Bocce Ball Rules and Regulations
What are the rules for Bocce ball? Bocce ball is a relatively simple game, but it is important to understand the rules in order to enjoy the game to its fullest.
Bocce Ball consists of a predetermined number of frames.
Each frame is complete once all balls have been thrown and all points have been awarded.
Bocce Ball can be played by two, four, or eight players on two teams (one, two, or four players per team). Each team throws four balls per frame.
Frames are begun by one team tossing the Pallino (a specially marked ball, sometimes called a jack) between the center and four-foot line within the playing area. Teams alternate tossing the Pallino each frame, with the first frame determined by the winner of a coin toss.
The team that tossed the Pallino then throws their first bocce ball. Next, the opposing team throws their first bocce ball.
After the first two bocce balls are thrown, the team with the bocce furthest away then throws all of their remaining balls, trying to throw each as close to the Pallino as possible.
The team that has not thrown their bocce balls now throws their remaining balls, again trying to get as close to the Pallino as possible. Hitting either the Pallino or team’s bocce balls is permitted. No penalty or bonus is awarded.
After all bocce balls have been tossed, the team with the bocce closest to the Pallino wins the frame. The score is tallied, and the frame is complete. The winning team begins the next frame. Frames are played beginning from alternating sides of the court.
The game is finished once one team reaches a pre-determined score (typically 12).
How Do You Play Bocce Ball?
- Bocce ball set up begins by marking off a court. A relatively flat, level outside space is needed for bocce ball. The size of a regulation bocce ball court is 90 feet long by 13 feet wide. For a friendly game, these dimensions do not need to be exact, but it is best to come as close to these dimensions as possible.
- The bocce court is divided into areas by five lines. Lines are drawn four and ten feet from either end of the court, and a fifth line is drawn in the center. These lines can be marked by string, drawn in the sand or dirt, marked by objects at the courts edge, or whatever works best for the game’s participants.
- Gather your bocce ball sets. Most sets come with eight balls in two different colors as well as a single pallino.
- Once teams are determined, play begins. Bocce Ball instructions are simple: Each frame starts with one team tossing the pallino or jack. Players then try to get as close as they can to the pallino, while keeping their bocce balls within the court area.
- Players toss from behind the 10-foot line on the near side of the court.
How to Throw a Bocce Ball
- Throwing, sometimes called bowling, a bocce ball can be done a number of different ways, but with a few simple bocce ball techniques, you can maximize your chances of bowling a great shot.
- A bocce ball is best thrown underhanded. This allows the thrower the best blend of control and power.
- It is highly recommended to throw the ball at least partially through the air, rather than rolling it. Two good techniques are high, soft lobs, or low, stronger throws. Players should try both methods and see what works best for them.
- The most common way to grip the bocce ball is with the palm underneath and the fingertips resting on the front of the ball. Alternatively, the bocce ball can be gripped from above, with the palm above the ball and the wrist flicked forward at the point of release.
- It is best to aim just in front of the point where you want the bocce ball to come to a rest. For lower angled throws, aim further in front of the target point to account for momentum. Higher arcs will not roll as far forward, so aim closer to the desired resting point.
Bocce Ball Scoring
- Scoring for bocce ball takes place each frame is scored after all bocce balls have been tossed.
- The winner of the frame is the team with the bocce ball closest to the Pallino
- Once the winner is determined, the winning team scores one point for each bocce ball that is closer to the Pallino than the opposing team’s closest bocce ball. The winning team will always score at least one point and can score a maximum amount of four (assuming you are playing with the standard four bocce balls per team).
- Frames are played until one team reaches the pre-determined score. Official rules list a score of 12 needed to win, but teams can agree at the beginning of the game to play to a lower or higher number.
Where to Play Bocce Ball
- Anywhere outdoors with a relatively large and flat area of ground is a great place to place bocce ball.
- A backyard bocce ball court can be marked off on a patch of lawn.
- Parks and other natural outdoor areas are perfect for bocce ball. Beach Bocce ball on soft sand can be especially fun.
How to Win Bocce Ball
- One of the best bocce ball tips is to decide when to aim for the Pallino, and when to aim for previously thrown bocce balls.
- Knocking another team’s bocce ball further from the Pallino is a good strategy, especially if your team already has the closest bocce to the Pallino.
- Winning the frame is more important than scoring additional points. You get zero points if the opposing team has the closest bocce to the Pallino.