Boccia is a precision ball sport similar to petanque and bowls whereby athletes throw, kick or use a ramp to propel a ball onto court aiming to get close to a target ball (Jack) . Played indoors from a seated position using soft leather balls on a smooth rectangular court, boccia can be played as individuals, in pairs or teams of three. Boccia is a game of skill and strategy and is a truly inclusive sport in which men and women of all ages and abilities can play together. Boccia is a Paralympic sport with no Olympic counterpart and is designed specifically for athletes with a disability affecting locomotor function.
- The aim of boccia is to get closer to the "Jack ball" than your opponent
- One individual, pair or team has six red balls and their opponent has six blue balls
- The white (Jack ball) ball is thrown first
- The individual, pair or team not closest to the jack ball continues to play until they get closer or run out of balls
- Once all balls have been played an individual, pair or team receives one point for every ball closer to the Jack ball than their opponents closest ball
- Boccia balls are leather and are filled with tiny plastic pallets so they don't bounce but will roll
Athletes are classified (divided) into four classifications depending on their disability, functional ability and mobility.
- BC1 - Athletes with Cerebral Palsy who can consistantly propel a ball onto court using their hands or feet. BC1 athletes are allowed a sports-assistant on court with them to pass them their ball and position and stabilise their wheelchair before and during their turn.
- BC2 - Athletes with Cerebral Palsy who can consistantly propel a ball onto court and have greater functional ability and mobility than a BC1 athlete. BC2 athletes are not allowed a sports-assistant.
- BC3 - Players with Cerebral Palsy or other severe phycical impairment with locomotor dysfunction such as Muscular Dystrophy. BC3 athletes are unable to throw or kick a ball into play and therefore use an assistive device (boccia ramp) to propel the ball into play and are supported on court by a sports-assistant.
- BC4 - Athletes who do not have Cerebral Palsy but have another disability with locomotor dysfunction such as Muscular Dystrophy. BC4 athletes have similar functional ability to BC2 athletes.
- Individual (All classifications) - Athletes compete against other athletes of the same classification over four "ends"
- Teams (BC1 and BC2 Combined) - Three players per team on court of which one player must be a BC1. Each player player plays two balls per end with Teams competing against each other over six "ends"
- Pairs (BC3) - Two players on court per side with each playing three balls per end. BC3 Pairs compete against each other over four "ends"
- Pairs (BC4) - Two players on court per side with each playing three balls per end. BC4 Pairs compete against each other over four "ends"