We are proud to offer Boccia at SportsAble, a Paralympic sport that is growing in popularity all over the UK.
People of all ages and abilities play together and it is a very serious, controlled, strategic game but at the same time our sessions are fun and have a huge social element as well.
We have members ranging in age from 7 to 75 and we all get along and encourage each other and develop together as a squad. Parents and spouses friends and family members who bring disabled people along to the session end up joining in as the game is addictive and fun – and it is the perfect sport for able bodied and disabled players to play together. This makes boccia very rare and special indeed.
Boccia can be played by people with any disability. For more severely disabled players we have assisted ramps available. We have expert coaches on hand each week to help newcomers so please drop in!
For those who aren’t familiar with this ‘new’ sport please read the boccia factsheet below. We look forward to seeing you soon.
What is Boccia?
Boccia (pronounced ‘botcha’) is an international Paralympic sport similar to bowls, boules and petanque. Hugely enjoyable and easy to learn and perfect, the idea of this game of skill and strategy is to throw your balls closest to the ‘jack’, the white ball, to win.
Boccia is ideal for athletes in either power or manual wheelchairs as the main rule of the game is that players must remain seated throughout; ambulant players throw from a chair. There are 13 balls played in each end of a game; one white ball, six red balls and six blue balls. Opposing teams take one of the two sets of coloured balls. The balls are soft and pliable, allowing players to grasp and maintain a good grip on the ball before each throw.
How do you play Boccia?
Each player sits in a 1m x 2.5m ‘box’ and this is where they throw the ball from. A Boccia court is marked out on the sports hall floor (often using the length and breadth of a badminton court as a marker) and each team takes it in turns to start a game by throwing the white ball. Then, the player who threw the jack goes first with their coloured ball and then the other team throw their ball. Play then continues with the team whose ball is furthest away from the jack throwing next. Each end finishes when all 13 balls have been played. A referee then measures which balls as closest – the red or the blue – and awards points accordingly.
Is it a team sport?
Boccia can be played in several ways. Each side has 6 balls and each game is made up of several ends. A ‘side’ can be 1 person; 2 people; 3 people or 6 people – it depends on how many people are competing. If 1 person is playing against another person then each competitor uses all 6 balls. If 2 people are playing against another pair then each player uses 3 balls each per end, and so on.
Can anyone play?
Of course! Boccia is a very inclusive and sociable game and can be played in a competitive situation or for fun with people of all ages. Boccia was designed originally as a sport for players with cerebral palsy. However, the sport has really taken off and people of all ages and abilities are playing this addictive game all around the world.
What equipment do you need?
SportsAble has all the gear required so when you come along to each session just bring yourself and a readiness and willingness to learn and play.
Our most recent successes:
One of our players, Penny Froude, joined the England Squad in August 2014! She has flown the flag for SportsAble and her country at two internationals in Prague and Poland.
Tia Ruel, 18, is a member of the Boccia England Lions Squad (England B Team) and will be representing England in an under-21s competition in Russia in June 2016.
Anton Walton is a member of the Boccia England Talent Squad.