Terminology – revenge & beauty

In club play or friendly neighborhood play, teams often play several games in a row.

In English, we would say that after the “match” comes the “rematch” or “return match”. In petanque, in French, after the first game, the loser may propose la revanche.

If after two games the teams are tied (one game to one game), the teams may decide to play a third “playoff” game, la belle (the beauty).

I don’t know the origin of the term. In French belle means beautiful, but the expressions de belle and de plus belle mean (roughly) “even more” or “more than ever”.

In any event, the terminology lends itself to petanque humor — gently risqué double entendre.

— “You won (gagné) the first game (la première). We won the second (la seconde). Shall we do the beauty (la belle)?”
— “OK,” he says (throwing away his boule and heading toward his mixed-doubles partner, a very attractive young woman). “I’ll go first.”

Precision shooting


The World’s Championship precision shooting competition is a relatively new FIPJP competition. The competition was initiated for men in 2000, and for women in 2002. Now the FIPJP organizes a precision-shooting competition in parallel with its other competitions— the men’s world championships in even-number years, and the juniors’ and women’s world championships in odd-number years.

The FIPJP precision shooting (tir de precision) competition is a combined event (like a decathlon) with five different individual events (ateliers). In each atelier the competitor throws four boules (one from each of four distances— 6, 7, 8, and 9 meters) at a target positioned in a 1-meter target circle (cible).

Since there are 5 events, and each competitor throws 4 boules in each event, each competitor throws 20 boules in total. It is possible to score 5 points with each boule, so the highest possible score that a competitor can achieve is 100. Here is a scoring sheet for recording the scores of a single competitor.


In 2010 Claudy Weibel broke the record for highest score with a score of 66. Christophe Sévilla broke that record the next year with a score of 67.

Some informational graphics about the competition

The basic rules. Click HERE to see the full-sized image.


Excellent infographic courtesy of JakartaPetanque.com.
Click HERE to see the full-sized image.

Some pictures of competitions

Bruno Le Boursicaud at the 2012 World championships.
Click HERE to see the full-sized image.

A youth competition in 2011.
Click HERE to see the full-sized image.

At Mâcon in 2011 the contestants get the red carpet treatment. An official uses a frame to position the target boules and jack in the desired configuration.


Age brackets and espoirs competitions

For the purpose of competitions, the official FIPJP age classification are:

Benjamin under 9 years old within the year
Minims 10, 11, 12 years old within the year
Cadets 13, 14, 15 years old within the year
Junior 16, 17 years old within the year
Senior 18 and over within the year
Veteran over 60 within the year

The French word “espoir” means “hope”. In sports, an “espoirs competition” or “espoirs level competition” is a competition for “newcomers” or “hopefuls”. More precisely, an espoirs competition is an age-restricted competition for young adult competitors. The age range for an espoirs competition depends on the sport and the rules of the body governing the competition.

In petanque, requirements for age-restricted competitions are specified in the same way that the age brackets are: “X years old within the year”. So for example, the European Petanque Confederation (CEP) specified the ages of the competitors in the 2015 European Espoirs Championships this way.

For 2015 the participants that are permitted will be those that are born 1993 up to 1997 inclusive. This means they will be 18 to under 23 in the year of the Championship.

To put it slightly differently: espoirs competitors must be 18 and over within the year but not 23 and over within the year. A player that turns 18 (has his or her 18th birthday) in the year of the competition can participate. A player that turns 23 in the year of the competition can not participate. That means that some participants may be only 17 on the actual date of the competition, but no competitor will be older than 22.

EM = Europameisterschaft = European Championship

Petanque gloves for cold weather

In Washington DC, in January, when you get out there on the piste in 40-degree weather, those metal boules can get pretty cold.

My first impulse of course was to pull on my gloves. But there were problems with the gloves. They were nylon ski gloves. They were warm enough all right, but they were bulky. Between the thick insulation and the slippery nylon surface of the glove, I had no grip or feel for the boule; I couldn’t control it. It was hard pulling the gloves on and off, so I finally ended up playing bare-handed, despite the cold, stuffing my hands into my pockets when I could.

The other day I saw a friend wearing some unusual gloves, and then later the same day I found them in an appliance fix-it shop. (You can probably find them in a gardening shop or a hardware store.) So I bought them and thought I’d give them a try. They cost $5.
The gloves are Magid ROC40T-L The ROC Rayon Made from Bamboo Collection Nitrile Gloves, Mens Large by Magid Glove. I also found them at amazon.com They are basically a sort of light cottony glove (I guess technically the are not cotton, but some sort of rayon made from bamboo.) They are not bulky at all, and they are slightly elastic, so they fit snugly but comfortably over your hand. Your impression is of a very thin glove — just the opposite of a bulky ski glove.

The palms and insides of the fingers are coated with some black substance (I guess it is called “nitrile”). It is flexible and sort of rubbery, with a surface that is not sticky, but not slippery either. With this kind of surface, I think you could actually get a good grip on a boule, with decent feeling. The reviewers of the glove say things like

  • These gloves are good for light to medium duty jobs that require more ability to use fingers.
  • These gloves work great for jobs where you need some “feel” for the work and a sensitive grip, like pulling weeds or picking up pine cones and small brush.

The gloves are meant to be light work gloves. The reviews mentioned that they aren’t very sturdy. But I figure that that shouldn’t matter if I’m going to be using them only for petanque.

So I bought a pair.

They are not very warm — they weren’t designed for warmth. But they are warm enough — the nitrile coating does indeed take the edge off of the temperature of a freezing boule.

The gloves don’t breathe; the nitrile coating traps perspiration. But my hands aren’t perspiring very much — they are cold. That’s why I’m wearing gloves in the first place.

Best of all, after a frame or two, I’m just playing normally. I’ve completely forgot that I’m wearing gloves.