How to Throw a Bocce Ball ( The correct way )


Sports and games require good techniques for skill development. There are a few factors to consider when learning how to throw a bocce ball.

  • Grip
  • Stance
  • Throw types
  • Strategies
  • Playing surface

In this article, we’re exploring the important factors for how to throw a bocce ball effectively.

We’ll look into each of the considerations above, along with some tips for how to develop your skills for playing this age-old game. Read on to learn how to throw a bocce ball.

bocce ball

What’s the Best Way to Grip a Bocce Ball?

One thing that’s true of many sports played with a ball is there is a proper way to grip the ball. So, what do we mean by that? 

In bocce ball, players can grip the ball palm up or palm down. Generally, players use a palm-up grip style. That is, they hold the ball with their palm facing upward. Basically, it’s an underhanded throw. This style of throw is more of a roll, though.

You can also use an overhand grip. This style is more like a throw rather than a roll. It’s not the same as throwing in baseball or football, however.

When professional bocce ball players throw a ball overhanded, they’re not allowed to raise their throwing arm above their shoulder.

Regardless of how you decide to grip the ball, you should splay your fingers around the ball. This gives you better control over your throw. 

When it’s your turn, you’ll choose your grip style, swing your arm down and backward. Swing it forward and release, letting it either roll toward the other end of the playing surface or drop and roll toward it.

It’s up to you which is the better grip style. Some players like to develop both ways of gripping. They switch grips throughout the game, depending on what type of strategy they’re working to achieve.

What’s the Best Stance for Throwing a Bocce Ball?

Your stance is almost as important as your grip. You want to take a solid stance with both feet planted on the ground. 

Some people like to play standing up all the way. Others like to bend and crouch forward like in traditional bowling. 

With either of these stances, you’ll want to put one foot forward. If you’re standing up tall, put your foot forward that’s on the same side as your throwing hand.

Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart. If you’re using the crouching stance, you should put your opposite foot forward from your throwing hand. 

When you throw the ball, shift most of your weight onto your front foot. It gives you forward momentum that propels your ball down the court toward the “pallino” ball, which is the small white ball you want your ball to stop near.

What Are the Different Throw Types?

Bocce ball has three specific kinds of throws players use. They are the following:

  1. Raffa – This is an overhand throw that is usually used when a player is trying to knock someone else’s ball away from the pallino. The player puts a backspin on their bocce ball, so when it hits the opponent’s ball it stops. 
  2. Punto – Punto throws are gentle rolls, usually performed underhanded. Players step up to the line and roll the ball down the court softly, hoping to get it to stop as near to the pallino ball as possible.
  3. Volo – Volo is a variation of a raffa throw. It involves pitching the ball up in a high arc with backspin and power. It’s used to knock other balls away or move the pallino from its position.

Raffa is the more offensive throw type of the two. It’s meant for more aggressive throws to push other balls away from the target.

Punto throws are used when there aren’t any other balls on the court yet.

How Do You Choose a Strategy for Your Turn?

On your turn, you’ll need to assess the court. Think about what you want to do. What is the goal of your throw? 

If you’re the first player to go, you’ll likely want to go with blocking as your strategy. Roll your ball toward the target gently enough that it stops on the front side of the pallino. This blocks other players on their turns.

When someone else is already blocking, you can use a banking strategy. When you bank a ball off the wall, it can get behind the blocking ball.

You’ll throw your ball at an angle to the wall, so it comes off the wall at an angle, as well. 

The last strategy some players use is bumping. You can bump the pallino with your ball to push it closer to the balls you already have positioned on the court. Bumping is a good strategy for the end of your game.

What Are the Different Playing Surfaces?

Not all bocce ball courts have the same type of surface. You may play on a hard surface that allows balls to roll faster and farther.

Or you could play on a soft surface that’s made of thick material. Most courts have these kinds of surface material:

  • turf
  • concrete
  • rubber composite
  • sand
  • asphalt
  • grass
  • gravel

You’re going to need to think about the type of surface you’re playing on. A ball won’t roll as far on sand as it will on concrete.

It may take a few throws before you get a feel for the surface you’re playing on. Pay attention and make adjustments to your throws, as needed.

Final Thoughts

The most successful bocce ball players know how to throw a bocce ball in the most effective manner. The first thing to work on is your grip and stance. You want to be comfortable when it’s your turn to throw. 

Once you’re feeling more comfortable, you can start working in more strategies. You’ll assess the situation on the court before deciding just how to throw your ball.

As you get more skilled, you can spend time switching up your throws and making little tweaks for the surface you’re playing on.

It won’t be long and you’ll be playing just like the pros!

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