Official Bocce Ball Rules

About Bocce Ball

The object of bocce ball is to get one or more of your team’s balls closer to the pallino than any of your opponent’s balls. Bocce is played with eight large balls (four balls per team) and one smaller target ball called the pallino.


  1. Team rosters shall include a minimum of 4 players, including at least 2 of each gender.
  2. Each game in a match shall be played by only 2 players; extra players must sit out until the game is completed, after which they may switch swap out players at the team's discretion.  For regular season games, there is no gender requirement for playing a single game, nor are players present all required to play.  
  3. For postseason games: players can't play in more than 2 consecutive games. After 2 games, players must rotate out for at least 1 game.
  4. Players may not substitute for each other during a game. Only after a game is complete may players trade out.
  5. All players must be registered with the team to play with that team, except in situations in which the team is short the minimum number of total players.  Unregistered substitutes are not permitted. Any team found to be playing with an unregistered player will forfeit the game. See: Late Registration below.
  6. If the team has fewer than 2 players overall available, that team may invite a registered player from another team other than their opponent as a substitute.  Gender substitute rules still apply.  This is permitted only during regular season games, and only if the team is short.  A substitute from another team may only be used in the event of absence, not for the purpose of allowing rests or breaks for individual players.
  7. Late Registration: a team may add players to the roster prior to the last regular season match provided the team captain approves with the league fee pro-rated for the remainder of the season + $10 late fee.  All players must be formally registered with the league and paid in full prior to playing.


  1. Each match will last approximately 45 minutes. Teams will complete as many games as possible in that allotted time period. The team with the most games won in the time period will be declared the winner.
  2. No new game will start after 40 minutes.  Games already in progress after 40 minutes will continue until completed, regardless of the time remaining.

Rules of Play


  1. The Wise Bird Bocce Ball Court dimensions are 9ft x 60ft.


  1. All bocce balls and pallinos will be provided by the league and are the standard 3.9 inches for colored team balls and 1.4 inches for the pallino/white ball.

Start of Match

  1. Each match shall begin with a coin toss, rock-paper-scissors, or other agreed upon game of chance.  The winner shall decide which side of the court throwing will begin on and also throws the pallino to start the game. 




  1. A team has the option of rolling, bouncing, banking, etc. its ball down the court provided it does not go out-of-bounds or the player does not violate the foul markers. 
  2. If the thrown ball hits the back stop, it is considered dead and will be removed from play after it comes to rest. All balls affected from the throw remain as they land. If the thrown ball hits another ball OR THE PALLINO and then hits the back wall, it is still considered dead. Once the ball is in play, it is live even if it is hit into the back wall by another ball.
  3. A player also has the option of hitting out any ball in play in trying to obtain a point or decreasing the opposing team’s points.
  4. LSSC bocce DOES NOT permit overhand throwing, and ball must hit the gravel before crossing the center line. These violations will result in a foul and ball will be dead and removed from play.
  5. You ONLY get one chance to throw the pallino and it must cross the yellow center line and not end up closer to the back or side wall than the width of a bocce ball. However, the pallino can bounce off the back wall and is still consider in play if it obeys the original rule of being a bocce ball width from the wall.  To measure a legal throw, slide a bocce ball between the wall and pallino; if it hits or “ticks” the pallino or does not cross the yellow line, the opposing team gets to place the pallino where they choose; given it is a legal placement of the pallino.
  6. If the captains decide the closest ball of each team is equal in distance from the pallino, NO points are awarded and the game continues from the opposite end, with the same team throwing the pallino as the previous frame. League official can be summoned to make a determination
  7. If a team throws out of turn or touches a ball that is active in play, the opposing team will earn two points. Once this infraction has occurred, the frame is over.
  8. The ball is dead, and the opposing team gains one point.
  9. The opposing team gets to place pallino where wherever they like and thrown ball is removed from play and consider dead. 
  10. The throwing team’s ball is removed and opposing team gets to re-throw knocked out ball(s).


  1. First Team to 15 wins the match. 
  2. Players are responsible for keeping score of points in each individual round and also keeping score of rounds won.
  3. Each match score will be recorded by a League official.
  4. There is no mercy/skunk rule.


  1. All questions of rule play will be directed to the league official.
  2. Unsportsmanlike conduct, including but not limited to throwing balls out of play, conducting yourself in an inappropriate manner, or excessive taunting shall be grounds for ejection. The league official has the ultimate say.


  1. Teams must be ready to play and meet game start requirements at the posted game time. Any team not ready to play at this time shall forfeit, and the opposing team shall take a default win.  Final score shall be recorded 3 to 0.
  2. If neither team is ready to play, both teams shall forfeit.
  3. Any team found to be playing with a player not registered with the league or team shall forfeit the game.


  1. The playoff game clock may be shortened in order to to be able to complete all required rounds within a reasonable period of time.
  2. Players can't play in more than 2 consecutive games. After 2 games, players must rotate out for at least 1 game. 
  3. In the event of a match tie, a tie breaker consisting of a single frame shall be played.  The team with the highest point total at the end of the frame will win the tiebreaker (the team does not have to reach 15 in the tiebreaker).  If the tie-breaker is a tie, the tiebreaker will be repeated.

Cancelation Policy

Our cancelation and make-up policy is explained our FAQ.

League Partners:

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