Here is a series of 15 exercises for practising Pointing and Shooting – they can be adapted and varied according to how much time you have and what you want to work on.
Warm Up. Roll 2 boules around the palm of your hand. Rotate shoulders, throw a few gentle shots. Don’t start cold and a 10m shot!
Basic Pointing: practise Rolling, Half-lob and Full-lob at 6, 8 & 10m. Use both a squatting stance, mainly for shorter ends, and standing, for longer ends.
Basic Shooting: point 3 boules to the jack and then shoot the boules. Practise at different distances and vary the order in which you hit the boules, e.g. nearest the jack, shortest boule, etc.
Developing Pointing Skills: the landing spot. One of the key skills in pointing is choosing the right landing spot and then having the skill and accuracy to land on it. The basic exercise is to prepare a landing spot, 50cm diameter and then point onto it. When you first start, the main objective is just to land on the spot. As you become more accurate, the objective becomes to land on the spot and get near the jack.
Practise at different distances and vary the distance of the landing spot so that you practise rolling, half and full lobs.
Precision Pointing: place 2 or more blocking boules in front of the jack, e.g. 2 boules 1m in front of the jack, 50cm apart. Practise pointing to the jack avoiding the blocking boules. You can use different techniques here, e.g. rolling or lobbing to pass between the boules, playing to the side of the boules, etc.
Lobbing over blocking boules: place a line of 3 blocking boules across the terrain, 2m in front of the jack. Practise a high-lob, lobbing over the blocking boules. Ideally you should land in front of the jack but your own boules should always beat the blocking boules. Vary the distance and vary the gap between the blocking boules and the jack.
Long Points. Practise pointing at longer distances – remember the jack can move up to 20m during an end.
Basic Shooting practise: place 3 boules in line, separated by at least the diameter of a boule. Practise shooting the middle boule without hitting the other 2. The forces you to get a good lobbing action, enough to miss the front boule and hit the middle boule. Practise at different distances. Having the boules further apart makes the exercise easier, closer together makes it harder.
Shooting Adjacent Boules: place the 3 boules side-by-side and practise shooting a nominated boule. Practise at different distances and vary the gap between the target boules.
Practise shooting the jack.
Practise shooting into a tyre. This is an excellent alternative exercise to develop a good lobbing action for shooting. Can use 3 tyres at different distances and/or different size tyres to vary the practise. This is usually very popular with children but is an excellent exercise for anybody working on their basic shooting technique.
Multiple Shoots: place 2 boules at an angle and aim to hit both boules with 1 shot. Difficult but not impossible if you hit the front boule at the correct angle. If you’re an aspiring champion, place 3 boules in a triangle and aim to hit all 3 with 1 shot! Again, pretty difficult but not impossible. A “party trick” reputedly done by some of the “old timers” is to “shoot a boule behind a tree” – a boule is placed behind a tree and a 2nd target boule is placed at an angle to the side of the tree. If the 2nd boule is hit at the right angle, the boule hidden behind the tree can be hit!
Pointing: promoting a boule. Place a target boule in front of a jack and practise pointing to promote the front boule.
Pointing: moving the jack. Place a boule behind the jack and point to move the jack towards the boule.
Pointing around obstacles: place 3 boules in a line in front of the jack. Practise spinning around the boules to the jack. Make sure you practise both sides equally.
It’s easy to devise a shooting chart for pointing and shooting exercises – there is already a World Championship shooting and it’s easy to devise one for pointing, e.g. a target with 3 circles with 1, 2 and 3 points for each circle.
If you practise regularly you can record your scores and measure your own progress. It’s more fun working with a practise partner(s) but if you’re disciplined, you can work on your own.
As a general principle, always try to keep your basic technique sound, e.g. use the correct grip and release of the boule, correct stance, backswing and follow-through.
Hopefully there’s enough here to give you enough variety to work on both basic and more advanced techniques – have fun!
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FInally there is a petanque-app for the android-users out there. And it is free. The perfect xmas-present perhaps?
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