Ultimate Reference Guide to Bocce Ball FAQs7 min read

When you’re learning how to play a game, you want to make sure you have all the necessary information to master it. Even with bocce ball, you may have some pressing questions about the rules, ball specifications, court size, and more. That’s why we’ve put together some of the most popularly asked questions and provided you with useful answers. Here’s the ultimate reference to bocce ball FAQs:

1. How do you pronounce “bocce”?

Since the word “bocce” is of Italian origin, you should ideally pronounce it as bawt-che or boe-chae. But in English, most people pronounce it as boch-ee. If you’re interested in learning more about bocce ball other than just the pronunciation, you can read our article on what is bocce.

2. What are the rules to bocce ball?

Bocce ball should be played between two teams, each of which starts with four bocce balls. Each player takes their turn throwing their ball with a goal to get it as close to the pallino as possible. Whichever team gets their ball closest to the pallino gets to score during that frame. This article talks about the rules of bocce ball in detail.

3. How do you win at bocce ball?

You will need a lot of practice if you want to win at bocce ball. There is no single throwing technique that will guarantee a win. But the most important rule is to experiment with different throwing techniques to see which one works best for you.

4. How many bocce balls are in a set?

A bocce ball set typically contains eight bocce balls in two different colors (four of each color). Some sets may come with four different colors (two of each). There’s also the pallino ball, which is white in color.

bocce ball colors
Image Credit: Neo123195

5. What are bocce balls made of?

Traditionally, bocce balls were carved out of wood. But nowadays, the top-quality bocce balls are made of solid resin for durability and better playing quality. You can find cheaper sets made of recycled material or hard plastic, which aren’t as durable as the resin variant.

6. How much does a bocce ball weigh?

Regulation bocce balls need to weigh 2 lbs, which is the perfect weight to guarantee a powerful but comfortable throw. But you can also find lighter balls in the non-regulation sets, which would be ideal for kids and seniors as well as novice players.

7. What is a pallino ball?

Image Credit: Kars Alfrink on Flickr

A pallino ball, also known as a jack, is the smaller target ball in bocce. Players try to get their bocce balls as close to this ball as possible. It’s typically white in color so players can easily detect it during game play. For other bocce terms, we have a glossary for your reference.

8. What happens when you hit the pallino in bocce ball?

Unlike in petanque, you’re allowed to hit the pallino in bocce. If you’re interested to learn about the rule variations between petanque and bocce, check out this article. Most players hit the pallino to try and move it closer to their bocce ball or farther from their opponent’s ball. The scoring rule on hitting the pallino varies depending on the rules you set pre-game, but in some games, you score two points if your bocce ball is still in contact with the pallino by the time one frame ends.  

9. What size bocce balls should I get?

That mainly depends on your requirement and skill level. If you’re aiming for serious play and want to eventually become a professional-level player, you’ll need to get regulation-size balls, which are 107mm in diameter. Otherwise, casual players who are looking for something cheap and fun can go for smaller balls, which typically come at around 90mm. This list of bocce ball sets could give you a comprehensive buying guide.

10. How do you set up a bocce ball court?

If you want to set up a proper bocce ball court, the regulation size courts measure 90 ft x 13 ft. But if there are space restrictions, you can also keep the dimensions at 60 ft x 12 ft. You’ll need to have proper markers and lines within the court and set up a curbing to prevent the balls from rolling away during play. Check out our article on bocce ball court dimensions for more detailed instructions on how to set up a bocce ball court.

11. How long is a bocce ball court?

The regulation size of a bocce ball court is 90 ft in length and 13 ft in width. But most players adapt based on the space available. Backyard bocce ball courts typically measure around 60 ft in length and 12 ft in width.

12. Can you hit the back wall in bocce?

When you first throw the pallino, it should cross the center line but it cannot hit the back wall to be considered a valid throw. As for your bocce ball, it will be considered a dead ball if it hits the back wall without first hitting the pallino or another bocce ball that’s in play. It will then be removed from play.

13. Can you play bocce ball with 2 people?

You can definitely play bocce ball with just 2 people. As bocce is a two-team game, the 2 people will be playing against each other and get 4 balls each to throw at the pallino. Check out our article on what is bocce to learn more about bocce ball and its basic rules.

14. How do you play over the line?

When a player steps over the foul line when throwing their ball, they are playing over the line. When this happens, the referee will issue a warning and the ball may be disqualified. The actual repercussions of playing over the line may change according to individual referees.

15. Can you play bocce ball on grass?

bocce on grass
Image Credit: Marco Verch on Flickr

One of the best parts about bocce ball is that you can play it on almost any surface. You can definitely play it on grass if it’s just for casual play. For more serious players, grass may not be a great option because of the friction provided by the surface. You’d want a smoother playing surface so that the balls move faster.

16. Can you play bocce ball on the beach?

Bocce ball can be played on almost any surface, but the type of surface does affect game play and you will typically need a smooth playing surface for the balls to move faster. So you can play it on the beach for a casual game and enjoy a drink while you’re at it. Also, it might be best to look for bocce ball sets specifically made for beaches. Our article on the top bocce ball sets might help you pick out the right set.

17. What is the surface of a bocce ball court made of?

There is no official regulation for bocce ball court material. Most people use whatever surface works best and is most convenient for them. You could play it on packed dirt, clay, crushed stone, poured liquid, or even on grass. Check out our article on bocce ball courts to learn more about the different materials you can use.

18. How old is bocce ball?

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact age or origin of bocce ball. Some say it originated in Egypt around 5200 BC, while others speculate that it could go back as far as 9000 BC and its origin was in Turkey. What we do know that the Roman soldiers had started playing the game around 246 BC during the Punic Wars. Check out our article on the history of bocce ball for a more in-depth look.

19. Is bocce ball an Olympic sport?

As of writing this answer, bocce ball is not included in the Olympics. It is, however, a crucial game in the Special Olympics.

20. Which bocce ball set is the best?

There is no single best bocce ball set, and a lot of it depends on your skill level and personal requirements. However, there are certain sets that seem to have a much higher ranking than most. The GoSports 90mm bocce set is one of the best options for casual play, while you can go for the St. Pierre professional set for professional play. You can check out our list of top-rated bocce ball sets for more suggestions.     

Conclusion

These are some of the most asked questions about bocce ball. Hopefully, we’ve answered your questions in detail and provided you with other useful resources to get more comprehensive answers. Read up on those and get to know all about the fun game of bocce.