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  • Writer's picturePhil Boarder

Petanque. A new vision to introduce new players. Part 5 New players v experienced players.

Petanque. A new vision to introduce new players. Part 5

New players v experienced players. Our response needs to be encouraging

Pastime Player V’s Sportsman

The forthcoming petanque season is looking to be very packed. Opportunities to play all over the country at a host of events. Some serious national qualifiers and some fun and crazy melee’s. In between these two levels are hundreds of Petanque Competitions where keen players compete against each other in duels to 13. As the season looms we reflect on the sport and how it has developed and new entrants to the scene.

Many players first witnessed the game whilst on holiday, sipping cold lager or taking the local vino and the participants may have beckoned them over to have a go. Well, we all know once the first boule is thrown you are hooked. Returning from holiday refreshed and aware of a new sport it comes as a surprise that the game of Petanque was being played at their local pub or leisure centre. A petanque piste is just a non descript area of gravel when the game is not being played so can be difficult to notice to the untrained eye. “County teams, Regional Teams, what in England? You must be joking.” We have all been there. Some of us almost 30 years ago, some much longer than they care to admit.

This conveyer belt of potential new players is happening every year. Large events in the UK help to promote the sport as do Petanque England and the new players keep coming.

Holidays have a way of relaxing people, that’s the point. The laid back attitude and casual days in the sun are the mainstay of a break. These players love playing boule but they get a bit of a wake up call when they meet the dedicated sportsman. Petanque players with winning habits, little tics and regimented ways of playing. You need this cutting edge in the furnace of a petanque match, blimey I have made it sound exciting, Anyway, you may find strange looks as you get your tape measure out of your pocket. That is nothing to the stare you get when you reach for the callipers. The pastime player will probably mention that if you are that desperate to have the point then take it. Holiday measurements were taken with a broken stick from the nearest bush or those strange devices with a string and pointer each end. This clash between Pastime player and Sportsman ( yes that’s you ) can be difficult to solve. The culture gap is a chasm. It is not just measuring but circle placement, game etiquette and the ability to laugh out loud at other players who fail spectacularly to deliver the boule accurately. The problem we all have is this. Petanque is an easy game to lose. Take your foot off the pedal or go lightly with new opposition can be a very difficult thing to do. They will skip to the clubhouse proclaiming to all that wish to hear, and some that don’t, of their great victory. “They play for England you know!” We all have to treat new players how we would want to be treated. We were all new once to this magnificent game.

We have to embrace new players, show them our ways and encourage them into the fold. Players will move rapidly from local league level to county and to regional teams. It is fairly certain they are going to beat you one day.

Petanque England have rolled out their Club Coach qualification. This is designed to give training for members to meet and greet these new players, give them some tips and help them on their way. Looks like that day they beat you is going to get closer!

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