To start to play you will need to buy or
borrow some boules; but do not buy any until you have tried various weights and diameters and have
found a size that feels comfortable.
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.
Diameters are from 70.5 to 80mm and the weight must be between 650 and 800 grams. For Minors [11 years and under] the maximum diameter is 71mm with a maximum weight of 650 grams, Cadets [12 to 14 years old] 73mm and 680 grams, Juniors [15 to 17 years old] and Adults [18+] 80mm and 800 grams. Even the Hardness of the boule is governed, classified as Hard or Soft. Combining all these possible variations of weight and size together with the patterns and hardness gives over 2500 variations of boules!
With such a choice buying your first set of boules can be a daunting task. Advice is available.
Diameter: Try holding a 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.
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 metres, but the boule can roll some of the way. The 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.
Hardness:The hard boule is the choice of the pointer who, when applying backspin to the boule doesn’t want the hard landing on gravel to be detrimental to his boules. The shooter who is endlessly searching for the Spot Carreau chooses a soft boule that will absorb a great deal of the impact upon striking the oppositions boule thus tending to stay around the jack. The soft boule is generally more expensive and its life considerably shorter due to wear.
Pattern: The pointer chooses a boule with heavy stripes so that it grips the ground on landing and a great deal of control can be applied in side spin and back spin on the ground. A shooter chooses a smooth boule so that it leaves the hand cleanly at the chosen trajectory.
The novice would be wise to choose a hard boule between 690 grams and 720 grams with a middle-of-the-road pattern so they can practice both functions until they eventually specialise.
Further help on boules or Petanque can be found on the Pen – Y – Coed Petanque web site
a link to their web site is on our Links page.