Adaptive Sports


Boccia is similar to bocce, but was designed for athletes with physical disabilities.  However, in recreational play, rules can be modified to accommodate players of all abilities.  The object of the game is to throw the play balls (each side has six, which are blue or red) as close as possible to a single target ball or jack (white).  A common playing area is marked on the court.  It consists of six throwing boxes, in which players must stay for the shot to be valid.  Points are scored based on how close to the jack a ball lands.  When all balls have been thrown, the distances from players’ balls to the jack is measured and points assigned accordingly.  If a ball is thrown out of the playing area, it is placed on the cross.

What’s Needed to Play Boccia
Boccia uses leather balls that are a little larger than a tennis ball.  The boccia court has a flat, smooth surface with a common playing area and a scoring area – pretty much any flat surface can be set up as a boccia court.  However, a regulation Bocce courts are 91 feet by 13 feet.

Overview of Boccia (2:32)


Classifications for Competition
As with other competitive para-sports, boccia players are assigned to a class based on the severity of their disability.

  • BC1 – may have an on-court assistant to help place the ball in their hand and position their chair
    • Severe impairment affecting all four limbs
    • Limited functional range of motion and coordination
    • May need power wheelchair for mobility
    • Has difficulty changing sitting position in chair
    • Has a hard time gripping and releasing the ball, but can throw consistently with hands or kick with feet
  • BC2 – not eligible for an on-court assistant
    • Severe impairment affecting all four limbs
    • May use a manual or power wheelchair for everyday mobility
    • Lacks stability, but may be able to walk short distances
    • Strong grip and release of ball
  • BC3 – able to have an on-court assistant as well as use an assistive device such as a ramp and a pointer
    • Very severe impairment in all four limbs
    • May have arm movement but is unable to throw a boccia ball consistently with speed onto the playing area
  • BC4 – not eligible for an on-court assistant
    • Locomotive dysfunction affecting all four limbs
    • May have poor trunk control and will need assistance to return upright
    • Weak or lack of control of upper and/or lower limbs as well as trunk
    • Poor range of movement
    • Poor grip and release of ball, but has enough strength to throw a ball consistently

Additional Resources
USA Boccia
USA Boccia is the nonprofit organization for boccia in the USA.  Its mission is to provide persons with physical disabilities the opportunity to learn, play, and compete in the sport of boccia on the local, regional, national and international level.

Learn about para sports events to get an idea about what’s out there and to find some ways to participate.

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