I played my first bocce ball game recently and got hooked! Bocce rules are pretty simple, and teaching the bocce ball rules to my young daughter was easy.
It's a fun game for players of all ages that you can play anywhere. Play indoors, at the beach, or in the dark!
Bocce is played by 2 teams of 1-4 players who try to earn points by throwing their bocce balls closest to a small ball called a "pallina."
A bocce ball game is played on a rectangular court that measures 12 feet wide by 60 feet long.
The bocce court surface can be made of dirt, clay, grass, or any artificial surface.
It's important that the surface be level with no obstructions that would interfere with the ball rolling in a straight line.
The regulation bocce court is surrounded by walls made of a rigid material, like wood or Plexiglas.
The end walls should be at least 12 inches high, and the side walls must be at least as high as the bocce balls. The walls are used during play for bank shots or rebound shots.
The court is marked with 3 lines:
Interested in building your own bocce court? I've built a simple, portable one out of trim boards and rope that folds up and stores quickly and easily. You can also find simple portable ones that don't require any building on your part.
In addition to a court, you need the following equipment to play an official bocce ball game:
Bocce balls – Bocce is played with 8 balls and 1 pallina. The 8 balls can be made of a variety of materials like wood or a composite material.
Official tournament bocce balls measure a little over 4 inches in diameter.
The balls can come in a variety of colors. Each team gets 4 balls of one color, and they must be a different color than those of their opponent.
Pallina – The pallina is a small ball about 2.5 inches in diameter that should be a color totally different from any of the other balls being used. White, red, and yellow are popular colors for the pallina.
Measuring device – Any kind of measuring tape or stick can be used to measure the distance between balls.
A coin toss determines the color of balls each team will use and which team has the pallina first.
Delivering the Pallina - 3-Attempt Rule: The team with the pallina has 3 attempts to toss the pallina between the half-court line and the 10-foot foul line at the opposite end of the court. If they aren't able to get the ball in that area, their opponent has one chance to do it. If they can't do it either, the pallina is placed in the center of the opposite foul line.
The pallina is rolled or tossed by a member of the team who won the coin toss. The player who tosses the pallina then has to deliver the first bocce ball.
After the first ball is played, the opponent delivers their bocce balls until they "take the point" or play all 4 of their balls.
The team with the ball that ends up closest to the pallina is called the "in" team, and the other team is called "out." Once a team gets "in," they step aside and give the "out" team a chance to deliver their balls until they get "in."
At the end of each frame, players move to the other end of the court and deliver their balls in the opposite direction.
Number of Balls Each Player Delivers:
The players on each team can choose to play their balls in any order, provided the player who tosses the pallina delivers the first bocce ball. The player rotation can change from frame to frame, but no player may deliver more than their allotted number of balls.
At the end of each frame (when both teams have delivered all of their balls), scoring is determined in the following manner:
Once the points are determined, the players pick up all of the balls, walk to the opposite end of the court, and play continues into the next frame. The team that wins each frame delivers the pallina in the next frame.
During a Frame
If two balls from opposite teams are the same distance from the pallina, the team that rolled last will continue to roll until the tie is broken. (Example: Team #1 rolls the ball toward the pallina and establishes the point. Team #2 rolls a ball that stops the same distance from the pallina. Team #2 continues to roll until it gets a ball closer.)
At the End of a Frame
If the two balls closest to the pallina are the same distance and they are from opposite teams, no points are given and the pallina is given back to the team who had it at the start of the frame.
The length of the game depends on the number of players. The game is played until a team earns the following number of points:
The following actions are illegal and result in penalties:
A live ball is any ball that is delivered inbounds. A ball is dead if it:
Depending on the number of players, skill level, available equipment, or the size of your playing area, you can modify the basic bocce rules to fit your needs. Here are some modifications you can make:
The cool thing about bocce is you can play it anywhere!
More fun bocce games...with a twist!
These are just a few easy ways to change up the bocce ball rules to fit your needs. Hopefully, they’ll give you some ideas for adapting the game to make it more fun for your group.
We've got lots more exciting kids sports activities that include ball and target games likes bocce!