How To Score Bocce Ball Like A Pro

How To Score Bocce Ball

Bocce Ball has been around for centuries and is easy and fun. To learn more about playing and how to score Bocce Ball, keep reading.

It started as a game devised by the Romans to pass the time and it is now a beloved game around the globe. Bocce ball is a low-intensity game that can be enjoyed by all ages. It meets the main criteria for games in that it is fun. 

But another criteria for games is winning, so it is important to know the rules and how to score bocce ball.

Scoring in bocce ball is done after each frame when both teams have thrown their 4 balls. The team that threw one of their balls closest to the pallino ball wins one point for each of their balls that is closer to the pallino ball than the other team’s closest ball. If 2 balls are equal distance to the pallino ball, the next closest ball will break the tie.

In this post, we share all you need to know about playing and scoring bocce ball. It is a great game for family and friends and has proven physical and mental health benefits. You get some light cardio and stress relief. 

We have the guide for you to become a bocce ball pro. Then all you have to do is share with your family, and let the fun begin.

How Do You Keep Score In Bocce Ball

There is a lot going on with bocce ball, but you need an easy way to keep score. You can buy bocce ball scoreboards to help. There are many bocce ball scoreboards out there, so it is important to get a good one you can rely on. Amazon has several that range in price.

If you are looking for a reliable but affordable score board for your family fun, the Midwest-Masterpiece Magnetic Scoreboard is the best option. Magnetic pins make keeping score easy and you can use the board for other games like bag toss too. 

It packs up for easy storage when not in use and the manufacturer supports local communities with percentages of the profits they make.

Midwest-Masterpiece Upright Magnetic Scoreboard Bocce Ball
  • Superior powder coated steel plate will not rust
  • Durable vinyl decal overlay for years of use
  • Upgraded pawn magnetic pins for a secure hold
  • Numbers spaced evenly from 0-21
  • Oversized fender washer provided for magnet storage

Last update on 2024-04-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For the bocce ball enthusiasts that take the game real serious and want a more elaborate board, the ScoreTower on Amazon is a great deal. This board is a higher price, but it also comes with a drink holder. 

This board is held in the ground securely with a Rugged Stake apparatus. Color-coded pins can be used to easily identify your team colors.

ScoreTower - Scoreboard & Drinkholder for Bocce Ball
  • Provides players and spectators with game score Double drink holder holds cans, bottles, coozies, and mugs Includes 5 Color-coded ScoreClamps to match your team’s colors

Last update on 2024-04-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Whatever your budget is, you want to get a scoreboard for your bocce ball games. There is a lot of action going on and winning depends on keeping an accurate score. The right scoreboard will always make sure you know who is winning.

How Do You Score Points In Bocce Ball

After balls are played, their distance from the pallino ball is measured. The captain has to agree on these measurements. One point will be awarded to the team that has a ball closest. 

Between one and four points will be awarded. In each frame you can win all four points if each of your balls are closer to the pallino than the opposing teams’ balls.

One point will be given to every ball that is closer to the pallino than the closest ball of the opposite team. Whichever team scored in the previous frame will throw the pallino ball for the next frame. Each team plays all their balls again, trying to get close to the pallino ball again.

Sometimes the teams can both have a ball of equal distance to the pallino. In this case the captain will likely call it a tie. In a tie, no core is assigned. Play will continue at the opposite end. The team that did score points in the previous frame will throw the pallino ball.

Two terms that are important in scoring are “inside” and “outside”.

  • Inside: The team who has bocce balls closest to the pallino
  • Outside: The opposing team

When a team is inside, they must step aside and let the outside opposing team roll the ball. The outside team will throw their balls until they beat the inside team. No ties are allowed at this point. Play will continue in this way until each team has played all 4 of their balls.

Each team will be awarded a point for every ball they have closer to the pallino than the closest ball of the opposing team. An example of scoring is as below:

  • At the end of a frame, 8 balls have been played. There are 4 green balls and 4 red balls.
  • If there are 2 green balls closer to the pallino than the next closest red ball, the green team will get 2 points.
  • The green team will throw the pallino for the next frame
  • Only one team will score per each frame

The team that gets 16 points first wins the game. You cannot score more than 16 points, and a match will never be “win by two”. A match will be forfeit if the final score is 16 to 0.

There are some great moves to use when looking to score or preventing the opposing team from scoring. You need to choose each play if you want to aim for the pallino, move other balls closer to the pallino, or block your opponent. 

If you are already the closest to the pallino, a good strategy is to block or knock the opposing team’s balls. This way you can try and save the points for yourself.

How Is Bocce Ball Played

A frame is completed once all balls for each team have been played. There can be two, four, or eight players per team. Each team will throw four balls per frame. A top-rated bocce ball set on Amazon will have complete sets of colored balls for two teams.

Amazon Basics Bocce Ball Set with Soft Carry Case
  • Full-size bocce balls measure 100mm each
  • Set includes 4 green balls, 4 red balls, 1 white pallino, and 1 measuring device
  • Poly-resin composite for long-lasting strength
  • Black carrying case included
  • Appropriate for ages 14 and up

Last update on 2024-04-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The frame starts by tossing the pallino, a specially marked ball, into the playing area. The playing area will be marked with a center line and two four-feet lines at each end. 

The first pallino toss will be determined by coin toss. After that, the toss of the pallino is determined by the winner of each frame.

The team that did not throw the pallino will throw the first ball. Then the opposing team plays their first ball. The team that has the bocce ball furthest from the pallino gets to then throw all the remaining balls. 

The goal is to get as close to the pallino as possible. The opposing team then throws their remaining balls to end the frame.

The team that has a bocce ball closest to the pallino wins points. The winning team will start the next frame. Each frame that is played takes place at alternating sides of the court. The first team to get to 16 points wins. 

The beginning section of this article explains how to score bocce ball and give out points.

What Are The Rules of Bocce Ball

As with any game, there are rules to follow in bocce ball. First, the pallino must pass the center line when thrown. It also cannot pass the furthest line at the other end of the court and must lie within one foot of each sideboard.

When playing the game, the following rules apply:

  • When you are trying to score, players cannot cross the point line (first) line.
  • When knocking an opponent’s ball, the player cannot cross the shooting line (second) line.
  • If the pallino is hit past the opposing point line or against the backboard during play, play will continue. If the pallino is hit in front of the halfway line, play has to be restarted.
  • Any ball that is knocked out of the court is called dead and does not count towards play or scoring.

Beach Bocce Ball Rules & Scoring

Bocce ball is also a popular beach game. It is played similarly to regular bocce ball. Teams can be single players or doubles. When there are two players, each player gets a pair of color matched balls. 

For three or four players, one pair of color-matched balls goes to each person. Doubles will get one pair of color-matched balls.

The goal is the same. Get as close as possible to the jack (the same as a pallino in regular bocce ball). You get a point for each ball you have closer to the jack. Points are only given for balls that are closer than the closest ball of the opposing team or player. First team to 13 points will win.

To start, draw a shooting circle in the sand. The circle needs to be between 5 and 8-feet wide. To decide which team plays first, stand in the circle and toss one ball towards the jack. Whoever gets their ball closer to the jack will throw first for the game.

Scoring will be the same as regular bocce ball. Be sure to bring string with you to measure the close calls. There are beach bocce ball sets available on Amazon, complete with carrying case so it can go with you on any beach outing.

Franklin Sports Bocce Ball Set — 8 All Weather 90mm Soft Bocce Balls and 1 Pallino — Beach, Backyard Lawn or Outdoor Party Game
  • FUN FOR EVERYONE: This set is best played outdoors at the beach, the park, or in the backyard, but is soft and versatile enough to use indoors as well.
  • FOUR PLAYER SET: This set includes all that you need for your next game with (8) all-weather soft PVC bocce balls: (2) red, (2) yellow, (2) green and (2) blue
  • PALLINO INCLUDED: Comes complete with (1) 40mm soft scoring jack so you'll have a complete set that's ready to play out of the box
  • FUN FOR EVRYONE: The softer material brings a unique twist to the classic bocce game and makes this set safe and fun for players of all ages.
  • COMPACT CARRYING: The carrying case provides ample room for the entire set of Franklin bocce balls, and is lightweight and portable enough to keep your bocce ball set compact and easy to carry

Last update on 2024-04-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How To Throw A Bocce Ball

Throwing a bocce ball is known as bowling. There are certain techniques to throwing the ball to get a better chance at scoring. Throwing underhanded is the best as it allows players to have more power and control, due to the weight of the ball

You also want to throw the ball slightly into the air, rather than rolling it the entire way.

The most common way to grip the bocce ball is to place your palm underneath with your fingertips resting at the front of the ball. You can also hold the ball from above, flicking the wrist forward as you release it, although this is less common.

Aim for the point on the ground slightly in front of where you want your ball to rest. With low-angled throws, you need to account for the momentum of the ball. Aim further in front of your target point. If you throw too high, it will not roll as far forward.

When it comes to scoring in bocce ball, there are a few techniques to use to help you get those points and win the game.

  • Pointing Technique: The ball is rolled gently to get close to the pallino. The arm is kept straight and swings like a pendulum. This throwing method is best for the first ball played. Using this at other times could result in knocking your balls out of the way.
  • Spocking: This play is used to hit another ball. Hit one of your balls to move it closer to the pallino or to hit an opponent’s ball out of the way. Do not use a backspin with this shot and take care because if it lands wrong, you may knock your own points out of the way.
  • Banking: These shots are used to get around other balls in play. Your ball is bounced against the rails to angle it towards other places. This is best used when the pallino is close to the rails.
  • Blocking: You use this move to put your balls in front of an opposition’s balls. You are trying to prevent them from getting closer to the pallino so it is more difficult for them to get points.

How Many Balls In Bocce Ball Set

Bocce ball sets will usually come with 8 balls. There will be two colors, four balls in each color. Some sets can have four colors, with two balls of each one. 

You get the set that best suits how many teams you plan on having when you play. You also get a pallino ball, which is white and will be smaller than the other balls in the set.

Franklin Sports Bocce Ball Set — 8 All Weather Bocce Balls and 1 Pallino
  • FUN FOR EVERYONE. This go-to complete classic sport can be enjoyed by all ages. Bocce Ball is best played on outdoor surfaces such as grass, sand, or dirt
  • ALL WEATHER balls are 100mm solid resin bocce balls. (2) red, (2) yellow, (2) green and (2) blue are included in the bocce ball set
  • PALLINO: (1) 50mm scoring jack
  • PERFECT for the beach, backyard, an outing or your next party. It's all about the details and this bocce set has all you need for a day of fun
  • DELUXE CARRY BAG for easy storage and transport

Last update on 2024-04-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Helpful Tips On Winning At Bocce Ball

Now you know the rules, you know how to play, and you know where to get the best sets and scoreboards. All that is left is to start playing. While fun is the main goal, winning isn’t too bad either. Some helpful tips to make you the winner are below:

  • A Winning Stance: The two beneficial stances are standing and crouching. Standing has been shown to be a stronger stance for power and control. Make sure your feet are shoulder-length apart. The foot you will lead with will be the same side as your dominant hand.
  • Good Grip: Your grip matters so make sure it is in good shape before you play. Your grip needs to be soft but also firm. Do not hold it with force and use your index finger and thumb to control the direction and power of the toss.
  • Plan The Throw: Think about the throw beforehand. Look at the position of the pallino and other balls in play.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are just learning to play bocce ball or just want a guide to get better, we have all you need. Our guide explains play, rules, and how to score bocce ball, so you can sharpen your skills or learn a new family game. 

There are many variations, playing surfaces, and court sizes for bocce ball. Our guide gives you the basics so you can get started. Now it’s time to get out there and have some fun.

Drew Thomas

My name is Drew Thomas and I’m the creator of Fun In the Yard, your one stop site for all your outdoor games, sports, party activities, outdoor gear, and lawn & gardening tips.

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