The Joy of Bocce Weekly
The FREE weekly Ezine for bocce aficionados everywhere
Volume #1, Issue #7    February 18, 2002
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni   Copyright 2002 The Joy of Bocce

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In This Issue

* Bocce quote of the week
* Tournament update
* Photos of the week
* The skills of the game - the volo
* Arthritis/joint pain slowing your game?


Bocce quote of the week

Our Monday morning outdoor bocce season is often hosted by yours truly.  My wife, pictured on the home page of (displaying outstanding bocce form, I might add), runs a family daycare home.  The kids always know when it's bocce day. They come outside for recess and chant "Bocce!, Bocce!, Bocce!" lead by four-year-old Ryan Hamilton.  As a matter of fact, if you ask two-year-old Jacob Motta "What day is today?" on any given morning he'll shout "Bocce Day!" without hesitating.  The adult players arrive at 9:00 am.  We have coffee and pastry, then play three games separated by short breaks for more libations, "trash talking" (we believe we've introduced trash talking to the sport), and croissants.  Ryan, already an avid sports fan (NE Patriots, Boston Red Sox), became so enamored of the game that he asked for a bocce set for Christmas.  Santa delivered.  Recently he taught his parents and sister how to play.  "It's easy," he said.  "First you eat.  Then you play.  Then you eat again!"


Tournament Update

George Farruggio reminds us that there is still time to enroll in the Italian/American Bocce Association's double elimination tournament. Termed the Southwest Florida Open, the event will be held on March 9 & 10, 2002 in Punta Gorda, Florida.  The entrance fee is $200 per team (four player teams (one sub allowed) - $7500 in prize money. For more information, contact George at
TELE.# 941-575-0482, FAX # 941-575-6231, or E-MAIL WAM@ISNI.NET. DEADLINE FOR REGISTRATION IS FEB. 28, 2002.

The United State Bocce Federation also reminds us that the 2002 United States Championships are coming up in May (May 4th thru 12th) at Los Gatos, CA. For information, email  Better yet, go to their website listed below and click on "bocce events."  That will bring you to the US Bocce Championships page where you can print out an entry form or email the event promoters.  The facility is fabulous.  Check it out at  campodibocce. Both International style of rules will be played as well as Open Rules.


Still available - The Joy of Bocce (128 pages - 7" X 10" B/W Photos & Diagrams ISBN 1-57028-044-4) The first instructional book on bocce in America.

Chapters Include:

The Game
The Terminology
The Game, A Closer Look
The Game As Played on Official Courts
The Equipment
Strategy & Tactics
Building A Backyard Court
Tournament Play & Rules
International Play
A Brief History Lesson

Here's what people are saying about The Joy of Bocce:

"Answers Yes, Yes, Yes to the three questions most frequently asked of our bocce organization: Can you show us how to build a court? Can you tell us where to buy equipment? Is there a good book on the subject?

Donna Allen, Editor
United States Bocce Federation

Only $12.95 plus shipping - you can pay by mailing a check or on-line with PayPal.  Let me know if you want any special autograph inscription.  Click The Joy of Bocce to order.


Photos of the week

Last week's photos were so well received that I left them up on my site for another week.  They're from the 1999 Special Olympics World Summer Games where I served as a bocce official.  Readers particularly liked the Coach K comment by Billy Crystal, and bocce singles gold medal winner Wayne Boggs of Nebraska's snappy comeback.  Check them out at  This Week's Photos.


The skills of the game - the volo

{I love the volo shot, although I'm still trying to good at it.  Many tournaments outlaw the shot because of insurance liability, and others disallow the shot on short courts figuring that it is too easy to hit close targets}

When playing on grass or rough surfaces, it is often necessary to loft the ball into the air, letting it bounce and then run to the target.  This is a form of what bocce players call a volo shot (an aerial toss). The volo, traditionally used to knock an opponent's ball away, allows for better accuracy than rolling on uneven surfaces.

With a little practice altering the height and distance of the lob and analyzing the subsequent roll, you can add this effective weapon to your game. The volo shot is best controlled by holding the ball palm down.  You can even try adding some backspin to get the ball to stop quickly after it lands.  For very long volos, you may want to toss the ball with palm facing up to impart more forward spin thus increasing its post-landing carry.   

A lob is great for dealing with rough surface just in front of the playing line.  Simply toss the ball over the rough area and let it roll to the target.  For a short lob, release the ball at about the level of the knee.  The faster the surface, the higher the release point and trajectory.  

The traditional volo shot is tossed into the air in an attempt to strike its target on the fly.  A skillful player can make a neat transfer of energy shot in which his ball hits the opponent's ball, sending it flying and leaving his volo shot in its place (what can I tell you? It's physics).

Top bocce players use a several-step approach when delivering a volo.  Most volo shooters use a three-, four-, or five-step approach and continue moving past the foul line toward the target after they release the ball.  I'll describe the four-step approach, but you might also walk through the three- and five-step approaches to determine which feels right to you. 

Begin working on the last two steps of the four-step approach since these are the most critical. During these steps the arm swing and launch is made.  Breaking down and mastering these two steps, then, is essential before advancing. Stand at the foul line with feet together and arms by the side.  Take two steps backwards to bring yourself into correct position for this drill.  The first step is taken with the foot opposite the throwing arm.  As this step is taken, bring the arm swing back in a straight pendulum-like movement.  The arm should be at the top of the backswing as the second step is started.  The arm comes forward to the launch point on the second step.  Continue to move forward toward the target after you release the ball.  This follow through fosters better accuracy, and is not a foot foul unless you overstep the line before releasing the shot.

Once the two-step approach is mastered, advance to the four-step method.  Begin four steps from the foul line with the feet together and arms by the side.  Many players prefer a stance with the ball held at waist, chest, or eye level.  With this stance the ball is often held palm up and rotated into palm down position during the arm swing.  Again, the first step should be with the foot opposite to the throwing hand.  The arm does not begin the backswing on this step.  The backswing begins on the second step and should not reach the top of its arc until the end of the third step.  The fourth step brings the arm forward in a straight line with the target and the ball is released.  Remember, the player continues moving in a straight line to the target, promoting greater accuracy.


Arthritis or Joint Problems Slowing Your Bocce Game?

Check out this product which I found so helpful that I became a manufacturer's rep for it.  Click the link below to read about a very powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation in the joints.  People everywhere have had good results for the symptoms of arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, asthma, allergies and a laundry list of illnesses making the product sound like a snake oil that's "good for anything that ails you."  The reason is that this powerful substance composed of natural substances like extracts from grape seed, red wine, and pine bark, does two major things in the body.  These antioxidants improve circulation and boost immunity.  As you can probably imagine, so many of today's maladies can be traced to poor circulation and low immunity.  My son James, pretty expert in herbal remedies and holistic medicine, turned me on to the product almost 6 years ago.  "I think it will help your arthritic old basketball knees," he reasoned.  Within a week of faithfully using the product, I was going up and down stairs without pain.  I took a serious look at the company, liked what I saw, and became a manufacturer's rep for the many of products they market.
$64.95 for a three-month supply. Click here to check out Antioxidant


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