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BOCCE - Easy to learn, hard to master!


* Our First Photo Album

* Another photo album
Private backyard courts in the Iowa City and Coralville area.
* More 2005 photos Special Olympics players and others.

* * *

Learn about Bocce
and Join the fun!

Just what is Bocce?

While lawn bowling is usually a semi-rural sport, requiring a pretty good-sized expanse of grass, bocce became an urban sport in Italy, often played on city streets. As a result, the bocce court has a rather hard surface of packed dirt or gravel and is rectangular, 60 to 80 feet long and 12 feet wide. A wooden barrier, 4 inches high, surrounds the court.

Bocce is a competitive game of skill. It sharpens the reflexes and judgment and stimulates good fellowship among players. It is played by young and old alike. It is very popular throughout the United States among Italian Americans who compose its greatest advocates and best players.

The game requires good judgment of distance; the ability to size up a situation immediately; a good eye to spot contours and rough spots in the alley; and the proper psychological frame of mind.

Bocce fans claim the game helps improve their bowling, golf and shuffleboard because it has many features of these games in it. There is no age limit for the Bocce players. Many elderly citizens play the game for relaxation and exercise.

Teams can consist of from one to four players on each side. When multiple team members are present, a playing rotation is maintained throughout the game.

The first player (chosen by coin toss or whatever) throws the pallino into the opposite court. That player also rolls the first bocce ball. The idea is to get as close to the pallino as possible. It doesn't matter if you hit the pallino, as long as you don't knock it out of the court. If that happens, it much be re-tossed by the opposing team.

Now the opposing team throws until they get a ball closer to the pallino. This is called getting "inside" your opponent's ball.

Play then returns to the first team who must try to get a ball "inside" that ball.

In each case, throwing by each team continues (in rotation) until a ball gets "inside" or all four balls are tossed.

The remaining balls of the opposing team are then rolled to try to get inside any opposing balls for points. Teams play to 12 points.

Among better players, bocce is a strategical game. Since the pallino can be moved by a shot, a player can often score by knocking the pallino closer to balls previously rolled by his or her side. On the other hand, a player whose side already has balls in scoring position may choose to place a ball in front of the pallino to keep it from being moved

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You don't have to be Italian to play Bocce!

Last revision on this page: 3/9/09