Team Play/Match play/Tactics/Making the most of an End/Team Building/Effectivity
Here we are looking at Petanque tactics. All the hours of practice put in on the piste can be wasted in the game if you are using the wrong tactics. We will look at options and match play
What shot to play?
Before we get into tactics we will look at Teamplay starting with top tips from top players.
In this series we look at how top players have reached the top of play in the UK. Names will be kept to save embarrassment for as you all know it is easier to say than to do.
Here we look at some tips we have not covered in our practice and tactics series and well worth a mention. The key to Petanque is Belief. Belief in yourself and belief in your teammates. Working together to get that important win means you need to be a close unit all knowing what you and your team are capable of as well as the limitations of your team. There is little point going all out to hit six boule an end when one of you team has never hit a boule in their life! So the basics are teamwork and how you can inspire and encourage you team for example,
1.As we have said team play is about understanding how your team play and how they throw a boule. I used to say a team I played in had great strength because we threw all our boule in three different ways. Therefore on a difficult piste one of us would generally get close, however if playing a good team of shooters this will soon be the undoing as they only have to hit a few boule to put you under pressure. It is by far better to get the pointer and middle to point in a similar way as detailed here.
2. Another useful tip could be to learn to throw the boule very similar to each others style with your team mates so that you can mirror image each other when it goes right? This is one of the major problems any team can have. When the pointer throws his high lob, the middle and shooter who play a lower shot find it impossible to learn anything from this throw but when the pointer throws the "teams low shot the rest of the team can always copy each other when a shot is played right. More importantly the landing spot can be focused on and changed if the piste is faster or slower than at first perceived.
Now we look at belief, we have all said "I don’t believe it, if you would have tried to take that boule out you could never have managed it. This is usually said when your own team has taken out your own boule safely tucked in a position from which you thought it could never have been shot. Actually you are seeing that it is possible although risky to try to take out boule in this position which leads us on to the last thought,
Finish off a game
3. And lastly, when you practice, try not to just shoot or point boule without any purpose. By this, I mean, set up scenarios of difficult situations that you may find yourself coming up against in competitions. I use to set up an end where there were various boules already placed in such a difficult way that the final boule I had left to play of a point or a shot that I had to achieve otherwise we would lose the game. It was almost impossible to win the point but I would practice time and time again, until, not only did I pull off the shot but also I could do it two times in a row to prove it was not just good luck. I found that, when confronted with this dilemma in a game I am almost laughing as I knew I could call upon that visual memory I could achieve it and it wouldn’t involve luck as I had already proved to myself more than once that it was possible!
This is also true on closing a game off when you have boule in hand. At top level you normally only get one chance to win. Practice difficult shots or just standard difficulty shots when you need three to finish can be a bonus if you are holding with two boule left. Make them count in practice so they count in a game.
Remember Petanque is supposed to be fun,
4. Smile and laugh with your team mates when the pressure is on but making sure to give good order to the other team though when they are ready to take their shot, as, we have pointed out in before in the tips, you do not want the opponents to be able to pull you up on moving etc. When they are throwing and then be able to put you off by intimidation.
Whilst the player is not preparing to take his shot, you are entitled to enjoy yourself!
This session we are looking at match play. We have covered tactics and pointing and shooting skills but a team game is so much more than individual abilities. To make more from a team than the sum of their skills is called synergy. This is the key to any team sport. So how can you get this mythical ether of team and skill to blend to a game winning team? There are a number of factors to consider.
1. Look like a team. So often ignored and a trend constantly bucked by top teams. At the Junior World championships a few years ago we were shocked that the Thailand team even had matching shoes. We do not want to go that far, Why not? Anyway matching strip is essential to look the part of a team. Not just polo shirts and sweatshirts but also jackets and waterproofs. The decent into a rabble because it starts to rain is a disappointing result of the poor weather and lack of preparation. Team strip has been introduced by the governing bodies to smarten up the game but the enforcement at times has been plainly laughable. Lets take away the job they are clearly no good at by looking the part of a team ourselves. If budget does not allow discount stores can be a source of kit, watch out for cheap as sometimes it can be a little bright!
2. Stand as a team. If the opposition are throwing or just discussing their next shot all your team should be at the head standing to one side in accordance with the rules. Two metres to one side of the jack and behind it. No movement unless the opposition wants a measure checked or request you to move if you are in the eye line of the thrower. Wait until it is your turn to play. Do not step forward to see if their last boule is on unless invited or they claim it is. Do not wander around the head and do not wander off to talk to some one else. This way you can make decisions as a team and you all know what is going on. Once it is your turn to throw you can use the whole piste if you like.
3. Captain. Each player has a role, you should know who your captain is and if you win the toss which pitch you all want to play on, How long the first jack is going to be and what tactics you are going to use. You may even know what they will call, heads of tails. You should also have a designated measure player. Their job is to measure or check the oppositions measure. This way only one set of measures are needed for your team. A scorer to put the score on the board as well as another player who keeps a scorer in their pocket. This players role is to check the score with the opposition after every, yes every end! And then check with the pocket scorer just as a double check. If a measure or clarification of the rules is needed only the captain should call the umpire if required. Roles are important, know yours in your team. It may all fall to one person but should be shared through the team or rotated. Watch out for Squad of four players as when a swap takes place the roles are also passed to new players.
4. You may feel foolish when you first try all these little tips but once you reach National and International play every team should and does it. At this time it will be too late to start. By using these tips it will become second nature.
5. Understand the competition system. Again only one player need to know what the hell is going on but by knowing the system you can predict when you will be playing, where you will be playing and who you will be playing. Keep your eyes and ears open and you could be in the warm and dry when you are not playing or watching your next opposition. It may prove very helpful warming up to play an important game and missing the downpour.