January 14, 2020

What is the Target Ball in Bocce Called?

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My wife has been thinking about buying a Bocce ball set as my cousins play it but, to be fair, I have no clue what most of the terminology is within this sport. I figured there are plenty of others like me trying to figure out the same darn thing and felt I would explain what I found below to provide a easy answer!

What is the Target Ball in Bocce Called? By official bocce standards the target ball in Bocce is called by a few names, the main and traditional is "Pallino". In addition this target ball can be referred to as an "object ball", a "jack", a "pill", a "cue ball", "pallina", or also as "bullet".

Now that we have that simple answer out of the way I can explain more about the target ball itself and what roll it plays in the game of bocce. This way you can be ready for your first game and sound knowledgeable and not have to learn it on the fly!

What Is The Target Ball?

A target ball is a specifically crafted, non-round ball which is used to be the main point of a game. It is thrown by one of the players or teams and becomes the lynchpin for the game.

Bocce balls and pallino target ball on green grass. - What is the Target Ball in Bocce Called
Bocce balls and pallino "target ball" on green grass.

As you can see in the image above it is typically a color that stands out from the environment you are playing on. The most traditional color is a white as this stands out well in most play surfaces.

What Is The Purpose of a Target Ball?

The purpose to having a target in the game of bocce is to have the place where you are attempting to throw and land as close to as possible. Instead of this being placed in one area, like for example painted on the ground, this is a variable spot based on the throw.

This means the target can be closer or farther away, this makes the game very adaptable also to the ground and can add additional difficulty. It also is what allows the game to be played anywhere as opposed to only on specific fields.

What Is "The Advantage"

Whichever team wins the coin toss or other choice to throw the pallino is said to have "pallino advantage" as they get to place the pallino where they want it on the court and have a clear shot to place the first bocce ball.

This advantage is tied to the first shot the most due to the lack of obstructions like other balls being in the field of play. After the first ball is tossed each ball after has to make it through the obstacle course of other balls to be closest or knock another ball out of the way.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully this has helped grow your understanding of bocce and fully answered your question on what the target ball in bocce was called. Bocce is a fun and lower impact game of skill that is playable anywhere and at a very small cost. We love this version on Amazon, which with Prime, can be there within 2 days for play this weekend.

Article written by Josh Koop
I have loved to play outdoor games since I was a little kid, as I grew up I found more games and I also found out about alternate rules. I started Outdoor Diversions with Matt to help get this information out to everyone so they can enjoy these games as much as I do!