Nails in the ground

The idea of driving a nail into the ground may seem like a strange one. But it is a traditional practice in petanque to drive nails into the ground to hold strings and backboards (boards for wooden surrounds) in place.

fanny_with_nailed_backstopOne of the grand traditions of petanque are pictures and postcards of Fanny. In this one, I’d like to direct your attention to the backboards on the ground. Note that they are being held in place by big nails.

rebar_terrainNow that we’re in the 21st century, rebar (with safety caps) seems to be replacing big nails as the fastener of choice for wooden surrounds.

Here is a video from Spain. Starting at the 1-minute mark, it shows them stringing a piste using red wooden pegs. Perhaps that’s the way they traditionally do it in Spain, but I’d call that a trip hazard. Better to lay out a piste with nails and string.

Shooters vs pointers

shooters_vs_pointersHere is an interesting video of what happens when you pit a team of expert pointers against a team of expert shooters.

I first saw this clip a few weeks ago, and haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. I found it very thought-provoking and just a little bit shocking. It is 8 minutes long, but it is important to watch every second to understand exactly what you are seeing.

I was reminded of it again yesterday when I discovered Colin Stewart’s petanque blog and read his post on Shooting is Fundamental in which he writes “All too often we see players elect to point (because they think it is easier or safer to) when a shoot would make things a lot better.”

And I keep wondering what the Thai team should have done. Thailand never changed its strategy. Every time Madagascar shot the Thai boule, and every time Thailand chose to point again.

The Thai team is an excellent team. They can shoot too. Surely, I think, there must have been something that the Thais could have done to turn the tables on Madagascar’s shooters. But I don’t know what it could have been.