Boccia is best described as a highly tactical as well as precise target sport that feels close to Bowls. However, Boccia balls are soft and light and the game is played indoors, ideally on a smooth surface.
In Boccia, there are 6 red balls, 6 blue balls, and a white ball called Jack. Boccia balls are made of leather and filled with plastic granules, they come in varying hardnesses. The aim is simple, get your colored ball as close to the Jack as your opponent can play their colored ball.
In Boccia you are allowed to do the following:
- move the Jack using one of your balls
- move a ball of your opponent using one of your balls
- Knock one of your own balls on to get closer to the Jack
- Build a defensive structure using your balls
- Roll your balls on top of other balls
- Smash through a barrier of balls with your balls
- Shoot a ball or the jack out of the court
In Boccia there are three play formats:
- Individuals which is 1 vs 1 athlete
- Pairs which is 2 vs 2 athletes
- Teams which is 3 vs 3 athletes
All classes compete individually, in the BC3 and BC4 classes however, athletes compete in the Pairs format, while in the BC1/2 class athletes compete in the Teams format.
The individuals’ format is split by gender where males and females only compete against their gender within the same class.
In the Pairs and Teams format, there has to be one female athlete on the court at all times.
Boccia is played on a court which is illustrated below.
Our court is made up of 6 throwing boxes, 1 V-Zone, and the main field of play. The court in its entire length measures 6 Meters x 12,5 Meters. In the middle of the court is the Cross-box, where penalties and the Tie break are played.
The Jack is NOT allowed to be played in the V-Zone, playing it there is illegal and the opponent is then given the opportunity to play the Jack.
Boccia courts are essential for pre-competition training as well as of course during competition, for training however simply being stationary behind a line is sufficient as most sports halls do not have drawn-out boccia courts.
Boccia like all games and sport has rules – the basic rules are described below and a link to the full rules can also be found below.
Ways to play the ball
There are many ways to propel your Boccia balls.
Depending on your functional ability, you may:
- use a ramp to play them.
At the start of your boccia journey, you should always try and use as much of your body as possible to play, while remembering that playing should not cause you discomfort, outright pain, or injury.
A little bit of sore muscles on the next day is fine, however.
Final words on the matter of play
Remember that practice makes perfect, continued training and self-discipline will allow you to grow and perhaps even, if eligible, make the Jamaican National Boccia Team.