Different weight and size of boule.
There are two types, Leisure and Competition, both similar in appearance. The important difference is that competition boules are intended for competition play, made to a higher specification, vary in diameter, weight, hardness and pattern, with unique identifying marks and they will not dent as recreational ones do.
Diameters are from 70.5 to 80mm and the weight must be between 650 and 800 grams.
In France, 80 % of players use average diameters (72 to 74) and weights (700 to 730).

Correct weight

On a gravel surface a smaller and heavier boule will take a straighter and more consistent path through the variations of the surface. A heavy boule may cause problems in throwing to 10 meters, but the boule can roll some of the way. A shooter will often need to throw the full length to strike boule to boule. The weight is critical, 680 grams to 700 grams are usually preferred and the bigger the better.

Correct Size

Try holding the boule palm down at arms length with little or no help from your thumb, your fingers should wrap just over halfway round the boule and the boule should not slip from your grasp. If it is slipping it is too big, and if it is too small it will not release cleanly from the fingers and will in both cases affect the direction and distance the boule travels. Start with a small boule and work up until the boule feels too big and then step down a size.


• Palm on top
• Fingers close together - Thumb hardly used

  1. Stance

A stable stance is vital for throwing a boule, find out which positions are most comfortable.

a. Comfortable
. Feet together in line with the game.
b. Balanced. Feet touching but one behind the other in line with the game. Forward Foot corresponding to throwing arm.
c. Aligned. Feet apart. Forward foot corresponding to throwing arm.
  1. Standing

To be used for longer distance play 8m and more.

a. Comfortable: The feet are quite flat within the circle.

b. Balanced: The body is upright for pointing high, bent slightly forward for pointing
medium-high and bent well forward for the other points.

c. Aligned: The shoulders and the whole of the body face into the game.
The eyes are fixed on the jack.
  1. Squatting

to be used for short distance plays 6 to 8 m

a. The soles of the feet are not fully on the ground: The heels are raised.
b. Balanced: The trunk is almost upright, just slightly leaning forward.
c. Aligned: The shoulders are at right angles to the proposed trajectory and the elbow of the balancing arm is raised. The eyes are fixed on the jack.

The Throw

• Aim
• Smooth backswing
• Follow through
• Correct release

The movement of the arm should be smooth and should be without any stiffness. Full extension without elbow interference. The only movement is at the shoulder and the wrist.

To aim, the throwing arm is extended towards the target.

The backswing begins as the arm swings back, elbow next to the body, and the hand holding the boule pivots cocking the wrist.

The forward swing, or follow-through commences slowly…accelerating to the point of releasing the boule as in the manner of a hammer swinging at a nail. During this forward swing the arm remains straight and without any stiffness. As it returns forward, the wrist remains cocked all the way to the base of the swing. The fulcrum of this arc path is past the leg before the arm begins its upward scoop towards the point of release. The wrist begins un-cocking here. The hand should pass near the leg which acts as a guide; hence the importance of placing the feet correctly in the throwing circle.

The other arm should take the part of the counterbalance, helping the player to keep balance.

Having reached the height of the beginning aim position, the hand now opens in a single snap-like release as the ball leaves the hand from the fingertips, not as if it were being dropped. Gradually releasing the finger’s pressure on the ball will cause you to “drop” the ball.

The eyes are kept fixed on the object or the place aimed at.

The legs are involved in the movement - the knees can bend - but the heels do not leave the ground.


"Read" the terrain as a golfer reads the line of a putt. Predict the path of the ball from where it first will touch the ground (la donnée) to where you want it to stop. The terrain will show you which type of pointing method to use.

There are three main pointing throws in Pétanque.

a. The Rolling Point ( la Roulette)
b. The Half Lob (la Demi-Portée)
c. The High Lob (la Portée sometimes called la Plombée)

The Rolling Point (Roulette)

The last of the pointing throws is the rolling throw, as the name implies your boule is rolled all the way from your circle to the jack. We’ve said that there are two styles of pointing. Well there is a variation of the standing style where you bend forward from your waist and release the boule close to your feet.

Note: Whether you stand, bend forward or squat to make a throw depends largely on the type of terrain you are using. As a general rule for pointing, you need to be higher off the ground on a terrain that is rough and closer to the ground when the terrain is smooth.

The Half Lob (Demi-Portée)

The most frequent and common way of pointing is the "half lob". Most players adopt this as their standard form for throwing their boule. The half lob is throwing your boule so that it lands between the circle where you are standing and the target, allowing the boule to run along the terrain for the rest of the way to the target. The terrain needs to be reasonably smooth, to allow the boule to roll forward in a line directly to the target. You will pay particular attention to where your ball lands so that you can adjust your next throw as necessary.

The High Lob (Portée)

The "high lob" is the most difficult of the three pointing throws, and requires a great deal of height and a lot of backspin to prevent the boule rolling forward too much. The idea is to throw the boule up and landing as close to the jack as possible, then stopping without moving forward too much. At times the throw is executed so well that the boule stops dead where it lands. The throw is difficult to master but a very effective one when carried out correctly. This throw is particularly useful on rough and uneven terrains.


Shooting is the act of hitting an opponent’s boules out of the way. Shooting is an option if your opponent’s ball is difficult to out-point which would otherwise cause your team to waste balls in trying. In this way, shooting will clear the path enabling your team to point close to the bouchon. Shooting also increases the ball advantage for your team and pressures your opponent to try to point close again. Shooting also removes opponent’s boules to increase your teams score. Shooting the jack out of play is sometimes necessary to start the hand anew.

Shooting Styles include shooting along smooth ground to remove boules and shooting in the air to remove boules. Shooting through the air is used both when the ground is smooth or when the terrain is rough. Both are effective for different reasons and depend on your own abilities and strengths. Every good shooter, to be fully effective, should have both techniques available, depending on the circumstances.

  1. Shooting along smooth ground (a la raffe)

Usually, shooting on the ground is the beginning style most people start with. Shooting along smooth ground is to throw a boule with controlled force to hit the ground first and then the target ball or balls. It is thrown a few meters in front of the target boule(s), or the jack.

The arm-swing is forceful and rapid and the boule leaves the hand by the fingertips. On touching the ground there should be a slight backspin. The boule moves rapidly along the ground until it makes contact.

  1. The One Bounce Shot

This method is differentiated from the previous one because it uses less force and greater precision.

The boule is thrown to land about one to two meters in front of the object to be shot and is often deadly because your ball often stays around within the area.

  1. Shooting through the air (au fer)

The shooting form and stance is essentially the same as in pointing with the only difference being that you are applying more power to hit the boule directly. This is a precision shot.

In principle, it is easier to shoot a boule away on rough terrain than it is to point a boule close to the jack.

In this diagram there is no arc shown for the direct hit Shot. This is fundamentally wrong and this picture depicts perfectly the mistake most beginning shooters make. This style of shot takes twice the energy to perform and is unpredictably disruptive to balls you don’t wish to disturb.

The ideal arc depends entirely on the distance the target ball is from you. The longer the shot…the higher the arc you will need.


• Offensive Pointing
• Defensive Pointing
• Promoting a boule
• Moving the jack
• Spinning around an obstacle

  Offensive pointing
When your opponents have pointed a good ball but it’s determined that it is not worth shooting out, ALWAYS point in the direction of the opponents ball with the intention of coming to rest right against their ball. The result is that the opponents will not shoot your ball when their ball behind it will also get shot out. If you did not earn the point out-right, do the same thing again with the intention of gently touching your ball to gently bump their ball away

  Defensive Pointing
Defensive pointing means to block the opponents pointing lanes especially late in the hand. Here, you are trying to reduce your opponent’s opportunities to easily point right to the jack. Every defensive point is thrown short to close the middle line and then either/both the right side or the left depending on your opponents throwing styles, i.e. is one of them left handed?

  Promoting a boule
Promoting your teams’ ball is a powerful play. Here, you play hard enough in the direction of your teams’ ball in order to push it into owning the point. Play only hard enough to bump your ball into winning the point and soft enough that if you miss the bump, you will still earn the point. It moves it only a short distance, generally taking its place if it is another boule; or, if it is the jack, moving it only a little way.

  Moving the jack
This too is a powerful play. It is a low percentage play owing to the small size of the jack. The same principles in promoting your boule apply to moving the jack. Don’t waste your boule by throwing too hard in an all out effort. Play softly enough to drag the jack back to your team’s boules behind the jack but still keeping your ball in the game.

  Spinning around an obstacle
It is possible to reach the jack by curling around previously played boules where a bump is determined to be too dangerous or otherwise unavailable.

In order to increase the curl on the boule, spin must be applied to the ball before it reaches the ground. To give the boule this rotating movement as you release the boule keep the fingers slightly flexed as it leaves the hand.

Also the foot corresponding to the throwing arm no longer faces into the game, it is turned very slightly to the left for a left curl and to the right for a right curl.

For a right-handed player:
To 'curl' a boule, the general rule is not to have the palm of the hand facing the ground, but to rotate it slightly to the right - to go to the right – or rotated to the left, to go to the left. At the moment of releasing the boule, the thumb will be facing the ground to curve a boule to the right and the thumb will be pointing to the sky to curve the ball to the left.

  • Tactics

General Tactics of a Game of Petanque

In the game of petanque the teams do not play simultaneously but one after the other. The team which starts the game has, an initial disadvantage, since the opponent has one more boule in hand than they have. It follows that the team that throws second has the advantage until they miss. Keeping track of this ball advantage is key to winning and determines when you should point and when you should shoot.

This advantage can be worth one point for every boule held, in real life this is rarely attained.

When your team as the ball advantage you must decide whether to point or shoot. When there is a choice between shooting and pointing, use the method which looks most likely to succeed.

In petanque, shooting is not necessarily attacking and pointing is not necessarily defending.

Shooting to defend a point or pointing to attack will enable you to regain the advantage.

Even if you have the advantage, you should point if the opponents' most recent boule is poor and easy to outpoint. Be sure that the nature of the surface or the skill of the opponents does not leave you open to attack. There are many elements which have to be taken into account including your own skill when you adapt your tactics.

Consider shooting to reduce the opponents' score or break up the game, send the jack out, scattering the boules even if the opponents have one or more boules more than you.

Nobody is immune from making an error of play, though this is usually a case of failing to carry out an attempted throw.