Squatting for the point!

 

Petanque: Standing or Squatting, Which is Best?

 

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Petanque Talk!

When you first start playing petanque there is only one posture to throw from - standing up of course! But as you read about the game, and go to petanque clubs and tournaments, you will see people squatting when they throw. What's with that?!

At first glance it seems as though it would put them at a disadvantage - simply keeping your balance while down there has to be a challenge! And what advantage can they be gaining by being down there? Are they just showing off or something? what next? throwing between their legs or blindfolded?!

 
 

OK, after months of pondering this matter I tried the squatting throw posture. Here's what I have discovered; balance is not an issue, you do not scrape your knuckles very often, and it can help your pointing throws!

I was surprised to find that balance was not an issue. Getting up sometimes made me lightheaded before I learned not to leap up after a throw... but otherwise balance was fine.

At first I did occasionally scrape my knuckles on the ground, but then so did a friend of mine, and he throws from a crouch (sometimes a very low crouch!). But that seems to have resolved itself.

And, though initially I thought that the position made depth perception more difficult, I have found that the advantage of having a trajectory more parallel to the surface helps get the boule across soft surfaces better. Books will often say that people shoot from a squat because they can better assess the slopes, obstacles, and so on of the surface at that angle... I don't know about that. Walking the piste before your shot is pretty good for that. And I know of people that will squat to check out the terrain and then stand back up to throw! I do know that I have been more careful about assessing the lie of the piste prior to throwing and it is making a real difference. Less wacky surprises - as in, "how the heck did the boule get over there?!" Now when it gets over there, I know which slope put it there...

 
 

At any rate, I almost always throw to point from a squat now - I am able to finesse the boule from down there better, and I love it when I have a nice delicate throw to point. 

Squatting to point generally works best on the shorter ends though. Otherwise you end up lobbing anyway, and you would be better off standing for those throws. But as you gain strength you will find yourself squatting for nearly all of your pointing throws. In one case I was in a contest to throw for a bouchon under which a $5.00 bill had been placed. The throw must have been over 14 meters! I still squatted to make that throw and managed to do the distance (though off to the side a bit).

Having just made the point that one can do all of their pointing throws from a squat I would like to mention that I generally stand to do high lobs on longer ends. The extra height gained by simply standing up, as well as the extra lift that the legs can give make those super high, long lobs possible. I will on occasion high lob from a squat but those tend to be on shorter ends or more like 3/4 lobs that are intended to get the boule over a messy surface, or beyond a wall of guard boules.

 
 

Generally I would not squat to shoot. I want the extra energy that gravity gives the falling boule there at the moment of impact with the target. I think that standing gives a better angle for a shooting throw too - especially if you have to throw over a boule or two to get to your target.

There is one situation that you might want to consider shooting from a squat - that being a very short end. Most shooters have trouble hitting on a short end - squatting to shoot could help with that. I have experimented with shooting from a squat on short ends with very satisfactory results! So, if shooting short ends has been a problem for you in the past - consider shooting from a squat!

 
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