Petanque for beginners: Playing equipment

By Mr.Bordsenius at 2001-01-15

In time you will need your own set of boule, but don't be in too much of a hurry to buy them yet, you may well regret your hastiness if you buy the wrong boule. Yes, you will want to own your own boule, to practise with and look after, and of course to show others that you are serious about the sport. The thing is, do you really know what you want?

May I suggest that you play for a little time with borrowed boule from your club, if they have them? Clubs usually keep a few sets of boule for visitors. I'm sure your club won?t mind. Get to know what you want, by playing. Get to know the weight that you are comfortable with, and the size of the boule that sits well in your hand for the kind of game that you play. It doesn't have to be very long before you begin to prefer certain weights and certain sizes. Then, you can go with a greater confidence and purchase your very own boule, a set of three. They will be marked with the manufacturer?s name, their very own number and their weight, and maybe, your own name or initials if you ask for it.
There are one or two other items that you should purchase. A good and clearly marked 3 metre flexible steel rule, one that you can read comfortably at 45cms (18 inches). Practise using it so that you become proficient at reading it accurately. A point scorer is a useful piece of equipment especially when you play a game without score boards. Never depend on your ability to remember, you will always get the opponent who says you missed a point here or added a point there. Get into the habit of calling the score out after each end, it helps both teams. Carry a few coches with you, don't depend on others to bring them to the game, and clean and paint them with brilliant colours that you can see well on the terrain, both in daylight and under arc lamps at night. Be prepared to lose one or two, they have a habit of going missing. A cloth for wiping your boule, especially on damp days when grit sticks to them, is a must if you don't want the irritation of throwing with grit covered boule, or you don't want your wife shouting at you because you?ve used your jacket or trousers to wipe your boule on.

You will find as you travel the terrains and meet other pétanque players, (even those in your club), that many hold the boule and throw them in any number of different ways. You can be forgiven for asking, Why? It may well be that people often get hold of the wrong information when starting or just copy the way someone else who they started with, threw. After a while you just stick with what you know and continue with it, it seems that you've done it a long time and it's too late to change. Having said that, I don't think there should be anything rigid about the exact way a boule should be held or thrown. It's sufficient for me to give you a guide as to the normal or conventional method, then leave you to work out the best way of performing the task and developing your own skill and ability by your own practise.


Holding your boule
1 By first opening the throwing hand with palm upward, place a boule into the centre of the palm, close the fingers round the boule keeping your fingers together. Place the thumb straight across the side of the boule, extending it towards the middle of the index or first finger. Turn your hand over and there you have the normal or Conventional method of holding the boule in your hand before throwing it. ( Fig.1 and 2). Note: You must be able to hold your boule comfortably in this position without having to use undue pressure or tightening of your grip in case the boule should fall out of the hand. Any undue pressure or tightening of the grip on your boule may suggest it is either too big or too heavy or both. Playing with this pressure will cause tiredness or pain in the arm and loss of concentration and focus during a game. It can lead to the unconventional hold and affect the game you play.

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