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SYV Bocce Rules

Rules and Regulations 2024


“Our Mission:  The Santa Ynez Valley Bocce League shall encourage community participation within a social environment for the purpose of amusement, enjoyment, fair competitiveness and friendship.”

The game of “Open” Bocce is played with eight large bocce balls and one small target ball called the “pallino.”  The object of the game is to roll the bocce ball closest to the pallino.

Bocce Balls are Red and Green 107mm (4.25in) dia. and weigh 2lbs to 2.4lbs each. The pallino is white or yellow 50mm (2in) dia.  Court dimensions are 60 ft min in length and 10ft min width. Balls and accessories can be purchased from


Teams should have a minimum of 12 players.  A minimum of 6 players are required for a match, or the team must forfeit.


Two players from each team are stationed at each end of the court for the game.  The two players each roll or throw 2 bocce balls each per frame.  Players may alternate throws.  Games are called at 10 points, i.e., first team to 10 points wins.  Best 2 out of 3 games constitute a match.



The court should be groomed prior to the start of the game. The court should also be groomed between games if requested by any of the team captains.

START OF MATCH                        

COIN TOSS BETWEEN CAPTAINS TO GET STARTED– The winner of the coin toss may choose to either:


   A) throw the pallino and from which end of the court to start OR

   B) select which color balls they want to throw.

The loser of the coin toss gets the other option.


TOSSING THE PALLINO– A player may toss the pallino any distance as long as it passes the centerline of the court, does not hit the backboard, and stops more than twelve (12) inches from a sideboard and the backboard. 



If the first pallino toss does not meet the conditions above, it must be rolled again by the same player.  If the second toss does not meet the conditions, the opposing team shall roll the pallino. If the opposing team also fails to properly place the pallino on its first roll, the referee shall place the pallino in the center of the court’s width on the center line. The player who tossed the first pallino will play the first bocce ball of the frame.

(If during play a Bocce ball strikes the pallino and knocks it to less than 12 inches from the sideboard, it is a legal pallino position.)


The player, who originally tosses the pallino, whether successfully or not, throws the first bocce ball. If the bocce ball hits the backboard, without hitting the pallino first, it is removed from play and that team must then throw another ball. The team that originally tossed the pallino must continue until they have a ball in play, or have thrown all their balls.

The opposing team then rolls until it has either gotten one of its bocce balls legally on the court and closest to the pallino or has thrown all of its balls without scoring.  The team whose bocce ball(s) are closest to the pallino is called “inside” and the opposing team” outside.”  Whenever a team gets inside, it steps aside and lets the outside team roll.  The team outside throws until it beats (not ties) the inside ball.  This continues until both teams have thrown all their bocce balls.  Consecutive or alternating throws by teammates shall be at the option of the players.

The team who scored last throws the pallino to begin the next frame.  Also, the team winning a game will toss the pallino to start the next game.


A Captain or their designee may substitute players during a game but only at the end of a frame. Players may not be substituted or enter into play once the frame has started.



Teams may elect to play their balls alternately.  The rotation may vary from frame to frame; however, no player may deliver more than his/her allotted number of balls per frame, i.e., each partner will roll two balls.


Should a player’s bocce ball make contact with the backboard, the bocce ball is considered a dead ball and is removed from play unless it first hits another ball in which case it is in play.  A bocce ball that hits the backboard without hitting another ball or the pallino first is to be removed as soon as contact with the backboard is made. 

Should a bocce ball hit the backboard without hitting another ball or the pallino, and then roll back in the court and make contact with other bocce balls, the other bocce balls shall be returned to their original position (as agreed to by the team captains) and the thrown ball shall be removed from play.

If a player throws a third ball during a frame, the ball is considered dead and removed from play. The other bocce balls shall be returned to their original position (as agreed to by the team captains).


During play, if the pallino is knocked into the backboard or sideboard it remains in play.  If the pallino is knocked off the court, play ends and the frame is started over.  The pallino will be put into play by the original team which started the play in the “dead” frame, and a new frame is started. 



Should a player throw the wrong colored ball, it shall be replaced with the right colored ball and play shall continue.



If a team has won a game and has one or more balls left to throw, the game is considered over and the remaining balls do not need to be played.


The player may step on, but not over, the foul line when releasing the pallino or bocce balls.  Any part of the foot touching the throw line is considered a legal roll.  After releasing the ball a player may step over the foul line.

When a player releases the pallino or bocce ball, both feet must be in the court unless that player has a significant physical impairment.

Any balls (pallino or bocce) moved by the fouled thrown ball must be placed as near as possible to their original position.  The player who made the foul shot will re-throw the pallino or bocce ball.  A warning is given to any player who crosses the foul line.  An aggregate of three foul line infractions by a player at any time in a match shall disqualify that player from further play during that match.


Should any bocce balls or pallino be accidentally moved during the course of play they will be relocated to their last known location(s) by agreement of the captains.  Play will cease until the moved ball(s) is placed.


Voloing is tossing the ball HIGH in an arcing form into the air and landing beyond the center of the court.  Lofting is releasing a ball above the thrower’s knee.  Voloing and lofting cause damage to the court surface (ie, divots, dents, and dings) and are not allowed.  A thrown ball must be released at or below knee height (Unless the player has prior approval from the sportsmanship committee due to medical issue). Think Bowling for the proper release of Bocce balls onto the court.

A warning is given to any player who volos or lofts.  An aggregate of three volo/lofting infractions by a player at any time in a match shall disqualify that player from further play during that match.


During play, the teams playing will referee their own game.  Team Captain(s) shall decide any dispute, which cannot be resolved by the team players.  Upon their decision the game shall continue.  Above all, objectivity, fairness, and civility shall be the goal and utmost priority in resolving any dispute.

If the match is played under protest due to an unresolved dispute, either captain may request a rules committee decision. However, such request must be made no later than three days after the match that is under protest.

A team captain may request a formal rules committee meeting at any time during the League season to review League Rules if it is agreed upon by a majority of teams in the league.  Each team has one vote accordingly.

Captains and other league members should report behavior incidents directly to the Sportsmanship Committee chair, Gus Dascanio , via email at or via telephone at (805) 350-0735 within 24 hours of the occurrence.



Only the “inside” (closest to the Pallino) team scores.  One point is given for each ball of the inside team that is closer than any ball of the opposing team. When, at the end of a frame, the two (2) closest balls to the pallino are from opposing teams, no points are scored and the frame is scored 0 for both teams. Games are played until a team reaches a score of 10.

If the pallino and a bocce ball are touching each other (baci) after all 8 bocce balls have been played the scoring team receives one extra point. However, the most points per frame allowed is 4. (If one team has four balls inside and one baci it will be scored as four points.)

The league will provide score sheets to each Captain. These must be properly filled out then signed by both Captains after each match and kept in the Team three ring binders.  Team Captains (or a designated team member) are responsible for keeping the score during matches.  It is recommended that both team scorekeepers and the court scorekeeper verify points scored and current score before each new frame.

It is the responsibility of both Captains to report scores to Tammy Porter at who will collect all scores. Scores must be reported no later than 24hrs after the completion of play.


All measurements are made from the inside dimension of the bocce ball to a common reference point of the pallino. Only the captain, or designated representative from each team, may be present for measurements.  The standard measuring device is a laser approved by the board (BocceBeam), and may be furnished to the teams by the League. Laser measuring devices and a pallino should be brought by the opposing team to each match in the event that the home team has any equipment issues.


a.   Matches begin at 6:30 p.m. A team that is not present within 15 minutes after the starting time (6:45 p.m.) forfeits 1 game. If not present by 7:00 p.m. forfeits both games and the match. The team that wins by forfeit shall be awarded a win for each game (2-0 “skunk”), A forfeit will occur when a team does not notify its opposing team at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled match of the need to reschedule. Such  rescheduled match shall be postponed, but the  postponed match must occur within a max of 10 days from the otherwise scheduled date.

b.   Matches consist of three possible games.  Winner is determined by winning 2 out of 3 games.

c.   Four players from each team play at one time.  Two players at each end of the court as stated above.  A minimum of 6 players per team is required to be present to start a match or game.

d.   While the game is in progress, only the player delivering a ball into play may be on the court before the ball is thrown.  Spectators are not allowed on the court at any time during regulation play.

e.   Players may not play on more than one team in the SYV Bocce League.


Good sportsmanship is encouraged which includes frequent rotation of players so that everyone can participate.  Avoid playing the same people for extended periods at the same end of the court.


Any time a player is rolling, opposing players must remain quietly outside the court.



There is no official dress code, however it is the League’s recommendation that all players wear comfortable and appropriate apparel and that Teams are to conform to the league Logo for imprinting and are encouraged to imprint their team name on identical sport shirts or other appropriate apparel of their choosing such as hats and jackets. 

ONLY SOFT SOLED (CREPE OR RUBBER), CLOSE-TOED SHOES CAN BE WORN AND PLAYED IN, ON ANY LEAGUE COURT AT ANYTIME.  It is common courtesy to respect the condition and quality of the bocce court and its owner, as well as the proper playing of the game.


ALL TEAMS will advance to the playoffs in a single elimination format.

Season record will be used to establish seeding and pairings in the playoffs. The top team from regular season play will get a bye in the first round.

There will be 4 rounds of play in playoffs.

Ties will be resolved by head-to head season play.  Second tiebreaker will be resolved by total games won and lost (percentage).  Third tiebreaker will be settled by a coin toss.

Playoff matches will be played under the same rules as regular league matches except that playoff games will be to 12 points and must be won by a margin of 2 points.

During playoff games, team captains and league committee will designate 2 persons to measure and referee the playoff game.  The persons selected must be mutually agreed upon by both team captains.

Tiebreakers will be played as necessary to establish a final winner in any playoff game. Players on any playoff teams must have been players on a team roster prior to July 1st.

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