Petanque Coach

Petanque Coach: Listen Up!




Squat Pointing


Petanque Practice

Take Care of Your Shoulder!

This is your coach speaking. I've just got to make some comments... first off, have you been practicing? I don't mean getting together and playing casually once or twice a week... or every other week, or when there is nothing else going on. I mean have you been practicing as your coach would expect you to if you were on any high school volley ball team, or track team, or wrestling team?

If you don't practice every day, or at least several times a week for an hour or more, you probably won't improve anytime soon. It is that simple. Games, even casual games are not the place to practice new throws, form, and technique. They are the place to practice strategy, team play, and to get to know your fellow players. And to test out what you have been practicing on your own.

At this point I want you to go to this link and watch it... go ahead, if you have dialup just be patient, it is worth it. Hit the back arrow if you have to to get back here... I'll wait.

OK, now lets talk about what we saw there (assuming the link is still good... if not let me know). Is that the same game that you play now? When I first saw the French play petanque I was astonished! That isn't the game that I and most American players are playing! Where are the rolling pointers? The congested ends? Even the shooters are keeping their boules off the surface. It is a game played mostly in the air! Compare that to how you play now.

If your boules are on the ground, they are subject to the terrain's peculiarities - the stones, acorns, slopes, soft spots. But if you boule is traveling most of the distance in the air, it will have a much better chance of being accurate - there is nothing to deflect it! So the first thing that needs to be done is to develop the strength and technique that will allow you to play the "air game". And that is going to take exercising and practice. No way around it, exercise and practice.

Note that the clip is just partial coverage of a couple of ends in that tournament. So all that shooting, and carreauing is being done on one or two ends. That's a lot of shooting. You need to learn to shoot. And that is going to take lots of practice. You can do it! But you are going to have to set some time aside every day and practice - pretend you are a golfer, if you were a golfer you'd be out at the range practicing your drives right? Well, same with petanque, get out on some dirt and practice your shooting.

Further, notice the crowds watching, the coverage, and the uniforms. For that tournament they take over the town. They play qualifying games on every walkway, parking lot, open space, terrain and some roads. Then they take the finals to the stage by the water. The players have microphones on them. They have bleachers for the fans. They are wearing colorful uniforms. Looks like a serious sport huh? So what are we playing here? Are we playing the same game even?

What's the difference? Practice. That and starting young (but can't turn the clock back for some of us...). And respecting their sport. Showing it the consistent respect that t-ball players have been taught - show up for practice, wear your team colors, do your best, and aspire to Little League, and then to get on your High School team, and a letterman's jacket,the college team, then the minors and majors... and along the way a lot of practice and dedication to their sport. That's what makes a sport that others want to watch and participate in at some level, the dedication and skills of the players.

I'd sure love to see petanque in America take a paradigm shift and see itself as a real sport, worth practicing for, and prioritizing in our busy lives, and, yes, even dressing up for. Maybe if we begin showing that sort of respect for the sport, othesr will take it seriously too, and be willing to sponsor it, and support it. But it all begins with each of us practicing. So how many throws have you done today? Go on out there and make your coach proud!

    (And for gosh sakes stop wearing your grubbies to tournaments! You're embarrassing your coach.)  
Secret Petanque Portal!

OK, you've been practicing hard... I guess you've earned something special. I'm going to share a few petanque secrets with you... but you have to keep them to yourself - cuz they're secrets. Look for the petanque secrets portals on the Patanque Coach pages. That's one over to the left there. Click on the secret portal and a petanque secret will be revealed! But remember they're secrets and if you win the Nationals... it's because you had a great coach!