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  • Writer's picturePhil Boarder

When is the Jack not the Target

Pointing. When is the jack not the target?

The game of petanque revolves around who is closest to the jack, so it is a bold step to question, “Is the jack the target all the time?”

We will try to look at times when the jack is not the target. Most of these are covered elsewhere in the tips but we thought we would get all the occasions together that the jack is not the target hoping you will be amazed how many times this is the case.

A. The most obvious time the jack is not the target is when the jack is already surrounded by your boule. During the end in a desperate attempt to limit the oppositions points against a superb point by them. You have failed to remove the boule with a shot or two and then struggled to out point the boule. You are in a bad position with one boule left and the opposition still holding five boule. In this situation most teams would look to cover the ground behind the jack in case the opposition try to spring the jack out of its place and pile on the points in an undefended area. Therefore the jack is not the target, that large area of piste behind the jack is! Tricky to play this shot but the truth is, if you adopt the landing spot method you can pick a way round, or through, or over the jack position to get your boule to the required area. Depending on the position of the jack and other boule you will be looking to get a boule in a 50cm circle area highlighted by your teammates. It is covering the ground so needs to be accurate but not precise and watch out for the dead boule line! You can practice this shot on the practice piste.

B. The team you are playing are shooting everything in sight and you are down on boule. You have a choice if you are pointing. Point to the jack or point a defensive boule in front or near the oppositions boule. This is covered in tactics in another section but you still need to be able to make the oppositions boule your target if that is the plan you have chosen. This can save a big score if played at the right time. Sometimes it has given me the point as the opposition have shot and cannoned my boule into theirs to give me a point. I did not laugh, just a snigger.

C. The knock up shot. You are pointing but the jack is not the target initially. You are looking to play through a boule in front of the jack. The jack is not the target.

D. Pointing on to a boule. Very similar to item B but is an attacking defensive shot. The opposition have pointed a boule just wide of the jack but more importantly just passed the jack. The target is to rest on the opposition boule to be in an on position. Jack is relevant but not the target. Shown clearly in Fig 6.

E. You are playing against a very good shooter and a moderate pointer. You do not want to point close to the jack as the shooter will carreau the boule in a great position. Just play a tricky point that will lure the pointer to try to out point the boule. Your boule has to be a lure point. Not close enough to get the shooter moving to the circle but looks like it can be out pointed easily. So you are pointing to an area near the jack. Jack is relevant but not the target.

F. Your first point has held all the oppositions boule and your shooter has successfully shot the jack. It has not died but landed and stopped about 2cm from the dead boule line at the back of the piste. You have four boule to score and the oppositions closest boule is 3 metres away. In this situation the jack is certainly not the target. Getting close to the jack is foolhardy, taking it over the dead boule line with your last boule is idiotic!

I hope this has proved interesting and something to think about. If you have any occasions the jack is not the target we would be pleased to add them over the next few days. Not all plays are clear cut and everyone has an opinion but, if you stop thinking and stop talking to your team, prepare to start losing!

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