Over the last year, there has been a huge drive by Scottish Disability Sports (SDS) to encourage girls to take in the fast-growing sport of Boccia.
Many people still don’t know what Boccia is?! Boccia is a precision ball sport where athletes with severe physical disabilities compete at the local, national, and international levels. Originally intended for people with cerebral palsy, Boccia is now open to athletes with other severe disabilities affecting motor skills. Boccia is governed by the Boccia International Sports Federation (BISFed). The sport of Boccia is expanding and evolving on a global scale. Male and female players will be able to compete in separate events at a Paralympic Games for the first time in Paris 2024.
Recently, SDS held a Girls in Boccia event in Dundee on Saturday 3rd March 2023. I was curious to find out more about the opportunities to play Boccia and compete competitively as I am relishing a new horizon of what adaptive sports are available. I attended the Come and Try Sports event in Grangemouth last year and it was captivating! You can become excited in trying to beat your opponent while trying to remain focused and precise with the ball.
How to Play Boccia. The aim of the game is to throw red or blue leather balls as close to a white target ball, or jack, as possible from a sitting position. The jack is thrown first, followed by the first two regular balls (first, the player who threw the jack, then the opposing side), followed by the side furthest away from the jack going next in an attempt to either get closer to the jack or knock the opposing side’s ball out of the way. Each round, or end, will continue in this manner until one side has played all of their balls, at which point the opposing side will play their remaining balls. The balls can be moved with your hands, feet, or both. At the end of each end, the referee measures the distance between the balls closest to the jack and awards scores accordingly. Each ball that is closer to the jack than the opponent’s closest ball earns one point. The winner is the team/player with the most points at the end of the game. If both teams have the same number of points after all ends, the winner is determined by playing one more end.
The ‘Girls in Boccia’ event was a great social opportunity to meet other girls who were trying Boccia and to see if it appealed to them. One of the fascinating aspects of Boccia was that you have to be creative problem solvers and tactful in working out your opponent’s decision. This is where sports phycology comes in, being able to make decisions and see the objective from a different angle.
It is clear that Boccia is all about the mindset of being, sharp, tactful and precision. It truly grips players to be competitive! It requires a lot of continuous practice, dedication and patience to perfect the ball to the jack. Boccia can be played on a recreational and on competitive basis. Competitions are organised locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.
You can check-out the success of the event through these tweets: