Bocce Ball

Basic Instructions

Bocce is played on dirt courts approximately 20 to 30 metres in length and 2.5 to 4 metres wide, sometimes with wooden boards of approximately 15 centimeters in height surrounding the court. Bocce balls can be made of bronze, compressed wood, or various kinds of plastic. Bocce Balls are spherical in shape which means that they will roll easily on a flat surface.A game can have a number of players ranging from between two players all they way to two teams of two or four.A match is started by a randomly chosen side being given the opportunity to throw a smaller ball, the jack (called a pallino or boccino in some areas), from one end of the court into a zone about 5 meters in length, ending 2 meters from the far end of the court. If they miss twice, the other team is awarded the opportunity to place the jack anywhere they choose within the zone.

The side that places the jack gets to bowl first. Once the first bowl has taken place, the other side goes. From then on, the side which does not have the ball closest to the jack has a chance to bowl, up until one side or the other has used their four balls. At that point, the other side bowls its remaining bocce balls. Like lawn bowls, the team with the closest ball or balls to the jack is awarded one point for each ball that is closer to the jack than the other side's closest ball. The contest continues until one team scores 13 points (though this can vary regionally).

Players are permitted to throw the ball in the air using an underarm action. This is generally used to knock either the jack or another ball into a more favourable position. Tactics can get quite complex when players have sufficient control over the bocce bowl to land or roll it accurately.

Find a flat, level playing surface (packed dirt, gravel or grass are ideal). A regulation bocce court is 76 feet long and 10 feet wide. Divide players into two teams of one, two or four players. Each team gets four balls, divided equally among the players. Have a player from the starting team stand behind the foul line (which is 10 feet from the throwing end of the court) and throw the small ball, or "pallina," toward the opposite end of the court.

Let the player then throw one of the larger balls, or "boccia," trying to get it as close to the pallina as possible without touching it. Have players from the other team take turns throwing their balls until one of the balls stops closer to the pallina than the starting player's ball. If they fail to do so, the starting team tries to outdo its first attempt.

Let the starting players take their second turn if the opposing team gets closer to the pallina than the starting team without using all of their balls. Continue this until all eight balls are on the court. The team with the closest ball gets one point for each of its balls that are closer to the pallina than the other team's closest ball.

Keep in mind that if the two teams' closest balls are an equal distance from the pallina, no points are awarded. End the frame after all eight balls have been thrown and appropriate points have been awarded. The scoring team begins the next frame. If no team previously scored, the team that threw the pallina last begins the next frame.

Play as many frames as needed until one team has a total score of 13 points.


Bocce is a precision sport closely related to ancient games played in the Roman Empire. It derived from Italy and is played around Europe and also in overseas countries that have received Italian migrants, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil and Argentina (where it is known as bochas), initially amongst the migrants themselves but slowly becoming more popular with their descendants and the wider community. In parts of the U.S. Croatian immigrants brought 'Bocce' to the U.S. In some instances, 'half-sized' Bocce courts were built because of land/lot size constraints.


Bocha is a Brazilian game in which the goal is to hit one ball into another. Bocha is a modified version of "bocce ball." The first rules for the game were established by the Portuguese prince Dom Pedro IV, first emperor of Brazil in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Little modifications have been made since then, most of them concerning the break of the game into periods of time.

A more intense version of the game has been quite popular among the youth in the past 3 years, which brings attention once again to the almost forgotten sport of bocha.

It is pronounced bow-chee ball.