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  • Writer's picturePhil Boarder

Pointing in Petanque, Three landing spots for your boule

Landing spots!

The landing spot is critical to a successful pointed boule. What if there is something in your chosen spot? Do not worry, what about changing your shot if the desired landing spot is occupied by a boule or by a dodgy looking area on the piste. This could be a deep area of gravel, a soggy area of piste or a clearly obvious stone sticky up out of the surface of the piste or laying on the top of the piste. Now we all know we cannot kick those stones off the piste when we are playing, don’t we?

Anyway, the issue is that, if your landing spot is not available you will need to pick another place to land and adjust your shot accordingly. No, not just throw and hope! Pick another spot and choose a new throw. This will be higher or lower trajectory than the throw you would have used. It is physics, do not blame me it is just a fact. If you want someone to blame then Isaac Newton will do. If the length of the landing spot from the circle changes the arc of the throw will change. You could throw the boule at the same height and land in the new place but the reaction when the boule hits the ground at a different angle will mean the distance the boule travels will change. Eyes completely glaze over. Do not worry you know we always get there in the end.

When I am warming up before the start of play I usually throw my boule onto a chosen landing spot and then repeat the throw with the rest of my boule. The aim is to land all three boule in the same place. Two advantages to this. You can get your eye in and the throw sorted out and you only have one hole to fill in before you turn around and continue your warm up in the other direction. The first boule will show you how the boule will roll after impact with the piste. The next two boule should kick off when they hit the hole the first one made. This means you have repeated the shot so good news and anyone watching will think you are a one boule wonder. That is not a problem. The throwing of boule before you start to play is warm up. Some players confuse this with practice. It is not practice. Practice is best done on your own or with players in a delegated practice time. Anyway, moving on. My warm up routine rarely involves a jack. Many would say my general play does not involve one either but that is just rude.

My point is, the warm up is to get your arm moving in the practiced way. But what if your landing spot in the game is blocked. Well luckily you have practiced away from a competitive situation the following exercise.

Three landing spots!

Place a jack at 6m from the circle and point to the jack. Each boule must land 50cm away from each other on a line to the jack. You can do this by placing a circle over the last landing spot ruling that area unsuitable for landing a point there. The first point should be a low rolling shot. The second boule should be a ½ lob and the last point should be a high lob so you are not rolling over the circles placed in position. Keep going at this distance until you are happy with the outcome of the different shots and then move the jack 7 metres from the circle and repeat at 8 and 9metres.

Keep doing this and when it comes to a game situation you can change your shot according to the layout of the obstacles on the ground. The added benefits are 1, You can switch to a different height shot if you favoured shot is not working. 2, If there is an overhanging tree or branch then your high lob will not work due to height restrictions. 3, The different terrain may like a lower or higher throw and you can switch into that type of throw at any time rather than walk away wishing you had more shots to your petanque toolbox.

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