I’m sure everybody is thinking hard about New Year Resolutions… This Post lists the Top 10 faults committed in the club. If you’re guilty, time for some New Year Resolutions :-)
- Not Playing as a Team.
Pétanque is a great team game but sometimes players play as isolated individuals, rather than playing and working together as a team. The key things that you should always do as a team:
- Agree Team Roles, i.e. Pointer, Middle and Shooter.
- Stand together as a team.
- Evaluate the head and agree what shot to play. If you’re going to point, then the Pointer will play the shot, if you’re going to shoot, then the Shooter will play the shot, the Middle player usually comes in when the others have played their shots. Remember: THERE IS NO SUCH THING as ”first, second and third”!
- Last but by no means least: TALK TO EACH OTHER!!! A good team will constantly talk to each other, agreeing what shot to play. Remember: even when you’ve played your boules, you’re still part of the team. Stay together, offer encouragement and advice.
- Standing Behind the Circle.
If you watch all the top teams, e.g. the French National, Masters series, World Championships, etc, one thing you’ll notice is how the teams always stand together at the jack. Why do they do this?
- It demonstrates you are working together and supporting each other as a team. Having one player at the jack, one behind the circle and another off the terrain shows you are not working as a team!
- You have a much better view to evaluate the head – the view from the circle is always deceptive.
- Frustration Shots.
This tends to happen more in Doubles than Triples – usually it’s the case where the Pointer has played a couple of boules but failed to win the point and then fires off a wild shot – invariably miles off the terrain! Again, a case of playing as separate individuals, rather than playing together as a team. What you will resolve to do next year:
- Stand together as a team.
- Evaluate the head and agree with the team what shot to play.
- If you’re (i.e. the team) is going to shoot, then the shooter takes the shot.
- Not Having a Tape.
What equipment do you need to play?
- A set of boules.
- A jack.
- A cloth to clean mud ”or any other substance” off your boules.
- A TAPE MEASURE!!! Measuring is one of the key components of the game and every player should have a tape or suitable measuring device.
NB Of course, you need to measure correctly and accurately. Another common fault is to attempt to measure to the centre of the jack. You should measure to the edge of the jack, as this is a clear line – the centre is not.
- Walking Across Games.
Walking across other games or in front of players practising shooting is at best impolite. At worse, you risk injury if hit by a boule.
- Playing Up and Down the same terrain.
One of the charms of pétanque is playing on Open terrain and varying the surface you play on. At Brighton, we are blessed with a large 40m long terrain that offers great scope for varying the game. If you spend all day only playing up and down the same spot you are really restricting the types of shots available to you.
- Moving the Circle.
This really follows on from the last point. The rules of the game state that you should draw the circle for the next end around the jack. The only exception is if you want to throw a longer jack and this is not possible. This can happen when playing on restricted terrains in competitions – which is why there is a rule to cover this – but 99% of the time playing on a large, open terrain it’s never an issue. What happens? Instead of playing on an open terrain, players move the circle back so they can play up and down the same spot. We have a local rule to cover this: You lose 1 point for every meter you move the circle and you must also move all the boules back!
- Removing Stones.
A) against the rules but more importantly B) against the spirit of the game. Pétanque is meant to be played on a slightly uneven, irregular terrain NOT a perfectly smooth, flat ”billiard table”. Slopes, dips, stones and other obstacles all add to the charm of the game and make for a more interesting and more skillful game. Removing stones removes this fundamental element of the game.
- 12 – 15m Jacks.
The rules state that the jack must be thrown between 6 and 10m. However, some players do tend to throw longer than this, more like 12 – 15m. A) against the rules but again more importantly B) against the spirit of the game. Although the jack can move up to 20m during a game, very few can shoot accurately at such distances – hence the 6 – 10m rule. This is again often a case of not playing as a team. Can your shooter shoot at such distances? If not, why are you throwing the jack so far? The tradition is that either the shooter throws the jack or at least agrees the distance they want it to be thrown. The best way is to know your team’s abilities, both pointing and shooting and consider the opponent’s abilities. Then agree with your team what you think is the distance that will best suit your own abilities whilst disadvantaging the opponents.
- Walking Around the Jack.
How often have you heard, “I think we’re holding – no, I think we’re on – look at it from this side – but if you look from this side, then we look on”, etc, etc!!! If you’re not sure which side is holding don’t spend 10 minutes with every player looking from every angle giving different opinions, instead measure straight away. Of course, you have got a measure, haven’t you!?