Boccia England

Coaching Basics

It’s the little things that make a big difference. Here are a collection of coaching tips to get you started and development your coaching in boccia: give you the coaching edge

Top Tips

  • Keep your sessions enjoyable, regardless of the level of player you are working with
  • Make your sessions progressive
  • Keep a competitive element to your sessions
  • Use questioning to promote understanding
  • Have a working knowledge of the rules
  • Make your training relevant to the individuals
  • Use the right equipment for the individual
  • Encourage players to come onto court during their time to have a closer look at the way the balls are laying
  • Get to know your athletes in terms of learning style and motivation
  • Teach your players when to attack and when to defend in a match
  • Prepare your players mentally and physically prior to training or match play
  • Encourage players to line their chair up to the direction they are playing

Equipment

  • Ensure players have the brakes of their wheelchair on when throwing or delivering the ball
  • Number the balls. By numbering them, the player will learn to identify the faster balls from the slower ones
  • Identify which ball is the best 1st ball. This is usually the softest ball.
  • The faster the ball travels, the straighter it runs
  • When boccia balls are new they are often cold and hard. They require ‘working in’ for them to be round and consistent.
  • Balls can be ‘worked in’ or softened by rolling between your hands with some pressure, rolling gently under foot or gently tapping on the floor
  • Store boccia balls in a case where they are separated. This avoids the balls becoming deformed

Ramping

  • The balls tend to roll straighter if the bottom of the ramp is on the floor or just off the floor
  • Mark arrows on the balls to show which way to position them on the ramp
  • The ramp assistant should do their best to keep the top of the ramp in line with the player’s eyes. The player can then concentrate on lining up the bottom of the ramp
  • For non-verbal athletes, a series of instructions should be worked out. These can be sign language, a nod, a shake of the head or eye movement
  • The ramp assistant should be familiar with the ramp and the extensions. They should be proficient at putting the extensions on quickly without moving the ramp
  • The positioning of the head-pointer can be a signal to the ramp assistant as to what extensions are to be used. This saves time in competition
  • When asked to move out of the playing box, the ramp assistant should move quickly and stand to the side (not sit). Those few seconds saved here may be the difference between the player having time to play the last ball or not
  • Support the ramp during setup and delivery so that it does not move during or after alignment. i.e. foot on the base of the ramp or holding the sides
  • Train the ramp assistant as part of the session
  • Try to ensure the same ramp assistant is being used for training and competition

Throwing

  • Try to develop an under arm throw as well as an over arm throw
  • Use the softest set of balls possible for you that still conform to international regulations
  • Determine the softest ball possible for your player by trying to throw the softest ball to the back of the court
  • Use your non-throwing hand to stabilize yourself by gripping another part of the wheelchair or chair if possible
  • Have a tray attached to the wheelchair to hold the balls when on court. This keeps them together and avoids the risk of them rolling into another playing box