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For any player positively motivated to develop his/her personal game, there are useful practices that can be worked at in order to improve aspects of match play skills.


Whilst we all enjoy the challenge of playing a game against others, and after all this is the basis of the sport, and whilst many of us also very much enjoy the social side of Petanque, which is all part of it, there aren’t always other players around.   Therefore, it’s useful to have a few ideas up your sleeve of what can be achieved by yourself.  Indeed it can be far more beneficial to repeat the same shot over and over again, to groove the technique, rather than to be involved with the unpredictable challenge of match play when your next shot will depend on the unpredictable situation the opponent has left.

Practicing on your own can be rather boring, but there are some challenges and situations which a lone player can set up to make it more interesting, enjoyable and helpful in the development of technique and skill.  Here’s an example of a scenario that can usefully be tackled by a single player.

Kit needed: circle to play from, 1 jack, 4 or 5 spare boules plus your own set of 3 boules, measuring tape and a tool to mark the position of the boules so that they may be re-spotted exactly as they were.

Set up the scenario at the head as if a playing real match, and perhaps start at around 6metres before moving to play at other distances.

Place the jack on the piste with the opponents boules placed as follows:

  1. About 20 cms directly in front of the jack

  2. About 15 cms directly behind

  3. At 20 cms to the right (3 o’ clock)

  4. At 20 cms to the left (10 o’ clock)

  5. The 5th opponents’ boule is optional but could be placed at the far end

of the piste where it might pick up the point should the jack end up there.

The player now has 3 boules to deliver in order to try and win the end by as many points as possible.  The choice of which shot to play is entirely the player’s own.  Once all 3 boules have been delivered, total up the points scored for yourself or the opponent.  This carries over to the next end with the identical set-up, although the playing distance may be varied.

The winner is the first to reach 13 points, which will be you, the active player, or your absent opponent.

This practice can be played by a player using all types of delivery, or may be “conditioned” whereby it’s only pointing deliveries that can be used (appropriate for players concentrating on improvement of  pointing techniques).

As the player becomes familiar with this method of practice, there will be many alternative scenarios that can usefully be made up to develop other skills and to keep the interest and enthusiasm going.

As always, any type of practice may be usefully enhanced by playing on various terrain surface types.

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