What is Bocce Ball?
Bocce ball, otherwise known as bocci, boccie, volo, lawn bowling, or Italian bowling, is played with the small ball, also known as the jack or pallino, and eight larger balls. The jack acts as a target as bocce balls can be thrown or rolled, with points given to the team closest to the jack. Bocce is spreading across the US and is becoming a favorite at picnics, beach parties, bbq's, tailgates, and soon... your own backyard.
- Bocce ball set [8 balls, 1 pallino]
- Area of play - alley, beach, parking lot, backyard
It is said that the ancient Egyptians, Romans and even Greeks played a form of bocce ball.
The rules as well as the name, derived from Latin, bottia meaning, were created by the Romans, as it was the game of statesman and rulers.
Bocce ball soon spread throughout Europe as both nobles and peasants participated in this game. However, it was soon banned because authorities believed this game took too much time away from military exercises like archery.
Although bocce ball was banned in most of Europe, the game grew in Great Britain as Queen Elizabeth was a fan of the game.
Bocce ball appeared in the U.S. in the 1700’s as even the first president, George Washington, had a bocce court at his home on Mount Vernon.
During the 20th century, bocce ball spread throughout the U.S. as Italian immigrants created the first league as grew ever since.
How to Play:
- Start off by throwing the jack, the small ball that the teams will aim for when throwing the bocce balls.
- Taking turns, each team member will throw or roll a bocce ball to try to get as close to the jack as possible. Keep going until all bocce balls are thrown.
- To make it more difficult, players can also hit the jack or other bocce balls.
- Once the bocce balls are all thrown, tally up the scores for that round by either giving points to the team that is closest to the jack, giving the team a point for every ball closer than the other team’s ball, or distributing points such as three points to the closest ball, two to the next, and then one for the third closest.
- Keep playing until one team scores 21 points to win the game.
Bocce ball strategies:
Bocce Ball Sizes:
- When playing on sand, it is important to remember that the ball will not roll as much as playing on asphalt or a grass field. Thus, throwing the ball at a higher arc will “dig” itself into the sand, making it harder for the opponent to knock it out of the way.
- The best way to block the other team is to roll your ball as close and in front of the jack as possible.
73mm bocce balls, 90mm bocce balls, 100mm bocce balls, and 107mm bocce balls are most common. The "size" of the ball is really just the diameter. So a 100mm Bocce Ball is a bocce ball that is 100mm across... or about 3.9 inches. Bocce ball weights generally vary. Here is a great little sizing graphic that demonstrates the various bocce sizes.