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Bocce Ball League Rules

Last updated:  2018 April

    Updated Rules:

  • The rules format was updated
  • Team rosters need to be coed or can be all female.   But for game play there will be no forced gender requirements.  
 - Smoking is NOT allowed while playing bocce; repeated infractions can result in the loss of all games for the night.
 - BSR conditionally allows subs to play; if your team needs a sub one night we recommend captains check the Facebook group Bocce Ball RVA     Post a message there that your looking for a sub.  It's also a good place to go to recruit players for your team.  



Traditional bocce ball is a social activity—so have fun! These rules are not set in stone. If both teams can agree on tweaking a rule during the regular season, go for it. For example, if your team can’t find a legal team for any reason, your opponent can choose to let your team play anyway, instead of forfeiting.   The goal is to have fun and socialize!


Participating players

  • Each team must have at least 2 players in the game at a time; players arriving late can only join in at the start of a new frame.
  • If a team’s opponent isn’t able to come up with a legal team of 2 players at the start of the game, the complete team will be awarded a win every 5 minutes after the scheduled start time until the other team is complete and ready to play. (Max 2 wins, resulting in 6 points)
  • If team forfeits, their opponent will be awarded 2 wins, resulting in 6 points. If both teams forfeit, neither team will be awarded any wins.  Wins awarded at 20 and 40 minuets after the scheduled start time. 



  • You can have as many players as you want on your roster, but the minimum number of players is 6.
  • Additional players, including players who register as free agents, can be added to the roster anytime until the third week of the season.
  • Captains are responsible for the conduct of teams. This means they’ll need to make sure all players are legal and conform to league play standards.
  • Teams caught with illegal players or subs will lose all games for that night.
    • If this happens twice, that team will be excluded from the playoffs.
  • All players must meet league player requirements. (FAQ - League Information - Player Requirements)
  • All players must wear their league tshirts to participate. (FAQ - League Information - What if I paid late and have not received a league tshirt or forget my league tshirt one night?)
  • From time to time for various reasons players may become upset and curse, complain, and more.  When this occurs, our staff will respond and take actions from issuing a warning, to taking a time out, up to ejecting a player form the game.  For more info reference our FAQ. (FAQ - League Information - Ejections)






















When playing





* During regular season number of players adjustable if both teams agree


Equipment & Field Setup

  • All equipment will be provided by Be Social Richmond
  • Each game, you’ll be given a pallino ball, 8 colored bocce balls, tape measures, and score sheets.
    • Pallino ball: the little white ball tossed first to start the game and the object all other balls are rolled toward.
    • Each team will be provided 4 balls of a single color.


League Scoring, Standings, and Seeding


Regular season

  • Each season will last 7 weeks, PLUS playoffs.
  • During the regular season, teams can play as many 10-point games as they can finish within 50 minutes.
    • In order for the last game of the night to count, at least 1 team will need to have 5+ points.
  • Game wins = points
    • You’ll get 3 points for a win and 1 point for a tie.
  • Seeding details this multi-game per night sport can be found in the FAQ (FAQ - League Information - How are standings calculated for the regular season?)


  • Teams will play 3 frames. (The third frame is only played if the first 2 frames are split.)
  • If your team has multiple forfeits or is caught using players that are not on your roster, you may be excluded from playoffs.
  • Playoff brackets are customized each season, and typically follow single elimination.


Game Rules

  • Team captains can choose to either negotiate which team tosses the pallino first, or they can flip a coin.
    • In the playoffs, the team with the higher seed gets their first choice.
  • Teams will alternate which team tosses the pallino at the beginning of a frame. Teams should also alternate which end of the field the pallino is tossed from.
  • No one is to be on the court except the individual throwing the bocce or pallino.

* Both team should agree on the points scored that round before any of the balls are moved.


Game Play and Pit

  • For each frame, the pallino and all 8 balls will be thrown.
  • To win, you need to get more of your team’s balls closer to the pallino than the other team.
  • Only one team can score per frame.
    • If the closest ball from both teams is the same distance from the pallino, then no team will score any points for that frame.

Example: if at the end of a frame there are 3 balls for team A closer to the pallino than the closest ball for team B, then Team A receives 3 points.  A maximum of 4 points are possible per frame.

  • A team is awarded a win when one team accumulates 10+ points.
  • Each game will start with the pallino being tossed. It must land between the halfway point and two paces from the end line of the field in order to be played.
  • Teams may not defer throwing the pallino
  • After the pallino is thrown, teams should alternate throwing 1 ball at a time.
    • The same player who threw the pallino will throw their ball first.
    • Then, a player on the opposing team will throw one of his or her own balls.


Dead Balls & Fouls

  • Dead balls: any ball that leaves the field of play
    • If the pallino is knocked out of the pit anytime during play, except during initial throw, that frame is over and all the ball are transfer to the other side of the court.
    • A ball hitting the backboard without first touching the pallino or another bocce ball is a dead ball and is removed from play.
    • Any ball hit by the dead ball should remain where it’s landed.
  • Fouls: if the first team fails to throw the pallino between the half-court line and the back foul line in 2 consecutive attempts per frame, the other team gets to throw the pallino.
  • The team that first attempts to throw the pallino will throw their ball first even if the other team ended up throwing the pallino because the first team double faulted.

All rules are subject to change when and as needed by BSR staff.