How to Play Bocce Ball - Bocce Ball History, Basics, and Scoring
Aug 10th, 2022

Have a (Bocce) Ball!

Active adult living involves more than simply taking a walk around the neighborhood or going fishing with friends. Maintaining an active lifestyle in retirement often means learning fun new games, such as bocce ball.

The best thing about bocce ball is its simplicity – the game’s rules are easy to follow, and many surfaces can double as a court. You can even play with a drink in one hand! All you need are bocce balls and a level patch of soil, grass, or gravel that measures 90 feet by about 10 feet. Here at Kissing Tree, we have six beautiful regulation courts with artificial turf terraced into the Hill Country limestone just outside of Independence Hall.

Bocce Ball History

Once a game of emperors and kings, bocce ball today is among the world’s most-played games. Also called “Italian lawn bowling,” bocce ball is thought to have originated in Egypt before it spread to Greece and Rome. Famous bocce players throughout history include George Washington, Galileo, and Queen Elizabeth, and you can include yourself among their ranks in just a few simple steps.

Bocce Ball Basics

Bocce balls are the cornerstone of the game, and they’re typically made from sturdy plastic. A total of nine balls are required when playing bocce. There are eight balls of identical size and a smaller target ball, or pallina. The eight larger balls are actually two different colored sets of four, with one color per team.

Bocce ball teams can consist of only one player, or up to four individuals. The number of players should be equal for both teams. Once you have located your ideal court, mark each end with a line. The pallina is pitched from that line.

Bocce ball games traditionally begin with a coin toss. The first team throws the pallina into mid-court, or about 30 feet from the line. Then, the same player throws a larger bocce ball. You can also roll the ball. The goal is to get the bocce ball as close to the pallina as possible.

Next, the second team gets their chance to throw or roll a bocce ball towards the pallina. You can aim for the pallina itself or try to knock the opposite team’s ball away from the pallina.

Bocce Ball Scoring

If your ball is closer to the pallina after both teams have taken a turn, your team scores a point. You earn two points if your bocce ball touches the pallina. Neither team scores if the larger bocce balls are equidistant from the pallina. The winner of the game is the team that reaches the set point goal first. While you can choose any number, 12 points is a typical goal in backyard bocce ball games.

Meet New People and Have Fun with Bocce Ball

Along with exercise and improving your overall stamina, playing bocce ball gives you the opportunity to meet new people and forge deeper bonds. We have several bocce groups that meet regularly, as well as bocce tournaments several times each year. If you have questions, check out the Activity Calendar or contact our Lifestyle Director for more information!

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