing team, scores one point.  If your ball touches the pallino, it is regarded as a “baci” and your team scores two points. If the closest ball from each team is equal distance from the pallino in the court, the game is a tie and neither of the two teams receives a point.

You can use a tape measure to determine which team’s balls are close to the pallino.


 Here are the rules for courted bocce ball games:

  • The game begins with a coin toss to determine which team throws the pallino and the first bocce ball.
  • Throw the pallino underhand from behind the pointing foul line. You can bounce the pallino off the sideboard when you want to throw it.
  • The pallino must cross the center line without colliding with the backboard. If a thrower fails to throw it correctly, the opposing team gets an opportunity to throw.
  • The pallino thrower must throw first.
  • Do not step on or over the foul line before releasing any ball.
  • A ball that strikes the backboard without first making contact with the pallino or another bocce ball is considered a dead ball and you must remove it from play.
  • You are not permitted to loft the ball in the air beyond the center line of the court.

Playing Safely

Take note of these precautions to ensure safety when playing bocce:

  • Stay out of the court when the game is on to avoid being hit by the bocce balls.
  • Closely supervise children that are around the arena.
  • Avoid playing bocce indoors.

Check out the best bocce ball sets.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long a bocce game lasts depends on the predetermined point target. Players from both teams determine the point target before the game starts. Some common point targets for bocce ball games include 9, 11, 12 and 15. On average, a bocce game can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

To play bocce ball well, you must have accurate throwing, a good sense of strategy, knowledge of the rules, good sportsmanship and the ability to work with your team. Practice your aim and plan your shots so you can get your ball as close to the pallino as possible. Also, familiarize yourself with the rules of the game and abide by them.

Bocce is mostly played in recreational settings such as parks, beaches and backyards. In a more professional setting, you can play on a bocce ball court. A bocce court is the playing area for the game of bocce. It is typically a rectangular or oval shaped space that is divided into two equal halves.

A bocce ball is very heavy. Most bocce balls weigh between 2 and 3 pounds (0.9-1.4 kg). They come in different sizes and weights, but the standard weight is around 2.5 pounds (1.1 kg) for a regulation ball. The weight of the ball affects its trajectory and speed, so it is important to choose a weight that is comfortable for you to throw accurately and consistently.

Bocce ball is from Egypt. The game was first documented in a 5200 B.C. painting of two boys playing in an Egyptian tomb. However, the modern form of the game, known as “Italian Bocce,” is most closely associated with Italy and has been a popular pastime there for centuries.


Bocce is a fun and enjoyable game that is suitable for people of all ages and skill levels. When learning how to play bocce ball, it is critical to concentrate on throwing accurately and developing an effective team strategy. You also need to practice regularly and have good knowledge of the game to be successful.

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