Boccia FAQs

Boccia?...Tell me more

These are the questions people usually want to know when they first come to Boocia. If you want the International Rules then you need to go to the Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed) website at:

How do you play?

  • Boccia is a precision target sport, played indoors on a level surface. Each game is played with 1 white jack (target) ball; 6 red and 6 blue balls. The object is to get as many of your coloured balls closer to the jack than the other team’s coloured balls.

  • Played between two individuals, pairs or teams

  • Singles and pairs play 4 ends

  • Teams (3 players) play 6 ends

  • A referee controls the game and starts with a flip of the coin

  • A white ball called the ‘jack’ is the target ball

  • One team uses 6 red balls and the other team uses 6 blue balls

  • Players are able to propel the ball into court by any physical means, as long as they have complete control of the ball at the moment of release.

  • In order for a side to win the game they must have the highest score at the finish of 4 ends (in a team game in 6 ends)

  • Players are classified to create an even contest.

It seems more complicated that

  • They don’t seem to take it in turns - how do they know who goes next?

    The referee will indicate who has the next turn. If the red ball is closest to the jack, the player with the blue ball gets to go.

    Whoever throws the jack throws the first coloured ball.

    Playing the jack goes in sequence starting at the red box on right hand side (as you look at the athletes) then goes along.

  • How does the scoring work?

    The winning colour has the closest ball to the jack. The number of points scored for that end (maximum of 6) is calculated by the number of that colour ball that closer to the jack than the first ball of the opposing colour.

  • Does everyone need to sit in a wheelchair?

    No but the athlete must have at least one buttock in contact with the seat of the chair when the ball is released.

  • Who goes first?

    Red always goes first.

  • How do they know who gets to use red?

    The winner of a coin toss decides which colour they are going to play with.

  • Why do males and females compete against each other?

    As a Paralympic Sport, competitiveness is based on functionality, making Boccia one of the only sports where neither males nor females have a competitive advantage.

  • How do they decide on categories?

    For brief information on classification, see Boccia Classification or more details at the BISFed Classification Rules

  • What is the ‘v’ line for?

    The jack ball must cross the ‘v’ line and stay over the ‘v’ line to be considered a in the court, if it doesn’t the opposite team gets to throw the jack.

  • When is someone given a penalty?

    There are lots of reason. The main one is that the athlete or their equipment were out of their box when they threw their ball. See the Bisfed rules for more information

  • Some of the ramp athletes appear to be non-verbal. How can you play if you can’t give instructions?

    Not being able to speak does not mean that the athlete can’t give instructions. It is the athlete is in full control of the game. Most athletes who are non-verbal use a combination of eye gaze/facial gestures/hand gestures and body positioning to give fast, precise instructions to their ramp assistant.

  • Why do the ramp assistants keep swapping sides between ends?

    A game of strategy, athletes play to their advantage. By placing the jack ball on ‘their’ side of the court, they have a shorter distance to cover than their opponent. Due to the laws of physics, it is easier to take those precision shots over a shorter distance.

Boccia Rules

The rules of boccia can be found at the Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed) website:

Have a disability but don’t think you fit in the Bisfed classification?

In Australia there is an Open Category for which includes many people who don’t fit with the classification. This includes short statured people, people with neuromuscular conditions, such as the muscular dystrophies, and acquired brain injury.

Don’t use a wheelchair?

The rules state that the player must one buttock on a chair when the ball is realised.

Our Boccia Booklet

Also click here to view our Introduction To Boccia Booklet.

Website Developed By: Jessica Irwin DARE2BU