Build Your Knowledge

In a website you can’t write and tell people how to play better. And, the better player you are to start with the more difficult it is to gain that extra 10% improvement and the more specific are your coaching needs. The suggestions throughout all 4 of these sections are therefore aimed at mid-level players, those who enjoy Club days but would like to play better in competitions. Here are some ways to get there.

Why It’s Good To Know The Rules

It might not sound obvious but if you know the rules you will play better. Why? It makes you confident you know what you are doing. It allows you to take advantage of the rules when they’re in your favour, or not be disadvantaged through ignorance. If you are confident of the rules and your opposition are not you have a psychological advantage over them already.

Imagine after an end your opponent places the circle over the cosh, as is correct, but it’s quite close to another game’s circle. You let them know it should be moved 1.5 metres from any nearby circle in play. How do they feel? Maybe a little ignorant of an unusual rule, maybe a little impressed by your knowledge. Possible even put of their stride a little. Never underestimate how much of a mind game Petanque is. And never assume the umpires aren’t watching you!

When you talk about rules do not be surprised to get a gallic shrug of the shoulders! Petanque’s rules are not all that straightforward to follow and are sometimes imprecisely written. To help you understand the more commonplace rules they are summarised here under the Games menu. They apply to timed games only, and while they don’t cover everything they have been carefully vetted by a well qualified Victorian umpire.  If you want to read the official rules they are at the PFA website under the ‘About’ menu You’ll see there are the FIPJP (International Petanque Federation) global rules plus some special rules adopted for play in Australia by PFA.

Know The Etiquette

If you’ve only played at Club level you may not have come across some of the finer points of etiquette. Certainly standing in the right place is important. When the opposition are playing you should not be on the piste at all and you should be still and quiet so as not to distract the player. This is an extract of Article 17 of the Rules on PFA’s website -

“When a player is about to throw a boule all players must observe total silence. The opponents must not walk, gesticulate or do anything that could disturb the player about to play. Only his or her team-mates may remain between the circle and the jack. Opponents must remain beyond the jack or behind the player and, in both cases, to the side and at least 2 metres the one from the other”.

The 2 metres is unlikely to be measured but you get the point, don’t distract by accident, you would be embarrassed and that doesn’t make for confident play.

There are other subtle issues. You don’t have to help the other guys. Don’t offer an opinion whether the coche is between 6 or 10metres, that’s their call. You may challenge that after they have thrown their first boule. Don’t volunteer your opinion which team is holding when your opponents are playing. If someone asks how many boules have you got left you aren’t obliged to tell them, they can count what’s on the ground and work it out. Some of this may be a little extreme for normal Club games but if you are in an important final it just might make a difference.

There’s no book on Petanque etiquette but how to avoid making the more obvious embarrassing mistakes is briefly covered at the end of the Rules.