Bocce or bocce ball is a casual sport that dates back hundreds of years. European immigrants brought the game around the world, and it’s now very popular as a backyard sport.
If you want to set up a bocce ball court, however, it’s a good idea to get a feel for what a regulation size court is like.
What are the dimensions of a bocce ball court?
An official bocce ball court has a length of 90 feet and a width of 13 feet. Club bocce ball courts are generally a bit shorter and have a length of 76 feet, although they’re still 13 feet wide.
When it comes to playing in backyards or parks, the courts tend to be a bit smaller, with lengths between 60 and 70 feet and widths between 10 and 12 feet.
If you’re playing bocce ball at home, the size of the court doesn’t usually matter too much as long as there’s plenty of room and the rules and foul lines are clearly defined.
You’ll only need enough room to throw and be competitive, so while a court that’s between 60 and 90 feet often offers a better playing experience, a backyard that’s only 40 or 50 feet long can still work well as a bocce ball court.
It is best, however, to make sure that the playing area is at least 10 feet wide.
If you’re planning to build a bocce ball court, you have a few options. Casual players can simply play on grass or AstroTurf, although the ball might not roll as well on these materials.
Borders for a very casual court can be marked out with string or simply defined by plants, fences, or other markers in the yard. Anyone looking for a more professional court, however, which will offer a better playing experience, can use either wood beams, concrete, or metal beams to mark out their bocce court borders.
The playing surface of a bocce court is traditionally bare earth, sand, or crushed stone, but crushed oyster shells or a rubber mat surface can also be used, and all of these options work well.
How big is a bocce ball?
Regulation bocce balls must have a circumference of 4.2 inches or 104 millimeters and they have to weigh 2 pounds or 920 grams.
However, if you’re not playing in a regulation game, you have a few options when it comes to size. Some bocce balls are a bit smaller, with circumferences between 90 and 100 millimeters or 3.5 to 3.9 inches, which makes them easier for children or players with smaller hands to grip.
Other bocce ball sets include balls that weigh a bit more, making them easier to throw, which can lead to an even more exciting match.
What are bocce balls made of?
Bocce balls are traditionally made of wood, but today, players can use balls made of metal, plastic, or even hard clay. Bocce balls need to be heavy enough to throw and knock into other players’ balls, but they also need to be sturdy enough to withstand those knocks.
They should also have very little bounce, but should instead roll well while still coming to a stop relatively quickly.
How is bocce ball played?
Bocce ball is played a bit like the winter ice sport, curling. When the game begins, a smaller ball, called the jack, pallino, or boccino, is thrown or placed at a specific point on the court.
In regulation games, the jack must be thrown into an area that’s 16 feet in length and ends 8.2 feet from the end of the court. In casual play, players can choose a zone near the middle or end of the court for the jack to be thrown into.
One player or team must throw the jack, but if they miss the designated zone twice, the other player or team can place the jack anywhere within that zone that they like.
The game starts with the player or team who first threw the jack tossing a bocce ball. Balls can be rolled or gently tossed in an underhand style.
The goal is to get the bocce ball as close to the jack as possible. Once the first player or team has bowled, the second player or team gets to bowl their ball. The person who isn’t closest to the jack gets to go again, and the player or team who isn’t closest can continue bowling until they run out of balls.
Then, the other player or team can bowl. Each team has four balls. Players can also attempt to knock their opponent’s balls away from the jack.
Balls that are closest to the jack are scored, but only the balls on one team that are closer to the jack than any balls from the other team count as a point.
For example, if the red team has the ball closest to the jack, the green team has the second closest ball, and the red team has the third closest ball, only the first red counts as a point for either team.