Classification is a way of grouping players into levels of impairment, in order to make sure that players are competing on an equal level. The process is designed to include things such as muscle tone, range of movement and co-ordination but it purposely excludes the evaluation of learnt skills and training development of participants for a chosen sport.
International Classification Guidelines
The International Classification Rules for boccia are determined by BISFed and these provide the guidelines for international competition including the Paralympic Games.
Boccia England follows International Classification Guidelines for BC1, BC2, BC3 and BC4 classifications and has specific competitions and programmes, including the England Talent Pathway for players that meet the guidelines.
Spastic Quadriplegia or Athetosis
- Severe impairment affecting all four limbs.
- Dependent on a powered wheelchair or assistance for everyday mobility and is unlikely to use a manual wheelchair for any length of time.
- Athletes with athetosis may walk.
- Has difficulty in changing sitting position in chair.
- Poor grip and release of ball, sufficient strength to propel consistently with hands or feet.
Spastic Quadriplegia or Athetosis
- Impairment affecting all four limbs.
- Athletes may use a manual or powered chair for everyday mobility.
- May be able to stand or walk short distances but will lack stability.
- Superior grip and release of ball compared to a BC1, able to slowly spread fingers.
Severe impairment affecting all four limbs
- Unable to consistently propel a boccia ball with purposeful direction and velocity into the field of play (passing the +).
- BC3 athletes will use an assistive device (ramp) to propel the ball onto the field of play with the help of an assistant.
Non-cerebral origin – myopathy, spinal cord lesion, amputee etc.
- Locomotor dysfunction affecting all four limbs.
- May have weakness and lack of control affecting the upper limbs/trunk/lower limbs.
- May have poor dynamic trunk control, will require assistance of head or arms to return upright.
- Range and coordination of movement poor, unable to do rapid movements.
- Poor grip and release of ball, but sufficient strength to propel a ball consistently.
National Classification Guidelines
Boccia has wide appeal and there are lots of opportunities for people to play and compete in the sport outside of International Classification Guidelines.
Boccia England has expanded on the international classification guidelines to include BC5, BC6, BC7 and BC8.
Impairment of Cerebral or Non Cerebral origin
- These are players with less impairment than a BC2 or BC4.
- Players will use a manual or power chair for everyday mobility.
- Players may walk with assistance or using a walking aid over short distances.
- Cerebral: Quadriplegic, Triplegic, Severe Hemiplegic.
- Non Cerebral: The Impairment may be a result of lack of muscle strength, limitation in range of movement or limb shortening.
- The impact of the impairment is on the throwing arm.
Any physical impairment
- Players that do not fit into BC1-5 and meet the criteria as stated in the Equality Act 2010 definition of disability.
“[A person with a] physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities” – Equality Act 2010
Visual Impairment B1–B3
- Athletes must hold a valid British Blind Sport classification.
- Full details can be found at British Blind Sports.
- B1: This category encompasses no light perception in either eye up to light perception, but inability to recognise shapes at any distance or in any direction.
- B2 & B3: Both of these categories involve a low level of usable partial vision, those in the B3 category will be able to see more than those graded as B2.
- Intellectual impairment - players with a recognised learning disability.
- This is described as a reduced intellectual ability (IQ full scale score of 75 or less) and difficulty with everyday activities. These athletes may have a registration with UK Sport Association (UKSA) or have a statement of education which specifies the learning disability.
- Specific learning difficulties, which do not affect intellect, such as dyslexia, ADHD and some forms of autism do not form part of this profile group.
For Boccia England competitions where players compete within classification groups, players will need to be classified at their first competition to ensure they are playing within the most suitable group. Please download the Classification Policy and Procedure for more information.
Are you interested in becoming a classifier? More information can be found in the Officials section of the website.