Not Reading the petanque Terrain

By Mr.Bordsenius at 2006-07-28

Seven deadly sins - sin 3:
The sinner: plays without checking the terrain, complains about stones and “bad bounces” and hits blocking boules.

The winner: walks to the jack, examining the terrain, checking for slopes and dips, hard or stony areas, chooses the correct landing spot, takes note of any blocking boules, then wins the point. Winners get far less “bad bounces” than those who don’t check the terrain.

If there is a slope on the terrain, which can either be up or down and/or across the terrain, you have to:
- Have observed that this is the case and
- Play according to the slope.

“Playing the slope” can involve:
- Rolling or half-lobbing, taking the slope into account – don’t just play straight to the jack and wonder why you’re boule goes 3m off to the side…
- High-lob to land near the jack, thus minimising the distance the boule rolls and is affected by the slope
- Spinning the boule to counteract the slope.

Sometimes a slope can make it very difficult to get a boule near the jack. In which case you need to consider where is the best place to position your boule, which will make it difficult to beat, e.g. supposing the terrain is fairly flat but slopes down about 2m in front of the jack. If you roll down the slope, your boule won’t stop! You need to play 2m in front of the jack, stopping just before the slope, hoping that any boule that “beats” your boule will simply continue rolling…

Remember, petanque is meant to be played on an irregular, uneven surface – see Sin No 6.

Bad Bounce or Bad Shot? The “Holy” Sin.
This is similarly related to the type of terrain and reading the terrain. Hopefully by now you know that choosing the correct landing spot is one of the key skills to pointing well. Practising landing on the chosen spot is an important exercise to develop the skill and achieve consistency.

However, a lot of players often play one or more boules in quick succession and wonder why they get so many “bad bounces”. The reason is often that they land their boules in the hole they’ve just made with their first boule!

Remember, the rules allow you to fill in any hole(s) made by the last boule played. Often it will be to your advantage to do so. This both helps you avoid landing in a hole that’s going to deflect your boule and also to, legally, prepare a landing spot for your next boule.

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