Derived from the Italian word meaning to bowl, Boccia is among the oldest family of sports. Ancient Egypt carvings date the sport back to 5200BC. Prior to being introduced as a competitive sport at the New York 1984 Paralympic Games, Boccia was a popular recreation activity among school children and seniors. When first introduced competitively, Boccia was only played by athletes with cerebral palsy involving a wheelchair. Today it is a played competitively at national and international level by athletes with a number of neurological conditions involving a wheelchair. Boccia is one of only two sports which do not have an Olympic counterpart (Goal Ball being the other). The goal of the game is to throw the game balls so that they land as close as possible to the target ball known as the “jack”.
How to PLAY Boccia
Boccia consists of four rounds in individuals and pairs competitions and six rounds in the team competition. All events are mixed gender. It is played on a hard surface with court dimension 12.5m by 6m. The starting team throws the “jack” and the first game ball. Thereafter teams alternate to try to get their game ball closest to the “jack”. Depending on your classification athletes may choose to kick the ball or use assistive devices like ramps.
Basic Rules of Boccia
Click here to download the rule book created by the Boccia International Federation for all national and international sanctioned events.
Who can play Boccia
To be eligible to play individuals must have impairments affecting all four limbs. This could be either severe neurological impairment including spastic hypertonia, dystonia, athetosis and ataxia or have severe locomotor dysfunction such as muscular skeletal disorders and limb deformities to compete in sport.
To learn more please refer to the Classification Rules found below in 'Resources'.
Athletes are classified based on measures of Spasticity and Muscle strength. They then fall under the following 4 classifications:
|BC1||Players with cerebral palsy, brain injury or similar who have some difficulties with trunk and hand control. Players can compete with the help of an assistant, who remains outside of the athlete's playing box and can only assist at the player's request. Players may use their hands or feet to propel the ball into the playing area.|
|BC2||Players with cerebral palsy, brain injury or similar who are able to pick up, throw the ball and manoeuvre their chairs independently during play. Players are not eligible for assistance during a game.|
|BC3||Players who are unable to throw or kick the ball, so use a ramp and other devices to help them to play. Players use a ramp assistant, who sits in front of the player with their back to the play and positions the ramp and balls according to the players' instruction.|
|BC4||Players with weakness in their arms and legs, for reasons other than cerebral palsy or brain injury, whoa re able to pick up, throw the ball and manoeuvre their chairs independently during play. Players are not eligible for assistance during a game.|
How Do I Get Classified?
To determine your classification you can contact your peak disability sports organization in your state or territory listed below in 'Who Runs the Sport?'.
If you are unsure you can also request classification via an online form with the Australian Paralympics Committee found here.
Boccia is a game that requires extreme concentration and tactics. Whether you like individual or team sports, Boccia offers both. A pathway exists for participants to compete at all levels from local competitions to representing their state at national competitions and possibly even on to international competitions such as World Championships and Paralympics so why not get involved?
Where Is it Played
For more information on local or state based Boccia competitions please contact your state affiliation listed in “Who Runs The Sport”.
To find out more about the competition pathway please the state office listed below under “Who runs the Sport”.
Become an Official
Boccia has two levels of accreditation within Boccia Australia for referees.
Level 1 Accreditation: Enables referees to officiate at social, local and state competitions.
Level 2 Accreditation: Enables referees to official at competitions plus National competitions.
To learn more and apply to become an official please visit the Boccia Australia page here.
Become a Classifier
There are two types of classifiers, medical and technical. The following prerequisites are required to be eligible for classifier training:
Medical classifiers: Currently registered medical professional (physiotherapist or medical doctor); with minimum 5 years clinical experience with people with physical disabilities. It is an advantage to have a background in boccia or classifying wheelchair sports.
Technical classifiers: Must hold a Bachelor or Master degree in sport science/ kinesiology / human movement science or other equivalent; and badminton experience.
It is crucial that classifiers have a strong understanding of Boccia. To ensure this, candidates must have experience in boccia either as a participant, volunteer, coach or administrator.
To find out more about the classifier pathway contact the Australian Paralympic Committee via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +61 2 9704 0500.
Become a Volunteer
Volunteer at state/local competitions through contacting the local offices stated below in ‘Who Runs the Sport?’.
Please contact your state office (listed in “Who Runs The Sport” section below) for details about up-coming state and local competitions.
UPCOMING NATIONAL EVENTS
For any upcoming National events please visit our upcoming events page.
UpCOMING International EVENTS
For any upcoming International events please visit our upcoming events page.
WHO RUNS THE SPORT?
STATE / TERRITORIES
New South Wales
P: (02) 4954 3473
Boccia South Australia
P: (04) 5960 6029
P: 0409 021 849
Boccia Western Australia
P: (04) 0051 3943
Physical DisABILITY Sports Tasmania
P: (03) 6272 7513
Australian Capital Territory
P: (02) 6262 8670
Get in Contact
How to Play Boccia from Boccia New Zealand
Information about Boccia from Boccia Australia
Athlete Profile Fiona Lyons from Boccia Australia
International Rulebook from Boccia International Sports Federation
Classification Rules from Boccia International Sports Federation