Paralympics 2012: Boccia explained - by the experts!

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A beginner's guide to boccia

Not many people know about Boccia. But at John Grant School we play Boccia and have a lunchtime and after-school club.

We are young Boccia officials, which means we know how to referee games.

As an official we have to keep score and check players aren't crossing other players' lines, but we can never touch the ball. It can be quite tough as you have to keep concentrating.

One of the good things about Boccia is that anyone can play it and it's good fun!

History of the Sport

  • Boccia is a very old game. Boccia comes from the Latin word meaning ball. It was played by the ancient Greeks and today it is a part of the Paralympic Games
  • Boccia was first introduced to the Paralympic Games at Stoke Mandeville in 1984
  • In the 2008 Beijing Games the Great Britain team won a gold medal
  • In the London 2012 Games the Boccia will take place at the ExCeL Centre

The Rules of Boccia

Image copyright School Report
Image caption Pupils from John Grant School measure the distance of the balls from the jack

Boccia is a target sport; players need to their ball as close to the target or jack as possible.

You always play Boccia inside on a pitch about the same size as a badminton court.

Players can be in wheelchairs and can also not be in a wheelchair, but it is a sitting down game. You can roll or throw the ball, and some people can use a special ramp to roll the ball.

Mixed teams can play Boccia, it's not just all boys or all girls. Players are either in the red or blue team, using red or blue balls to throw at the jack.

Image copyright School Report
Image caption The Boccia young referees from John Grant School, William, Chris, David and Casey

To start the game the first team or player throws the jack and then throws their ball, then it is the turn of the other team. Each team has a captain who is in the middle of the line of players and they decide who throws next.

In Boccia there are six rounds and points are scored for the number of balls closest to the jack. Whoever has got the most points after all the rounds wins the match.

The Skills of Boccia

Some of the skills needed to play Boccia are:

  • Concentration - as you need to keep your eye on the ball and listen to the referee
  • You need to practise and know how hard or gently to throw the ball. It is all about accuracy!
  • Players also need to keep focused on the ball and during each round

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