Spelt B-O-C-C-I-A but pronounced 'Botcha', it is a Paralympic sport for athletes with disabilities that have a major impact on motor skills. Boccia is a target ball sport belonging to the same family as petanque and bowls.
It's thought the game originated in Greece with competitors tossing large stones at a stone target. When it came to the UK, boccia was solely designed as a sport for those with severe cerebral palsy. It has now developed into a game played by many sections of the community - and from a purely recreational level up to the intensely competitive Paralympics. The rules of Boccia are determined by CP-ISRA and are reviewed every four years, usually just after the Paralympics.
For the elite competitors playing at international level, the Boccia world follows a four-year cycle. Each year sees a major international event, year 1 being the European Championships, followed by the World Championships, and then comes the World Cup and the final year of the cycle sees the Paralympics holding centre stage.
The aim of the game is to propel a set of coloured balls and position them closer to a white 'marker' ball than those of your opponent. This white ball is called the 'jack', hence the game is similar in context to Bowls, Petanque or even French Boules.
The game can be played either individually (one v one using 6 balls each), in pairs (two v two using 3 balls each) or as a team activity (three v three using 2 balls each).
Why is it particularly suitable for those with a Disability? It's a non-contact, target driven sport, which relies on skill and subtlety, rather than size, strength or speed. It is because of this that it is equally suited to those with or without disability. Another factor in the appeal of Boccia is that players can play a competitive game within minutes - without the need for specialised knowledge, skill or equipment. The balls have to be propelled by each competitor. This may include throwing, rolling or even kicking a ball into the playing area.
There are two documents attached below regarding the National Schools and Community Boccia League for the upcoming 2013-2014 season.
To get involved and find your local club please click here to visit Tees Valley Sport's Club Finder tool, or alternatively visit https://bocciaengland.org.uk/clubs/ to use Boccia England's Club Finder.
Boccia England - https://bocciaengland.org.uk/
GB Boccia - http://www.gb-boccia.org/default.asp
Cerebral Palsy Sport England & Wales, 5 Heathcoat Building, Nottingham Science Park, University Boulevard, Nottingham, NG7 2QJ
Telephone; 0115 9257027