What is Pétanque ?
Pétanque is one of the boules games along with lawn bowls and bocce. The game is played on sand or gravel using steel boules and a wooden jack. Much like bocce and lawn bowls, the aim is to get your boules closer to the jack than the other team.
History of Petanque.
Petanque is descended from one of the oldest games in human history: the archetypal game of throwing or rolling an object as close as possible to a marker. Petanque belongs to a family of ball games that developed in the Mediterranean, today called boules in French and Bocci or Bocce in Italian.
Around 1907, Jules LeNoir modified an older game called Jeu Provençal, inventing what eventually evolved into the modern sport of pétanque.
In Jeu Provençal, players first draw a circle on the ground, then throw a small ball called a bouchon or cochonnet between 12 and 20 meters. The players try to place their balls as close to the cork as possible. They do this by taking one step out of the circle in any direction and perching on one leg, rolling or swinging the ball in the air toward the cork
Who can play?
Anyone can play pétanque, it’s a game for people of all ages. You don’t need to be a ‘sporty’ person to play and it’s never too late to take up pétanque.
How do you play?
To play pétanque, you will need metal balls, which are the balls you will throw, and a smaller wooden target ball is known in French as a “cric”, “cochonnet” or “but”. There should be six balls per team, and only three if you are playing one-on-one. To ensure that everyone is shooting from the same spot, you should draw a circle on the court about 50 cm in diameter. Then the game can begin.
To start the game, a coin is tossed to decide which team will play first. When selecting teams, it is also a good idea to ensure that there is a mix of players of all ages and abilities.
The first player or team then decides on the throwing position. It is recommended to mark the spot, try using a stick, chalk, or a rope depending on the location of the game. The player who marked the spot then throws the small wooden ball. If the wooden ball does not land in an appropriate position, it must be thrown again until it does.
The first player then throws a petanque ball from the same position to the jack in an attempt to get it as close as possible. The opponent then stands in the same spot and tries to place a ball closer to his or her opponent.
The player may also propel the ball already shot by aiming at it. You must shoot within one minute of the start of your turn. The ball closest to the jack is said to “hold the point”. The player/team that does not “hold” continues to shoot until they place a ball closest to the target jack ball, and so on. Players on the same team do not have to alternate shots, but players must always play their own balls.
So unlike lawn bowls, it’s not teams taking turns about.
The boules are typically thrown underarm, with backspin. You can ‘point’ to get your boule to stop closer to the jack, or ‘shoot’ to remove other boules.
Where? What? How many?
You can play socially anywhere, but competition is played on gravel or sand. Prospect has 7 different surfaces across its 20 pistes.
Team formats are singles and doubles, each with 3 boules per player, and triples with 2 boules per player.
Games are generally played up to 13 points.