How to Play Bocce Ball: Infromation on Rules, Score Keeping and Equipment

Bocce ball, otherwise known as Italian bowling, is a very fun and entertaining outdoor sport that’s becoming more and more popular in the United States. People of all ages and skill levels can enjoy playing bocce ball, and they can play a leisurely bocce ball game without keeping score and still have a good time. Bocce ball is good exercise since it involves throwing, bending, and walking. If you can toss a ball, you can enjoy playing bocce ball with friends and family.

Buying a Bocce Ball Set

When searching for a bocce ball set you’ll be surprised at the wide range of prices and types to choose from. There are beginner bocce ball sets which are perfect for beginners and kids, tournament bocce ball sets for intermediate play, and professional bocce ball sets. Prices range from around twenty dollars for a starter bocce ball set all the way up to professional sets costing hundreds of dollars.

The sizes of bocce balls vary too. Smaller size sets, which are generally cheaper, are geared toward kids. Smaller bocce balls fit smaller hands better than larger and heavier bocce balls. Bocce balls are measured in millimeters, and they range from eight millimeters up to one hundred ten millimeters. There are also several brands to choose from.

For the weekend bocce ball enthusiast, a moderately priced middle-range set is perfect. I paid about forty dollars for my set. The balls are just the right weight for adults and kids, and they are of good quality. I’d recommend a bocce ball set that’s midrange in price for those just wanting a set for occasional family fun.

Area of Play

In the sport of bocce ball, the area of play, otherwise known as the alley, should be approximately eight feet in width and about sixty feet long. The alley is to be formed with wooden boards down the sides. A regulator peg should be pounded into the ground in the center of the alley. A foul line should be drawn at both ends of the alley.

Many people enjoy playing informal games of bocce ball. These games don’t include wooden boards enclosing the alley, and measurements are estimated. A regulator peg isn’t used, and there are no foul lines. The way you play bocce ball is entirely up to you.

Bocce Ball Equipment

A bocce ball set contains eight colored balls. Some sets contain eight balls of two different colors, while other sets contain eight balls of four different colors. A bocce ball set also includes a smaller ball which is known as the pallino, or target ball. Some bocce ball sets come with cases, while others come with a bag made of net material to hold the balls. Typically, the more expensive the bocce ball set, the fancier the case to hold it.

Rules of the Game

Bocce ball player number one tosses the target ball. The target ball should land approximately five feet past the regulator peg and more than one foot away from the wooden board on either side of the alley. The players in the game take turns tossing the colored balls designated as theirs, underhanded toward the target ball, while staying behind the foul line. The colored ball is allowed to hit the sides of the alley as well as other balls in an effort to hit the target ball. In an actual bocce ball tournament, the ball a player is trying to hit must be called in advance of the toss. If another ball or balls are hit, the ball tossed becomes disqualified, and the balls inadvertently hit must be put back as they were. When the balls and target ball are retrieved, the game is played on the opposite end of the bocce ball alley.

While playing a leisurely game of bocce ball, many people don’t follow the above rules. They simply try to get as close as possible to the target ball, and they don’t call a hit in advance of a toss.

Keeping Score

If four people are playing a game of bocce ball, each person tosses two balls toward the target ball. Two people can play a game of bocce ball and toss four balls instead of two. The two balls that are closest to the target ball receive one point. When a score of twelve is reached, the game is over.

I play bocce ball with my family, and we enjoy playing without keeping score. We each toss two balls, no matter how many people are playing, and whoever is closest to the target ball after the last ball is tossed is the winner. We don’t follow any other rules or have a real bocce ball alley set up. We simply toss the balls on the lawn, and wherever the target ball lands is where it stays. Although the official rules of bocce ball aren’t followed, we have a great time playing.

Bocce ball has become a favorite outdoor activity, especially at family gatherings. Informal games of bocce ball are one of the most enjoyable family pastimes, and informal games of bocce ball have created many lasting memories.

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