Etiquette and Rules for Competition Play

Serious players should be familiar with the official rules of pétanque in English translation,

If you want to stay out of trouble with umpires and fellow players in a pétanque competition, here are some simple but important rules of the game or of etiquette you should observe:

1. When playing a boule, make sure both feet are within the circle. ‘Within’ means neither foot is on the perimeter line.

2. When playing a boule, both feet must remain on the ground until it has landed.

3. From the moment it’s your team’s turn to play (after any possible measuring issues) you have one minute to play.

4. Where possible, stand at least two metres away from the player who is playing, either behind the player or by the side of the head (not in the sight-line of the player).

5. When someone is playing, stay still and silent.

6. Always leave it to the team who have just played to decide if they’re holding the point or not: don’t interfere in any way. If they say they’re on but you have doubts then you can measure.

7. After the last boule has been played in an end, do not pick up any boules until both teams are agreed how many points have been won.

8. When playing a doubles game, if it’s your turn to play and you’re holding three boules in your hand(s), make sure your third boule is on the ground and away from the playing area before you make the circle or stand in it. Otherwise, if you put down the third boule while standing in the circle, it will be deemed to have been played according to a strict interpretation of the rules.

9. Avoid excessive displays of emotion during the game. Only when the game or competition is over, may you hug, wail, etc.


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