Abergavenny Petanque Club
A Brife Introduction to the Game of Pétanque
Pronounced "pay-tank", sometimes called boules, this is a game that can be enjoyed by all the family and socially with friends for fun or more competitively up to European and World Championship levels.
French in origin, it is now played right across the world and is one of the most inclusive activities available where people of all ages, gender, ability and fitness can play equally together.
Did you know?
The most highly regarded of throws in pétanque is the "carreau". This is when a player shoots their opponent's boule in such a manner that their boule stops in exactly the same position as the original boule. It's not as easy as it sounds so why not give it a try?
Played with hand-sized metal boules on various types of dirt or gravel surfaces (terrains) the object of the sport is to get as many of your team's boules closer to a small wooden ball (jack) than that of your opponents.
All boules of one team nearer to the jack than any boule of the opponent's counts for one point each. Usually all games are up to 13 points.
Classically the sport is a team game of Triples (3 players with 2 boules each) or Doubles (2 players with 3 boules each) though pétanque can also be played as Singles (1 player with 3 boules).
There are two main roles in pétanque:-
1) Pointer - tries to get their boule as close as possible to the jack
2) Shooter - tries to remove an opponent's boule
The basic rules are simple and new players can start playing straight away but the various techniques of pointing and shooting as well as the tactics can take years of practice to master.
Boules vs. Bowls
Unlike in bowls where teams always alternate play, in pétanque a team only throws their boule when the opponent's boule is closer to the jack. Therefore if your team's boule is closest to the jack it is deemed as holding the point and your opponents keep playing their boules until they are closer or out of boules.
Why is it good for you?
Pétanque is perfect as a low impact exercise involving throwing, bending and walking. However it also requires team play, concentration, tactics and strategy. Being a relatively inexpensive activity the social side of the sport is another of its great benefits.
As long as you can hold and throw a boule you can play Petanque. The rules have also been adapted to include players who use wheelchairs or walking sticks for mobility.
The only equipment you will need is a set of boules to get you started we will be able to loan you sets as well as advise where and what boules to buy should you wish to do so.
Competition class boules are sold in sets of 3 by different weights, sizes, patterns and hardness and the cost starts from around £50 a set.
If you would like to know more about the Game of Petanque or our Club please click on the relevant page on the left hand side of this site.