Bocce is the ultimate ball sport. This entertaining and challenging game allows you and your friends to have fun during hangouts at the park, on the beach or even at home. If you want to impress other players with high-level skills at your next bocce game, continue reading as we explain how to throw a bocce ball like a pro.
A firm grip and stance are necessary for making a great bocce ball throw. You also have to determine the most suitable technique for the throw you’re trying to pull off. Here, we’ll analyze various techniques and strategies that can help you play bocce ball like a pro.
The primary aim in bocce is to get your ball closest to the pallino (small white ball). You can achieve this by rolling your ball toward the target ball or knocking your opponent’s bocce ball out of the way. Here we’ll analyze the various grips, stances and throw types that pro players practice in bocce ball.
Getting a proper grip on the ball is the first step to throwing the bocce ball properly. There are two grip options:
- Palm up grip
- Palm down grip
Palm Up: Several professional bocce ball players use the palm up grip style when throwing the ball. It entails holding the ball with your palm facing upward and rolling it toward the target.
Palm Down: The palm down style is another grip style worth trying. It involves throwing the ball with your palm facing the ground.
Tip: Ensure that you spread your fingers around the ball when gripping so you have a good control of it before throwing it.
The Right Stance
You should pay extra attention to your throwing stance, as a solid stance can help improve your throwing accuracy or force. Some players prefer to throw while standing up, but others may bend forward a little, similar to a bowling stance.
Regardless of what stance you choose, here are some tips to help you throw better:
- If you’re standing, put your foot forward on the same side as your throwing arm. For example, put your right foot forward if you’re throwing with your right arm. If you’re crouching, however, put your opposite foot forward.
- Shift your body weight toward the front foot to generate momentum.
- Ensure that your feet are shoulder-width apart.
There are three types of throws that professional players practice in bocce.
Punto: Punto throws require you to hold the ball in the palm up grip. You step up to the line and roll the ball gently, aiming for it to land close to the pallino ball.
Raffa: A raffa throw is a palm down throw that you can use to knock your opponent’s ball away from the pallino. It involves putting a backspin on the ball so it stops after hitting your opponent’s ball.
Volo: The volo is slightly different from the raffa throw. You have to throw the ball up with a lot of power and add a backspin. You can use the volo throw to knock other balls away or move the pallino.
Take some time to learn the bocce ball rules ahead of your next game.
Develop A Strategy
Now that you know various types of throws, grips and stances, it’s time to develop a winning strategy. When it’s your turn, take some time to assess the court and determine the most suitable strategy. Here are some throw strategies to consider:
Blocking is a defensive tactic that you can use to prevent your opponent’s balls from getting close to the pallino. You can do this by surrounding the pallino with your bocce balls.
Note: Blocking is most effective when you’re the first player to throw.
Banking is an offensive strategy that you can use to overcome an opponent’s block. You have to hit your ball against the wall in such a way that it bounces off the court’s wall and bypasses your opponent’s bocce balls.
With the bumping technique, you aim to hit the pallino with your bocce ball to move it to your preferred position.
Tip: You can use this strategy on your last turn to move the pallino closer to your bocce balls.
Type Of Playing Surface
The playing surface of bocce ball courts can be made from various materials, including:
- Rubber Composite
Every surface type affects the bocce ball in its own way. Understanding how the surface will affect your throw makes it easier for you to predict where the ball will go. The court size for a professional bocce game is 91 feet by 13 feet (27.7 x 3.9 m) and you can choose a preferred material for the playing surface.
Here are some factors to note about some of the most common bocce ball court surfaces:
- Concrete and asphalt surfaces do not affect the direction of the ball as they’re both smooth surfaces.
- Grass and sand surfaces may slow the speed of the ball, so ensure you use some extra force.
- When playing on grass and gravel surfaces, your bocce ball may hit a bump and roll in a different direction.
You can visit our blog to learn more about the bocce ball court size.
Top Tips For Mastering The Game Of Bocce
Here are some tips that can help you excel when playing bocce with an opponent or your friend:
Bocce is a casual game and one of the primary aims of playing it is for you to have fun. Stay calm and don’t be too eager to impress.
You Don’t Know Jack
Your first play involves tossing the pallino or jack. This is a small white ball that serves as the bullseye. Throw the ball far away down the court, making it difficult for everyone to target it. Then, you can use subsequent throws to block the jack, preventing opponents from getting close to it.
Get In Your Victory Stance
Feel free to take the most comfortable stance before throwing. While some players may prefer to stand, others like to crouch.
Give Yourself A Hand
Pay great attention to your grip. Surround the bocce ball with your thumb and index finger, similar to a baseball ball palm grip.
Be A Spin Doctor
Aim to spin the bocce ball so it can bypass your opponent’s ball and get close to the pallino.
Note: You can get more spin on the ball with a palm down throw.
Bowl Them Over
Use the bowling throw technique for more accuracy. Move your hand like a pendulum, keep your body balanced and don’t shake your head before throwing.
Frequently Asked Questions
The proper way to throw a bocce ball is by employing the punto, raffa or volo technique. You can use a raffa throw when attempting to knock your opponent’s bocce ball from the pallino. The punto throw helps you land your ball close to the pallino. Finally, you can use the volo to knock the pallino or other balls from their position.
You can roll or toss a bocce ball, depending on your preferred throwing technique. When making a punto throw, gently roll the ball so it lands very close to the pallino. In the case of a raffa or volo throw, you toss the bocce ball in a palm down grip so it hits the target ball.
You stand behind the fault line to throw a bocce ball. The fault line is usually 10 ft (3 m) away from the baseboard. You can stand at any distance behind the fault line, but ensure that your foot isn’t on the line when throwing the ball. In friendly games, you can reduce the distance of the fault line to make the game easier.
Who throws first in bocce ball is decided by a coin toss or a game of “rock paper scissors”. The winner of the coin toss chooses which side of the court to start playing from and also throws the pallino ball. The team that throws the pallino always throws the bocce ball first.
You can’t be a great bocce ball player if you don’t know how to throw a bocce ball. Whether you play casually or you’re hoping to become a professional, the tips in this article will help you improve your game. Don’t forget that a good grip and stance are the most critical elements of a great bocce ball throw.