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  • Writer's picturePhil Boarder

Choosing your Petanque Boule. A Guide

The choice of boule. 2021

To find the right set of boule for your individual requirements there are several factors to consider. With the different types of boule shown in our catalogue and on our website there are thousands of possible variations. Before you select your boule you will need to know which Diameter, Weight, Pattern and hardness you require.


Every competition set of boule has a diameter. This is not normally marked on the boule so can be tricky to remember but the boule can be measured in our shop if you have found a good size for you. The FIPJP ( Federation Internationale de Petanque et Jeu Provencal ) allows diameters from 70.5 to 80 mm. The diameter required foe the individual depends mainly on the size of the players hand and just a little on the use the player will put the boule to. Ladies, Juniors and players with small hands generally prefer diameters from 71 to 73 mm. This can vary and we have a hand size chart in our catalogue which we can post to you on request. In the past, pointers have favoured smaller diameters as they felt they will make smaller targets if being shot. Meanwhile shooters lean towards bigger boule in the hope they will hit the target boule easier. This is a matter of debate, however, the right size of boule to your hand will allow you to deliver the boule with accuracy whatever shot you are trying to carry out. Size is very, very important so as mentioned please ask for a hand size chart for a guide. We even have a guide on our web site just to be clear how you use the guide. Size is THAT important to your game.


The weight of a competition boule is clearly stamped on a boule. If you are trying other players boule make sure the size is correct for you first otherwise it may led to an incorrect choice of weight. Weight tends to be a personal preference but there is no point choosing a boule that is so heavy you cannot reach long jacks. The FIPJP allows weights from 650 to 800grms. Pointers, as mentioned earlier, prefer small boule but they also like to use heavy boule. These tend to take a straighter path upon landing when they hit rough ground. For shooting, the tendency is to use lighter boule, this gives an advantage when shooting boule to boule as the distance of throwing is often 9 to 10M, this can be easier with a lighter boule and does not result in tiredness during competition play. Shooters prefer weights from 680 to 710 g.

In general, new players tend to use an average weight of between 690 to 720 g unless they feel the need to specialise. As with size, the correct weight of boule will allow you to deliver the boule with accuracy whatever shot you are trying to carry out. There is a theory, the heavier the boule the more it will move the target boule. That is not the case in petanque. The lightest boule will clear a heavy boule out of the way with ease. Newtons 3rd law comes into play when the thrown boule hits another. For every action there is an equal and opposite action


Mainly used for identification by new players and some players like the grip it gives on a shiny new boule. Once the boule have been worn in they will have plenty of grip whether plain or patterned. Generally, for shooting, the boule should have few or no stripes (the boule can be released smoothly from the hand) i.e. pattern 0 or plain. For pointing, some players think more stripes can give greater control but many players who point to the highest standard use a plain boule. Generally pointers will use patterns 0 and 1.

Hardness 2 types of boule.

In the past manufactures produced many types of hardness from Hard to Very soft. Now the choice has moved to two levels of hardness.

Soft : Between 110 and 112kg/mm The annealed boule give a greater absorption of impact when shooting, giving the boule a tendency to carreau more often when hitting boule. This is the reason shooters prefer soft boule but they do wear quickly. They can also be useful when pointing on hard pistes as they absorb the landing of the boule on high lobs.

Semi Soft : 115 kg/mm The hardness of the metal prevents wear on the boule, however, the boule is left in a semi soft state to help absorb the impact of a shot and thus remain in the head. Pointers like these boule as well because they can last longer than soft boule as they resist the wear when pointing with a lot of backspin. This is also why middle players in triples prefer semi soft boule.


If the above details are taken in the order given, you will generally find pointers will choose a semi soft boule in a small size and heavier weight with a plain finish or some stripes. i.e. 72 mm 710grms with a pattern. A shooter may choose a larger, lighter boule, i.e. 75 mm 690grms with little pattern. The main rule is to choose a boule you are comfortable with. A boule that can be held comfortably in the hand without slipping during the throw. Once worn in all boule will get a natural grip on the surface of the steel, this helps the player hold the boule and gives them control over the boule. If you require any clarification or assistance in boule selection feel free to ask your local boule supplier and they will be happy to help and advise.

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