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Learn to play boccia

Have a go at boccia, the accessible Paralympic bowling sport that pretty much everyone can play.

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You’ll need

  • Masking tape
  • One white ball
  • Six red balls
  • Six blue balls
  • Six chairs
Boccia court layout
PDF – 89.6KB

Before you begin

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
  • Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers.

Planning this activity

  • It’s OK if you need to adapt the balls to fit what you have. Boccia uses red and blue, but you can use any two colours. You could use foam footballs, tennis balls, ball pit balls, or even beanbags. 
  • Following the template, mark the boccia court using masking tape. Put a chair in each of the red and blue boxes (you should have six). Put two red balls in each red box and two blue balls in each blue box.

Play the game

We’ve adapted the official rules into a slightly simpler version. You can find the full rules on the Boccia UK website.

  1. Everyone should split into teams of three. Two teams play at once—one as the red team, the other as the blue team. Each player can have an aide (assistant) to help with things like passing the ball.
  2. You may need to play multiple games so everyone has a turn. Anyone not playing can be a spectator until it’s their turn to play.
  3. The six players should sit on the chairs in the boxes. They should make sure they sit in the same colour box as their team. They must remain seated for the whole game.
  4. The first player from the red team should propel the white ball (the jack) into the court. In boccia, players can propel a ball by throwing, rolling, or kicking it. If it works best for them, players can use equipment such as a head frame and ramp.
  5. If the jack goes out of the court, the person playing the game should reset it by putting it on the centre cross.
  6. The first player from the red team should propel (throw, roll, or kick) their first red ball onto the court. They should try to get it as close to the jack as possible. Their aide can help them by passing them the ball, or putting it onto the ramp (if they have one), but the player must be the one to release the ball.
  7. The first player from the blue team should propel (throw, roll, or kick) their first blue ball onto the court. They should try to get it as close to the jack as possible. If they want to, they can knock a red ball out of the way so their blue ball is the closest to the jack.
  8. Whichever team is not closest to the jack rolls again. The second player in that team should propel their ball, trying to get it the closest to the jack.
  9. At each turn, whichever team is not closest to the jack has a go. The members of each team should take it in turns to propel their balls.
  10. The teams should keep taking turns like this until a team runs out of balls. Then the other team should propel the rest of their balls.
  11. At the end, the closest ball to the jack is the winning ball—and whichever team it belongs to is the winning team.

If you want to count points, the winning team gets a point for each ball they have closer to the jack than the other team’s closest ball.

For example, if the closest ball is red, the second closest is red, and then third closest is blue, the red team would get two points for having two balls closer to the jack than the blue team’s closest ball. 


Boccia is designed for disabled athletes. It’s specifically designed for people with a disability that affects their ‘locomotor function’, their ability to move, especially from one place to another. This often includes people with conditions such as Cerebral Palsy and Muscular Dystrophy. Boccia is brilliant, because it’s inclusive, and lots of people with different abilities can join in.

Everyone should sit in a circle. The person who led the game should roll one of the boccia balls to someone, who should say one thing they enjoyed or learned about boccia, before rolling it to someone else. Anyone who doesn’t want to say something can just roll the ball on.

What makes boccia so accessible? It has simple rules, but can get really tactical too. It’s played sitting down, and people can choose how they propel the ball depending on what works for them – it doesn’t matter whether they use an arm, a leg, or their head. We choose how we play games, and whether we change the rules so everyone can join in. Why is it important to make it so that everyone can play?

This game was also a chance to be active! Why is it good for everyone to have the chance to get active, including people who are disabled? Was boccia a fun way of being active? What was the trickiest part of boccia?


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Active games

The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed. Take a look at our guidance on running active games safely.

You may want to put the jack on the centre cross so it’s closer to all the players to begin with.

It’s up to you whether you change the rules to simplify it even more. If you want to, teams can just take it in turns to propel their balls (no matter who’s closest).

You could change the size of the teams too. For example, if you have a lot of people each team could have six players, who each get one turn at propelling the ball in a game.

People could try different tactics—will they try to get even closer than their opponent’s ball, or will they just knock it out of the way?

People could play the game without using certain parts of their body, for example, not being allowed to use their hands. If you can, have a go with a head frame and ramp. People can try different ways of propelling even without limiting the body parts they use. Everyone is different—some people will be great at throwing, but some might be best when they kick.

Boccia can be played as an individual, in a pair, or a team. You could set up individual games if anyone doesn’t want to play in a team.

Remind everyone that they can ask their aides for any help they might need—except for propelling the ball.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

You could play boccia as one of the team games for the Beaver Teamwork Challenge Award. People could also make an accessible poster, using pictures and signs to show the rules of boccia—this could count towards the My Skills Challenge Award.