How Bocce Ball Works

Bocce Ball Tips

Getting a bocce ball the closest distance to the pallino ball without touching it is the goal of the game.
Getting a bocce ball the closest distance to the pallino ball without touching it is the goal of the game.

If planning a game of bocce ball in the backyard or at the park with friends, following the basic rules and deciding on a point total is more than enough for enjoying set after set of play. When playing in a league or tournament, or with serious opponents, it's probably best to read up on all of the nuances and etiquette as well as the details, details, details of how to keep your balls in play the proper way.

A few tips for any type of play include:

  • Mind your feet: As with darts, bowling and archery, it is very important to play a pallino or bocce ball from behind the foul line or you'll incur a foot fault. Make it a habit to check your stance before putting a ball in play.
  • Watch your conduct: Bocce ball is a gentleman's game and whether a man or a woman, outbursts and trash-talking opposing players, referees or even fellow teammates can get you and your bocces bounced or reprimanded.
  • Call it: There are no secret huddles in bocce play. Rather, plans to play defensively and bank shots from side walls, for instance, should be announced. Check the rules for which plays need to be called out and when.
  • Watch the time: Although bocce ball is slower-paced as far as sports go, there are limits on how much time you have to make a play. Review the league or court rules for windows of play and count off time when your turn starts.

Whether you pick up a game set for your family or sign up for a local league, playing bocce ball is a fun way to be strategic and be outdoors with little planning or equipment hauling. It also has a great history of building in time to socialize between matches, maybe over a glass of vino or a coffee and cannoli.

Related Articles


  • "History of Bocce." 2012. Aug. 3, 2012.
  • Bocce Standards Association (BSA). "Bocce Equipment: Standard Equipment." Nov. 8, 2010. (Aug. 5, 2012)
  • Bocce Standards Association (BSA). "Court Bocce Standard Rules for Leagues and Tournaments." 2009. (Aug. 5, 2012)
  • Buckheit, Mary. "Game On! Bocce Should Be an Olympic Sport." Aug. 15, 2008. (Aug. 3, 2012)
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica. "Boccie." 2012. (Aug. 3, 2012)
  • "Rules of Bocce." 2012. (Aug. 3, 2012)
  • New York City (NYC) Parks. "Bowling, Boules, and Bocce in Parks." 2012. (Aug. 5, 2012)
  • Special Olympics. "Bocce Rules, Protocol, and Etiquette." December 2005. (Aug. 3, 2012)
  • World Bocce League. "How to Play Bocce Ball." 2012. (Aug. 4, 2012)