The Sport of Petanque - A Beginners Guide
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History text & image from www.Petanque.org - "Get a Grip" from www.englishpetanque.org.uk - How to Play (modified) from www.wikihow.com/Play-Petanque.
© 2013-2017 Camberwell Petanque Club Inc. - All Rights Reserved

etanque is the latest branch on the enormous tree of jeu de boules.  Probably created in 1907 or 1910 in La
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Ciotat by Jules le Noir (there are several versions of the birth of pétanque, but the version of Jules le Noir is the most probable one).  The ancestor of pétanque was the game jeu provençal. Ernest Pitiot organised, some weeks after the birth of the new game, the first tournament and founded in 1945 the French Petanque Federation Fédération Française de Petanque et Jeu Provençal (FFPJP).  Petanque is by far the most practised game of bowls on earth, undoubtedly because of the simplicity of its rules.
The name pétanque is a derivation of the provençal word ped tanco and it means 'the feet together on the ground'.  This isi n contra-diction to the game of jeu provençal where the shooter can run up and the pointer must balance on one foot.
The Petanque player can delivered a boule in either a standing or a squatting position.
A Short History of Petanque
3 The starting team draws a circle in the ground
(≤ 50cm & ≥ 35cm) or use an official plastic ring
then throws the target ball or cochonnet (coch) out to a distance of between 6 to 10 meters.

   
4 The starting team then throws their first boule, trying to get as close as possible to the coch. Then the 2nd team's player stands in the circle, and tries to get their boule closer to the coch than the opposing team.  They can try to do this by rolling their boule; lobbing it; or even throwing it at the opposing team's boule moving it away.
   
5 If that team does get a boule closer than any of its    opponents, it's called "having the point" and then the opposing team has to attempt to throw a boule closer.
   
6 The team which does not have the closest boule (to the coch) keeps throwing boules until either they get closest, or they run out of boules to throw.
   
7 When all boules are thrown, only the boules of the one team that are closest to the coch are added to the running score.  That is, if team-A "has the point" and has 2 of it's 3 boules closest to the coch before then opposing team's boule (in this example, the 3rd closest boule), then team-A gets 2 points added to their score.
   
8 The teams continue to play until a team reaches 11 or 13 points (the team which won the point(s), starts the new round, placing  a circle around the position of the coch and uses that as the new throwing  position).
   
Things to Remember

The above is only a very basic introduction to the sport of Petanque.  There are a number of important skills and technics that have not been covered, including a number of additional rules.

A complete set of international rules can be found here.  Get an understanding of the terminology here.

An Invitation

The best way to learn about Petanque is to visit a local club and experience this exciting sport firsthand.  The friendly members of the Camberwell Petanque Club are always willing to demonstrate and help you get to know more about Petanque.
The Game

Petanque boules are madeof metal, and vary in size from 70mm to 80mm in diameter and weight from 680g to 800g. The playing surface is of gravel and hard-packed sand.  A pre-pared piste is 15 meters long and 4 meters wide and may or may not have a solid boundary.  The object is to stand in a circle, and roll; lob; throw your ball as close as possible to a target ball or cochonette (coch for short).  Only one team scores points per round, and the teams play as many rounds as it takes to arrive at 11 or 13 points.  The first team to arrive at the agreed points wins.
How to Hold a Boule

In order for a boule to release from the hand unhindered, it is necessary to allow the boule to position itself in the plam of your hand.  Lightly grip it and twist the arm so that the palm is facing up as shown in the pictures below.

Read more about holding a boule here.
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How to Throw a Boule

When throwing your boule keep your arm fully extended all the time Swing your arm back as far as possible and then forward again.  Judge the force you need to carry your boule to its target and where to release it as the hand rises in front of your body.
Make sure, when you release the boule that the fingers of the hand are fully extended and pointing towards the target, you only need one relaxed or bent finger to send the boule away from its true course; so concentrate when you throw a boule.

Watch one of the video clips here to see how its done.
How to Play (in 8 steps)
1 Players divide into two teams.
You can play 1 vs. 1 (3 balls per player); 2 vs. 2 (3 balls per player); or 3 vs. 3 (2 balls per player).
   
2 The teams need to agree on the points (11 or 13) and flip a coin to see who starts.